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Reflections from Madagascar

 

Thursday concluded the site visit to Madagascar for The Eliminate Project. Today delegates are flying home with incredible stories about the people they met and the places they visited.

From the first day to the last activity, the delegates’ hearts were touched.

Greg Beard was thrilled to start the trip.

"After reading, listening and taking all The Eliminate Project has put out about what we're doing, today my hands-on, firsthand experience starts. Today, it's about being a participant. Today is life-changing,” said Beard. “As a result of what Kiwanis is doing, someone's life will be saved and a newborn will have a chance to come into the world. If this were done every day, think of how many lives we could save."

For Gus Lamond a trip to the salt ponds in Ampataka brought back memories of the Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) campaign.

“To see the beginning of the salt production process here in Madagascar gave me a great sense of pride because Kiwanis played a huge part in this, and I participated in raising funds,” says Lamond, a Lead Gift Donor and member of the Kiwanis Club of Fort Lee, Virginia, was particularly moved. “This particular site in Ampataka produces 12 tons of salt a week, to which iodine and fluoride is added in the city of Morondava before being sold to consumers. All of this is accomplished without machinery, except for the generator used to pump seawater into the ponds. It was a sight to see and wonderful proof of the success of the Kiwanis/UNICEF partnership.”

Opportunities to visit local health centers and interact with medical staff and moms inspired Kiwanis International Executive Director Stan Soderstrom.

“The people who work here are accomplishing the impossible with practically no resources,” says Soderstrom. “The doctor who serves as the director of the village health center never stopped smiling. Her only wishes to make her job better: a computer that would allow her to organize the center's work more efficiently and a boat that would allow her team to reach other villages more easily. UNICEF is the catalyst for success here.”

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