Missionaries go door to door inviting villagers to clinic

BOUAKE, Ivory Coast — When no one showed up recently at a free, Church-sponsored vaccination clinic in the small town of Trenou, on the outskirts of Bouake, missionaries organized local young men into a door-knocking campaign. Before the clinic ended, some 500 people had been immunized.

The vaccinations were done by the vaccination team of the Elargi Vaccination Program of the Sanitary District of Bouake, under Dr. N'Guessan Assemien.

When the first members of the branch arrived at the clinic, not a solitary villager had come out for the health department service and it looked like the vaccination clinic was going to be a total flop.

However, soon after the door-knocking campaign began, a lengthy line formed of villagers with their babies and small children. Soon other parents saw what was going on and began to bring out their little ones, and the lines grew yet longer.

With the increasing crowd of adults and children standing around and the distressing din of infants being poked with long needles, it was suggested the branch members start singing.

Soon an ad hoc chorale was formed and the songs of Zion pealed forth to subdue the children and soothe the troubled spirits of the parents. The people here love to sing and sing they did for nearly an hour, one French "cantique" after another.

The line never seemed to get any shorter and what was projected to be at most a two-hour clinic lasted all morning and into the afternoon. By one o'clock, 364 children and 144 adults had either been vaccinated or immunized. All who had come had been accommodated. Those receiving the service represented 60 percent of the children and 42 percent of the adult women of childbearing age of the entire village population.

After the clinic ended, Sophie Konan, Air France Branch Relief Society president, and a counselor, Berthe Botche, a counselor, provided sandwiches and drinks for the government health clinic team and those faithful members who had come to support the activity.

A follow-up clinic was held March 23, and another has been scheduled in April to finalize the series.

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