African Adventures of a Chiropractor

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Our trip began and we were picked up from the airport by a man named Jam with a sign saying ‘3 blond girls’. We knew at that point the trip was not only going to be a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun too!

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We started our Chiropractic journey by going to one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages, which was a lovely welcome and start to our journey! We adjusted all of the kids there and spent some extra time working together on a couple of the kids that had been struggling from a range of health issues.

One of the three Chiropractors I was travelling with, Jo, had tried to adopt twins in Malawi 4 years previously, so we had made it part of our mission to find them. Jo was really nervous as orphans in Malawi didn’t always have the best chances of survival. After a string of good luck we found out the kids were living in a little village not far from where we were!

The visit to the village was long and bumpy and we were amazed our driver managed to find the location. The three of us would have been so lost without our trusty Googlemaps we all rely so heavily on in Australia.

But relief set in, the twins were there! We weren’t sure how much they would recognise Jo as they were three the last time she saw them. Shy and a little unsure we quickly realised they seemed to have a special bond that was hard to describe. We quickly became part of the village as they fell in love with our cameras and the many donations we had bought over.

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After our second day at this village we soon realised they needed a little more than our love and donations, they hadn’t had a decent meal in days… So off we went to the local market where we found fish, some vegetables and nsima. Nsima is their local and loved staple food. To us it just tasted like Gnocchi gone horribly wrong! The celebrations began with the arrival of food and we happily joined in with many of the games they were playing.

We then set off to visit a village hours out of the main city where Jo had previously lived. Wow this was eye opening! A true African village! The village was situated on Lake Malawi which provides the locals with much needed water. By then we had become used to lack of warm showers, running water and electricity. We weren’t however prepared for the fascination the kids would have for us! They began shouting ‘Mzugu’ meaning white person as we moved around, rubbing our skin with their hands and looking to see if our white colour had rubbed off on them. My favourite was when a toddler would see us and scream in hysteria, never having seen a white person before! I think they thought a ghost had arrived at their village!

We spent a lot of time in this community, seeing the value we could provide in such a short time. The village had a under resourced health clinic, with one doctor, one midwife and one pharmacist. Delivering babies with no electricity, running water, in candle light were just a few of the challenges they faced!

Our lives were touched by the stories of many. Children with Cerebral palsy and one little girl in particular, who we had bought a wheel chair over for. People who had suffered road accidents without any support, children with hip and various other disorders that weren’t able to walk. Not to mention the many people with back pain, who had injured themselves doing the heavy labour that they are required to do, as part of village life. The perfect Chiropractic challenge!

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Every donation I received helped out the community in some way and we thought really carefully about the needs of the community and where things were best suited. I feel blessed to have spent the time I did in Malawi. I feel more blessed to have been reminded how truly lucky we are in every aspect in Australia.

I’m grateful for my safe return to Melbourne and its been so great being back in practice in my little Eltham bubble!

Much love, Tamsyn