We began our day visiting a free health clinic funded by the government. We each stepped off the bus with an armload of blankets to donate. Many people were patiently waiting outside on benches and sitting wherever they could. Our tour began in the maternity ward which was a crowded room with fifteen beds filled with mothers and newborns. The women were so grateful to receive just one blanket for their child and even allowed us to hold their precious babies. Next, we visited the labor and delivery room where the beds were lined with trash bags. Directions and procedures were posted all over the walls. We were surprised to see how little privacy the women at the Malawi Family Planning Program had.
The clinic also included a quick consultation room with a nurse and a pharmacy. The lines for both were wrapped around the building. Although these people spent most of the day waiting in line they were still so appreciative for the opportunity to receive healthcare. Malawi is known as one of the poorest counties in Africa, so many of us were not sure what to expect to see at the clinic, especially when we only have United States health facilities to compare it with. The clinic seemed to have so little in terms of medical supplies, professionals, and space, but without it these people would not have the money to receive medical attention. Malawians are forced to walk many kilometers whether they are in labor, carrying a children, or very sick to get to the clinic. Each of us realized how much we take for granted.