I, Maria Nogleides Rosa dos Santos Reicherdt, completed a technical nursing course in 1995 and then worked in a hospital in Brazil, afterwards I concluded the University of Nursing with a Bachelors degree in nursing. I worked in several specialized hospitals and one of the areas that I identified myself most with was in paediatrics.
I really discovered my importance in the lives of those who need me before they arrive in a hospital unit. When I went to do the course of Advanced of Nursing by the Public University of Santarem in Lisbon. I worked at the Hospital Rainha Dona Estefania-Lisbon and felt the desire to return to the University. I attended a Public Health Course where I fell in love with how we could possibly prevent certain health issues and the importance of our work in saving lives.
We were forced to move to Central America because of the crisis that was taking place in Europe and with the salary of Nurse and my husband's company in Portugal was not enough to support my whole family. When we arrived in Guyana I noticed how much I could do for these people working in the prevention of malaria, Dengue, Typhoid and other diseases. Here the community of bush workers is very large and they are the ones who partially support the country, in a currency that moves the markets, shops, restaurants, etc. .41 percent of Georgetown's economy comes from the mining areas and these same areas are neglected in the area of preventing tropical diseases.
I have been working in this area since 2014, but it is difficult to make big strides, because the financial resources are limited because they are our own funds. Our first trip was in an area called Kanaruk. At that time it was the site of the highest incidence of malaria and Dengue. We managed to feel these financial difficulties when we carry out the project by bus. We took the bus to Mahdia, Kanaruk is in the direction of Mahdia. Halfway is Kanaruk Junction, where we were waiting for a truck ride, some areas require 4x4 cars because of the rains and the terrible roads, but also which has a higher incidence of malaria and dengue. We waited about 6 hours, when a truck finally approached the area where we wanted go to, then we thought, when we arrived it will be easier to get transportation to enter to Black Water. We put all the material on the truck and we set off on the truck full of oil drums.
Oh my gosh! Each time the truck passed in a mud hole I felt like a ping pong ball. But the love I felt for this work was stronger than any obstacle.
The hardest was yet to come. With great difficulty we arrived at the place closest to our goal. The driver dropped us off at a local wooden shop and already imagined that we should stay in that place for several days. And well thought.
We stayed one, two, three days and we did not have money for food. Money was for more urgent and unexpected things. The lady from the shop gave us a place to put the hammocks, but the food was more complicated, because everything in the bush has to be saved, because you do not know when you can go shopping in the city. We are two, my husband and I had lunch and dinner mutliplicated our costs for days in that place without forecast of any passing truck. The expense for the owner of the shop was already considered a value.
As the days passed I started to get worried, because I had left my two children with a neighbor while my husband and I were doing this work. I was going to speak with the community of Brazilians and he with those of the land and Spanish, we had combined to do it in 7 days. We were already on day four and no transport forecast and my increased alertness. We had no telephone signal to warn my neighbor what was happening and worse we have to arrive and stay in the minimum 3 more days to visit the people talk about the project how important they are in the presentation and generally are several the camps of people we tried to reach. The places near and far, on the fifth day passed a 4x4 motorcycle that was going to that destination.
It could not take us because it was with a lot of merchandise and three more people and there was no chance of him tacking us too, with much insistence he took the most heaviest suite case with informative leaflets: posters etc. On the sixth day I told my husband, tomorrow we're going. I'm not going to stay here waiting for a transport that we do not know if it's going to happen or not. I have an agreement with my neighbor. Because we did not have conditions to communicate it to report that was happening. The next day we started to pack things up and take the most important things and the others we left at the shop.
We were not prepared for this trip and in no conditions. With flip-flops and street clothes, but I really wanted to realize and complete the project. We put things in our heads and followed on the journey. I was with two suitcases and my husband with the rest of the things. The difficult thing was not to take the equipment in the back and head but yes the path of clay, of stones, much mud, with big and small ascents and descents. We had to pass through large lagoons, take several pauses to remove the mud from the slippers that we could not walk more because of the weight that was growing on the feet from the mud.
The more we walked the more distant our goal seems to be, at a certain moment we arrived in an immense lagoon that there seemed to be no end. We looked at that immense water where do I go? Because you have no vision what the best place to go. I went to the left and my husband went to the right. When I was more than halfway down, I fell into a mud hole filled with monkey thorns, and the more I moved, the more I sank, and the thorns came deeper into the skin of my legs and arms. The angush began to increase. I was in a long, knit dress, the weight of the equipment in the mud and the water made it difficult to free myself. I weighed more and I sank more into the mud.
And my husband in front of me.
He came to me help and the fear of ruining our material and wet our clothes. At great cost we managed to get out of that horror. I had every desire in the world to give up, but the more I thought about my children who had left them with people they knew and then came home with a broken face. What explanation would I give them? Son, I gave up on my way. I said to myself: I'm going to move on, tired, hungry, thirsty, a lot of pain, because the more I move to get rid of the thorns, the more it goes into the skin, a horrible pain . Even more so it started to rain. After we walked a lot, we came across a high mountain and I thought, I started praying my God! After all this, how are we going to climb this mountain with rain? And with these heavy things and slippery slippers? I was always far ahead of my husband, he had never been through such situations. He was not a nature person like me. Suddenly a man appeared and said do not go up the mountain. There is a way to go around the mountain. I just imagined, thank you, my God. Until today I do not know where that man came from.
We arrived in the village very late at night. Did not people believe we did this crazy thing? How has you done this madness of walking this dangerous way with snakes etc. I did not hear anything of what they were talking about; I just wanted to drink water, take a shower and then sit down, because if I sit - I could not get up again. The next day we went to visit the people and talked about the project, and invited for malaria nightly presentation. As we talked about the importance of the project, people did not believe they were so important to someone else, but my reward came even at night, everyone we invited was there without fail, to watch the presentation.
We presented the project of malaria, dengue and typhoid to the community. They all were happy to understand the message, after introducing them they asked infinite questions, they had many doubts and their faces and expressions of astonishment to learn so much. I never imagined that I would ever be important to someone without asking anything in return.
The bush is a place where there are only alcoholic drinks and a lot of prostitution. At this time, I forgot all the hunger, thirst, fatigue, the fall that my husband took from the top of the bridge due to slippery slippers and almost lost the projector that was borrowed from a church for presentation for the power point. The presentation was very well received with lots of illustrations because most people are humble and can not read.
Our work can make a difference in the lives of the people, the most importantly, it can saves their lives. Many people here have died due to the malaria becoming really bad in these regions.
Malaria has caused damage in vital organs inrepairable from various malaria followed without Due treatment. Often these individuals they will start treatment for improvement of symptoms, at worst they often do the treatment and do not take breaks from the alcoholic beverage.
The problem of Malaria is, that people do not understand that it is a dangerous disease, but it is a very dangerous disease that can kill the individual, if they do not get the necessary care and treatment.
But with the help and donations, we can change this reality of lack of information and save lives.