MCN Heathcare staff give back in a variety of ways during the year. One of our clinical staff recently travelled to Madagascar through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. This group sends short term medical teams into a variety of countries to provide much needed care to rural, under-served areas. Each team is made up of 14 members from all over the US; pastors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical and lay persons. We will be sharing her experiences with you over the next few weeks.
The Toby (Toobie)
Remember, we are in the Third World. Many things that are taken for granted in America are not available or accessible here.
The Toby is a place that houses individuals that are mentally unable to function in society. Caregivers (Shepherds) reside here also with their families. There are six Tobys in Madagascar, most attached to a historical site or church.
We delivered uncooked rice and oil to the residents; 2 scoops of rice for each member of the family, 2 additional scoops for the Shepherd, and 1 scoop for each Toby resident in the home. One bottle of oil for every 5 families.
We did not enter a family home. Life at the Toby is hard for the residents. The water comes from a well and is carried a long distance in containers to each home. Outhouses are dug by hand. The community kitchens are made of rock. Wood chips are burnt in the stoves/ovens to produce cooking heat.
One resident of the Toby had been a professor. He speaks Malagasy, English, French, and German. He told us multiple times that he believes in God. He appeared well groomed and nourished. He will probably never leave the Toby due to his mental illness.
Other residents wander around. Some have chains to their wrists and ankles. The chains keep them from leaving the Toby.
Demon possession is believed to be the cause for the mental illnesses. Exorcism is routinely practiced at the Toby. Cultural beliefs play a huge part in the existence of the Toby. Prayer is the main curative solution to the problems. Psychiatric therapy and /or drugs are not available for anti-psychotic or chemical restraint. Even if the resources were available, the people would not be able to pay for them.