Finally. After a few hard-pressed days for the Ukweli squad (as our loyal readers will know from following the past few blog posts), we had ourselves a day. In fact, today was our best day of fieldwork yet. To start off, Sage, Cassidy and me had a stellar meeting with the station manager of Radio AMZA, a local radio station walking distance to World Hope. This followed a productive informal meeting on Saturday with other AMZA employees. The station manager was incredibly nice and helpful and seemed very on board with potentially running a radio program that is aligned with Ukweli in the future. He gave us two options: an in-studio program and an in-the-field program. The two would complement each other well, and the station manager emphasized the importance of including women in the conversation and airing our program in a variety of local languages to be better understood by those in rural communities.
From there, the whole team traveled to Kalungba clinic for our first ever practice training with professional health staff. Six health workers took part in an Ukweli training, with six Peer Supervisors and CHWs in attendance. Hassan absolutely killed it. I am so proud of him. It was amazing to watch him work and interact with the health staff. It was immediately clear that the health workers respond to and respect him, and Hassan presented himself as the perfect combination of knowledgeable and intelligent while being approachable and charismatic. After the three-hour training, the whole team followed each health worker who passed the training’s oral exam to a nearby village to conduct real screenings of women in the community. I left the village incredibly inspired by the dream of Ukweli looking real and tangible, arguably for the first time. Despite the disappointment of the marketing license saga, watching Hassan in action proved to the team that this can still happen and we can still make the difference we set out to make.
Almost on cue, the day ended with the most beautiful sunset of the entire trip thus far (though I’m holding out that the sunset on the beach in Freetown will beat it). There truly is light at the end of the tunnel.