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The smile is the first thing that surrounds me and captivates the children of Senegal. How many children with big black eyes and shiny white teeth like piano keys around me!
I had never thought about the effect my skin color could have on babies, until the moment I got to the infirmary. I felt like a white devil scares babies, but ... affection and love heal everything and instantly I had them in my arms. Were they correct? He can, but I didn't notice it anymore, I just felt his little hearts beat.
However, what was fascinating were their mothers, who proudly put their children in our arms seeking approval. I did not understand his language, but I did understand the language of his heart that said: "Look at him, he is my son. Is he okay? How do you find him? Is he healthy? ...
Unfortunately, the rates of anemia are very high as well as malnutrition and intestinal diseases caused by parasites. Most of it is due to diet and, of course, to the lack of hygiene in fungal diseases such as scabies or ringworm.
In Senegal, as soon as the baby is born, amulets are placed on the arm, neck or waist, as I was able to observe in newborns. Let's not forget that they do not use cellulose diapers, but cloths twisted around the waist and tied with the ropes that hold these charms. Due to the lack of hygiene, urine mixes with diaper cloths and the mentioned objects. Obviously these practices cause problems. During the first year of life, there is high infant mortality in Senegal, and if we add to this that not all mothers correctly register their children, the result is poor vaccination of their children, late or simply missing vaccines.
Mothers do not lack the will and today learning is paramount. This I was able to verify in the town that I visited, when suddenly a good number of mothers appeared with their babies when they found out that a medical check-up was being prepared for the children of the five neighboring towns.
They all carried their baby on their backs and smiles on their faces, waiting to be cared for. His children were checked, weighed and checked. Some came with a vaccination card and others without it, but no one left unattended and all brought the appropriate medication and guidelines for their follow-up. I felt full, full of enthusiasm and human warmth, we all breathed gratitude through all the pores of the skin. So much for so little!
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