Cavango

The Kubacki’s have been living in Angola for 2 years and recently moved to Cavango, a rural area in Angola, about 6 months ago. They decided to move here because there was no doctor anywhere nearby. It is located 8-10 hours driving from the city of Lubango. We had to pack up the car with a huge load of gas, fruits, and veggies to last us for the 3 weeks we would be in Cavango. The drive is incredibly bumpy. About half of the drive time is along dirt roads that have been destroyed by the rains (we are at the end of rainy season). It is basically like driving your car down a road-sized mini grand canyon at places. Luckily the Kubacki’s knew where the massive holes were, and we were able to dodge them fairly well.

 

Ben Kubacki filling up the car
Ben Kubacki filling up

 

The town had a clinic and inpatient facility built by a mission before the Angolan civil war, but due to the war, the healthcare dissipated. Before arrival of Dr. Kubacki, there were only a few nurses available to take care of the sick. Here, nurse training is only a few months worth of education.

 

Hospital Beds.  People don't like to be inside, so inpatients are usually outside!
Hospital Beds. People don’t like to be inside, so inpatients are usually outside walking around or sitting by a fire.

 

The Cavango clinic and inpatient facility is right down the road from the Kubacki household, making it very convenient for Dr. Kubacki to stop by daily. This week, we had a few inpatients. One of these is Rosaria, a 70-ish year old (they often do not know their age!) woman with congestive heart failure. She also has hepatomegaly which is an enlarged liver. She came in with the complaint of a swelling in her abdomen, which turned out to be her protruding liver, and also for pain in her chest, which was caused by her heart not pumping efficiently. Often, the parasitic diseases such as malaria in this area can lead to these chronic outcomes. We were able to start her on some diuretics and heart medications, and her symptoms have been improving. We see lots and lots of people with malaria at the Cavango clinic, especially children. We had two infants as inpatients in the hospital this past week receiving injections for malaria.

 

Checking out the heart of this premature baby.
Checking out the heart of this premature baby in Cavango.

 

The town is out in the middle of nowhere, and seeing our truck go down the road always arouses the curiosity of the people. They gather along the side of the road to wave, call out, and watch the vehicle go by. There are no cars owned by the villagers; only the occasional motorbike. We are often asked to give rides to people for that reason. On our way from Lubango, the city where the main mission hospital is, we were asked to give rides to people back to their home village in Cavango. They had left Cavango to go to a wedding in Lubango back in December, and had not been able to get a ride back to Cavango since now in April! Included were the retired pastor of the church, and a few teenage boys. When arriving with them in Cavango, their family and friends welcomed them joyously. It had been 4 months since they had last seen them.

Hitch Hikers to Cavango
Our 4 hitch hikers that all fit into the back seat!
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