Peace Care Blog

Better. Together.

The bonds being built


Entry Date: 2/10/2012

Author: Magda Piatek, MD UIC Family Medicine Resident Physician Vaccination campaign, basketball game and a Senegalese-American party all took place in Saria on our last day in town. The day started out early with the usual breakfast of bread, eggs, peanut butter and bananas followed by hospital rounds. The yellow fever vaccination campaign began shortly after. Looking from a distance it looked extremely disorganized. There were screaming children everywhere, clusters of people or any sign of an attempt to organize or form lines. One minute I was standing there, observing what was happening, the next minute I was wearing a “stop yellow fever” T-shirt and drawing up vaccinations. In reality this was a very organized process.

The clusters of people eventually formed a line shortly before reaching our table, received a vaccination card and the vaccine. The goal of this 10 day long campaign is to vaccinate ALL individuals starting at 9 months of age. One thing is universal – all children cry when they see a needle and they cry even louder when there are 10 more youngsters in line behind them who are crying as well. Even some men cringed as the received the shot.

Women were calm, not showing any sign of discomfort. By early afternoon everyone in Saraya has been vaccinated. Early in the afternoon, after a successful and productive meeting with Dr. NDiaye regarding strategic planning for next year it was time for a basketball game. Who won? How were the teams divided? Difficult to answer this question as the teams changed frequently, each game lasted for about 5 minutes before a rotation of players occurred and I’m not sure if anyone had a game strategy. Some players were very good, others …..a bit rusty but we all had a blast.

Now, to the final event of the day. After dinner a Senegalese-American party took place. All the women dressed up in beautiful and colorful outfits. There was Senegalese music and a few American songs. Most showed off their moves – such as the “wobble” introduced to us by Leah. Once the music stopped we said our goodbyes quickly. Some will come back next year.

For those who will not, such as myself, I am just grateful that I had a chance to meet such wonderful and motivated group of medical providers who are truly trying to make a difference.


Leave a Reply