People in the Field

People in the Field
HAITI. 2010. Zuzana Barciová with MAGNA medical staff team during a surgery in the Community Haitian Hospital after the earthquake. Copyright by Martin Bandžák/MAGNA

Zuzana Barciová, MAGNA theatre nurse, Haiti

“In 16 days, I experienced moments when my emotions changed like an ECG line. Up and down. Happy and sad. In 16 days I experienced moments I will never forget. I saw a patient with brain tumor that was pushing her eye out. In front of the hospital I found a baby on the ground, malnourished and half dead. Every day I saw children in front of the hospital begging for food that they were willing to fight for. It is impossible to forget the sparkle in their eyes when they got some. I will not forget the translator for our team. Every morning he was waiting for us with a smile on his face and every day he was becoming a part of us. Every morning he had patients lined up according to the order and he knew exactly what problems they had. It was joy to work with him. The saddest and the worst day was my last Monday at work. It was a goodbye day. It was so sad I do not even know how many times I cried. We said goodbye to people we used to meet every day. It was hard. They thanked us on behalf of the whole nation for our help when they needed it, they blessed us and kissed us several times. Of course, the tears were there. Like the waterfalls. We cried, they cried. In 16 days I experienced moments I have not experienced before in my entire life. I will never forget Haiti.”

Read the whole field story by Zuzana Barciová from Haiti here >>


Miroslava Cerulová, MAGNA project coordinator in Kenya and Vietnam

“It is December 24, 10a.m., we are sitting in a car trying to manage this hard terrain. Five more kilometers to go and we will be there - said the driver. In other words, another 20 minutes, but it can also be half an hour in these conditions. We are wading through the mud since it was raining in the morning and the road is almost impassable, but now it is sunny so we keep on going. Perhaps everybody is asking the same question: It is December, it´s raining, muddy and sunny at the same time? Compaer to conditions in Slovakia, this is very unusual. This time, we are not going to any Christmas skiing or a party. We are going to visit the family of our patient in the province Nyanza in Western Kenya, where Magna Children at Risk operates its program of help to HIV positive people. There is one social worker, myself and a driver in the car without whom we would not make it to our final destination. Our steps lead immediately into one of the huts where we find a one year old baby from the MAGNA program on the floor. The baby was diagnosed with pneumonia two days ago in the hospital. His father takes care of him since his mother has left the family three months ago. Due to her health problems she had to go and look for help in a distant district. Her relatives found a healer or a “witch doctor” if you want for her. It is not very different even in the case of the father - HIV positive in a very serious stage of tuberculosis, he is lying in the next hut without any signs of life. For few seconds, it seemed like he could not even hear us, but when he heard the voice of a stranger, he slightly opened his eyes and showed us his swollen and inflamed leg. He was nothing but skin and bones and if I had not seen him few weeks ago, I would not believe it was him.”

Read the whole field story by Miroslava Cerulová from Kenya here >>

Romana Skalická, MAGNA volunteer in Cambodia

“I have always wanted to work in a third world country as a medical worker. It was my dream and a challenge. Before my last year of medical studies I had decided to try what I have been reading about since childhood. I got the contact of Magna Children at Risk after searching for Mrs. Júlia Horáková, a doctor who works for the organization as a technical consultant. I must say that almost everything right there was a pleasant surprise. I imagined Cambodia much more backward and I had no idea that the activity of the organization can influence it in such a deep way. After my arrival, the medical coordinator Romain Santon helped me with everything and it was so till the last day of my internship. We prepared my work plan together and I started my activity in the field. MAGNA has 3 main programs in Cambodia. Prevention of the HIV virus transmission from a mother to a child, treatment of HIV + children and the program dealing with malnutrition. Each project has its own coordinator and staff. I would have never believed before how successful these programs can be. An example is a massive decrease in the HIV transmission from a mother to a child by few tens of %, regular allocation of nutrition for all children from the newborns to pupils, daily antiretroviral therapy for HIV + children who do or do not belong to Magna Children at Risk orphanages." 

Read the whole field story by Romana Skalická from Cambodia here >>

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