Life in Thohoyandou, South Africa

“Ndi Matsheloni!” or good morning in Tshivenda, the primary language used in Thohoyandou, is heard throughout our home, Vevisa Lodge, when one begins his or her day. As our Madi Trial team gets ready for the day, starting off with breakfast in the kitchen, we greet other UVA students as well as the Vevisa staff with our newly learned phrase.

It has been just over a month since we have arrived in Thohoyandou, South Africa and the CGH team has made much progress in contributing to a larger two year evaluation that estimates the effect of a low-cost point-of-use water treatment technology, a silver-impregnated ceramic disk, and a silver-impregnated ceramic water filter, on linear growth of children in Limpopo, South Africa.

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Our team from left to right: 
Courtney Hill (Graduate Mentor), Dr. Rogawski (UVA Professor), Bridgette McCarty (MHIRT student), Kelly McCain (UVA Student), Chung Do Kim (CGH Scholar), Evan Lesmez (CGH Scholar)

A normal day for the team begins early in the morning at 8A.M. as we drive to the villages to collect two water samples, with the help of our community field workers, from each household: one sample of the source and one sample that goes through the intervention (filter or disk). Then, around midday, the team will drive back to the University of Venda (UNIVEN) to conduct membrane filtration in order to examine the environmental water quality of the samples.

Additionally, while half of the team is collecting the samples in the morning, the other teammates will take a shift at entering data that we get from the community health workers.

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Chung and Courtney takes a selfie at our data entry office in UNIVEN
with our data entry staff and UNIVEN student.

The CGH team has been working with UNIVEN students to help our project and we have learned so much about the culture in South Africa through these students. Personally, I had the chance to learn about teenager’s attitude towards school. Furthermore, our team had the privilege of visiting a Chief in one of the villages we work at. It was a great opportunity to hear his thoughts on a range of topics from the cultural values of food to the history of Apartheid.

Our team still has just about a month to go and we cannot thank CGH enough for this amazing opportunity to gain lab and cultural experience in South Africa. We have been blessed to work with such amazing people from UVA, UNIVEN, and our community field workers. The CGH team will continue to work hard these last couple of weeks.

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Evan and Chung collecting water samples out
in the field with a community field worker.

-Chung Do Kim

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