Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! No, wait, that was a 1954 MGM movie, (great dancing!); what we really want to say is, SEVEN WELLS FOR SEVEN VILLAGES! Ngolahun, Baaka, Bunumbuwolo, Mamboma, Njala, Diema, and Tagbama all have new wells, made possible by the tools, materials, and expertise we provided. Sponsored by the New Hope Foundation and Dr. Stephen Lipsig, the well set-up features a storage tank, solar-powered pump, and spigot, so older people and children can get clean water easily. This is so important for the health of a community in these developing villages! The transfer of responsibility for the wells to each village took place in late January, with a tool kit for repairs local people in charge can make, and we will be responsible if larger repairs are needed.
Another notable contribution to the health of the local communities to date, while we are gathering the resources to build the hospital in Ngolahun, are our monthly pop-up clinics. Varying in number of people served from 200 – 300 people, two local doctors, the clinic nurses, and two lab techs treat all of these. (Numbers vary largely depending on the demands of the harvest and the rainy season.) We thought we would be sponsoring the treatment of villagers from Ngolahun and its four catchment villages. People have come from 25 villages, many walking more than three days (with children!) to get to our clinic! In 2021, tragically, two pregnant moms, their babies, and three children under five from the local villages passed away. But in 2022, we did not lose a single person. People are starting to depend on us as a source of health care, and your support is why that is happening.
SOMETHING WE FEEL GREAT ABOUT: The healthy birth of Isata and Musa’s son (she runs the Kenema restaurant and he is our Country Director), Joe Musa, also known as Miracle Joe! We brought them here and obtained medical care unavailable in Sierra Leone, and she had a successful birth. (We also turned them on to pizza, pastrami sandwiches, Washington Square Park, and live ballet – New York!) Joe Musa is adorable – and anyone would predict that he will be a handful when he’s two!
We sponsored, an agriculture expert, to visit Ngolahun three times, teaching the community pruning, composting, and building berms and swales, which will recharge the hand-dug wells with rain water. MOH is working towards organic certification for the farming products, which will enable the villagers to charge more for their produce. In order to achieve this recognition, they must form a cooperative, and Kailahun Paramount Chief Baion has generously offered to sponsor this effort. Thanks to both of you.
We are lucky to have so many interested experts! We hosted Dr. Raphael Shapiro, who performed 22 surgeries at the Kailahun District Hospital in November and December, trained local surgeons, donated gloves and stethoscopes, and is planning on coming back with a team! Thanks so much.
Our Severe and Moderate Acute Malnutrition Programs have taken 27 children out of illness. Our generous benefactor, David Miller, has donated 10,000 bars of locally made soap to the mothers of these children, which they can sell, and use the proceeds to support their children. An additional 10,000 bars, also donated by David, will go to all the local school children and their teachers. This is the first step towards opening a soap factory that will sustain itself and provide income for indigent mothers. Thank you for all that you are doing, David!
We are funding five scholarships for local health workers to obtain advanced degrees, including a Master’s Degree in Public Health for MOH’s Country Director, Musa Gangha; MOH’s beloved clinic nurse, Margaret, to become a State Registered Nurse; for Mariatu, who will become a midwife; and Idris, who will be a Community Health Officer (equal to a GP). All will work in our hospital after graduation. Dr. Desmond Kangbai, the District Health Officer, will earn an advanced degree in Orthopedics, and spend time at our clinics. A group of generous donors, comprising Mark Boal, Jessica Collins, Clare and Joe LoCicero, Gina Rodriquez and Joe LoCicero Jr., is sponsoring three more scholarships, two for an OB/GYN and one for a pediatrician. This will be a giant step up for the level of care available in Sierra Leone.
POP QUIZ: Who is happier – the brides and the brothers, the villagers conducting water testing on their new well, (all seven passed with flying colors), Dr. Raphael Shapiro training a local doctor, villagers who have had successful surgery for hernias, or Isata and Musa with their new baby?
THE ANSWER IS: ALL OF THE ABOVE!
One more thing: The secret of our success is that we listen. The villagers have led our actions every step of the way. It is turning out to be an effective and successful model, and we are doing a lot with a little.
We need your help to keep going! Please visit our website, Miracleofhelp.org to make a contribution, or send a check to MOH, 117 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 11724. Even a small amount goes a long way.
Many thanks to Dr. Iris Vardy, for providing her lovely home for our benefit, to singer Rosemary Miller and her trio for excellent entertainment, and artist Jesse Wright for our beautiful signature posters and notecards, pictured left, and available on our website!
And the most thanks go to all of you who donate.
CONGRATULATIONS to James Arena- DeRosa, who is leaving the board to serve as a Massachusetts State Representative! THANK YOU FROM THE MOH BOARD: Risa Gold, MD, DLFAPA, President, Patti Moss Vernam, Vice President, Lauren Piazza-Eliash, Treasurer, Maia Gomis, Secretary, Clare LoCicero, Richard Stein, Stefanie Soichet, Antonella Sturniola, Jon Hess, Geoffrey Bell, Josh French, Jana Koerner-Safrata, Nancy Lippman Israeli, MD, FAAP, Nicole Hosseini, and Barbara Kirwin.