A humbling gift from an impoverished family

It was a humbling moment for Melodie Hicks when she and her team of nursing students from Vanier College in Montreal received a simple gift of home-cooked squash.

The nursing professor and her students were in Malawi on a medical mission with a Physician Travel Pack and the squash was given by a mother who was not even wearing shoes. Melodie and her students had provided life-saving care for this lady’s seven-year-old daughter Chrissy.

After contracting malaria, Chrissy was transferred from a malnutrition centre to a paediatric ward. The hospital fees would take all the money her farming parents would make during the harvest season.

“From our PTP, we were able to provide – free of charge – an antibiotic for her urinary tract infection, antipyretics for her fever, and our group paid for her malaria treatment,” Hicks wrote in a report to HPIC. “After one week in our care, Chrissy recovered and returned to the nutrition centre to further her treatment at only a minimal cost to her family.”

By the time Hicks and her team were leaving, Chrissy was doing very well and gaining weight.

“The family was very appreciative of the free medicine. Although they do not speak English, actions are louder than words,” Hicks said. “This little family who were barely able to feed themselves wanted to share a token of appreciation.”