Due to an existing presence of HHiSS in Mfuwe and because the area is a high-incidence area for snake encounters and snakebites, HHiSS will take any opportunity to conduct activities there.
And a great opportunity presented itself when First Aid Africa indicated that they wanted to include us in their new first aid training programme in Mfuwe!
Our training was made an integral part of the advanced first aid course given by First Aid Africa in Zambia (www,firstaidzambia.com). The client for this training was BioCarbon Partners (BCP), based in Mfuwe. BCP supports the local community scouts.
HHiSS National Coordinator Marcel demonstrating the application of a tourniquet on FAA first aid trainer Jeff. Applying a tourniquet can be life-saving in catastrophic bleeds on limbs and in Black Mamba bites. Correct application, however, is essential. It is therefore part of the first aid training as well as the first aid in snakebite training!
The first three training courses took place at three different scout camps, deep in the bush. There was no electricity and cell phone network was absent as well. Water was obtained from a borehole and pump. A drop toilet and an open air shower place completed the camp.
Impressions camp life
It is hard to understand how the scouts manage to deal with the hardships of their jobs. During patrols, which can vary from 5 to 10 days, they encounter poachers and dangerous animals (including snakes). They carry all they need with them, such as camping gear and food. Even during the training, chairs were scarce, but I have learnt that a wheel barrel can accommodate three scouts!
Our first training took place on 15 and 16 May at camp1 , close to Luambe national Park.
Impressions of the training at the first camp
For our second training course, from 18 and 19 May, we travelled to camp2, located in the Nsefu sector.
Impressions second camp.
Our last training in the bush took place at the camp 3, about an hour's drive from the Mfuwe airport.
Training at third camp
It was, at times tough but also very special to be able to give training in Zambia’s beautiful wilderness. Giving training under a tree is quite different from training in an airconditioned meeting room in Lusaka. We like the comfort of tables, chairs, walls and electricity, but this experience we wouldn’t have wanted to miss!
After having spent 9 days in the bush, the training team of FAA and HHiSS returned to Mfuwe from where the FAA trainers travelled back to Lusaka. Here the second team from FAA took over to give training to staff and scouts at the BCP Mfuwe office, in which HHiSS joined again.
After each of the training courses, HHiSS handed out information brochures about snakes and snake safety. We also handed over posters of the dangerous snakes of the region as well as a general poster on snakebite first aid measures.
A total of 84 BCP staff members and scouts have been trained under this joint effort. Of these, 16 were female.
HHiSS is very grateful for the ongoing cooperation with First Aid Africa in Zambia. In addition, we would like to thank BioCarbon Partners for accommodating and transporting us during the bush trips!