PCV shares experience while on home leave

January 5th, 2009 by admin

PCV David McDermott is a Health Volunteer working in Bamboe (West Region), and currently works with the Ministry of Health. He is just over half-way through his two years and enjoying the experience tremendously. He recently spoke at St. Francis Xavier Elementary school in Medina, Ohio. The opportunity to live on such intimate terms with a different culture has been invaluable. His village, Bamboue, is located in the mountains of the West Province. Almost 6000 feet above sea level, the climate is very moderate, the mosquitoes are minimal and the scenery is breath-taking. Many times my “commute” to one of my village meetings is a long, beautiful hike through the waterfall-laced Bamboutos Mountains or a motorcycle ride through the foothills.

Village meetings are a big part of his work. He works as an outreach agent for a hospital located in the foothills of the mountains. The work consists of forming and/or identifying community groups throughout the mountains and helping them to plan, implement and evaluate small health projects. The priorities are completely set by the villagers themselves. They tell David what they see as the most important problems in their communities and he helps them discover ways to address them. He acts as an educator, a researcher, a motivator, a translator, a net-worker and a dozen other things depending on the needs of the group.

He also has women’s groups who focus on nutrition, farmers groups who focus on food preservation, youth groups who focus on HIV/AIDS, and men’s groups who focus on water safety. Each group started with a series of educational workshops to make sure that an accurate understanding was in place and then advanced to small projects. These projects have included soybean gardens, the construction of solar food dryers and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns. In addition to this work, he also helps the hospital with vaccinations, promotions and medicine distributions.

He is pictured speaking to 5th grade students working with Mrs. McDermott (His mother) at St. Francis Xavier Elementary school in Medina, Ohio. Some of these students have been exchanging information (photos, letters, etc.) with his health club in Cameroon for about a year.