Carl is an Ivorian nurse who attended one of our CHE (Community Health Engagement) trainings in 2013. He is now leading a fledgling CHE effort in a village, I recently visited to see how things were progressing. Transport took more than three and a half hours to get there (just 45 miles, but 38 passengers on a vehicle planned with seats for 22!) Carl was off to a great start with a CHE program, but he hit some challenges in learning to involve the community. Despite the missteps, the church has grown, advancing in obedience to King Jesus. He shared that he feels led by God to be content where he has been placed.
The sheep and goats pictured are a microenterprise idea that Carl copied as God spoke to him following the CHE training in May 2013. He raises them because there’s less investment required to make a profit than with chicken. The animals are in pens rather than freely roaming for both obedience sake and keeping the stock alive.
To feed the growing herd, families that do not have funds for school supplies or books, are blessed by work with their hands. They gather grass and other food from the surrounding forest land, feed the animals, and get compensated. This develops skills and knowledge about how to care for and manage livestock in a way that supports health. It also gets kids to school, and helps the village nurse at the same time. It’s a classic win-win that happens when CHE principles are applied. Of the more than 1,300 patients under his direct or surrogate care last month, over 50% came because of malaria. Another third visited because of respiratory disease. Our discussion focused partially on how to re-focus some of the CHE efforts toward those issues. I reviewed with Carl some of the basic CHE analysis tools that help communities grow in their understanding of how physical and spiritual problems are often related. The visit seemed to help Carl visualize a way to revitalize the community’s engagement. I also made him aware of fellow Ivorian’s nearby who want to help CHE advance in the region.