Posted on 28th July 2020 by Philippa Wilford

Health & Hope have a long-standing relationship with the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission. As committed partners of our work, the Commission has funded some significant projects (including the hydro-electric water supply and the rebuilding of the Health & Hope Training Centre), enabling Health & Hope’s work to have substantial impact in western Myanmar. This year, the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission celebrate 40 years of their work and we are grateful for their ongoing partnership and support.

Dr Nick Paluch, one of the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commissioners, has visited the work of Health & Hope twice in Lailenpi and has also hosted Dr Sasa during his visit to Guernsey. He recently penned some of his reflections following his latest visit to Chin State...

From Chin State to Guernsey... and back !

As one of Guernsey’s Overseas Aid & Development Commissioners I was delighted to host Dr Sasa's flying visit to Guernsey last November. In the space of 24 hours we fitted in a meeting with the Commission, a live broadcast on BBC Radio Guernsey, a tour of the famous ‘Little Chapel’ and a bracing walk on our beautiful south coast cliffs. 

This March when I visited Lailenpi the tables were turned and Dr Sasa was able to play the host. I arrived just before sunset and was immediately taken to see the airstrip being built above his home town of Lailenpi, with its magnificent views across to the Chin Hills on the border with India.

Dr Sasa & Dr Nick - Guernsey, Nov 2019 Dr Sasa & Dr Nick - Lailenpi, Feb 2020

Over the course of the next two weeks I did some teaching sessions with the Area Co-ordinators and with the nurses, acted as mentor to the three medical students from Southampton who had travelled with me to Lailenpi, helped out at the Hope Clinic and joined in some of the exuberant celebrations accompanying the General Assembly of the Mara Evangelical Church. This was my second visit to Lailenpi and like last time it was a joy and a privilege to be welcomed into such a close knit, resourceful and loving community.

Guernsey has an association with Health & Hope which goes back many years. Previous grants from the Commission have helped to finance the clinic building, the hydro-electric plant and the impressive training centre which would have been opened by the British Ambassador during my stay had it not been for the intervention of the Covid crisis.

Fortunately on the day before I left I was able to lay the foundation stone for the brand new Guernsey funded accommodation block and as I write this article just three months later it is already nearing completion!

Laying the foundation stone The dormitory building, May 2020

This summer marks the 40th anniversary of the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission and Dr Sasa was due to attend a symposium and dinner to celebrate the occasion. Travel restrictions have meant that the event has been cancelled but of course the working relationship between Health & Hope and the Commission will continue.

I very much look forward to hosting Dr Sasa in Guernsey again as soon as I can and I look forward with equal enthusiasm to my next visit to Lailenpi when like him I may even be able to arrive by air!

Area Coordinators and volunteer trainers

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