REACH intern: ‘Smiles and laughter are universal terms!’

Ivory Coast, PIM Clinic, child sponsorship, Lauren Cathey, Coeur Ouvert

The CMF ministry in Ivory Coast is centered on child sponsorship and the renowned PIM Medical Clinic in Abengourou, but REACH intern Lauren Cathey is learning that these wide-ranging programs touch Ivorians in many ways.

Ivory Coast, PIM Clinic, child sponsorship, Lauren Cathey, Coeur Ouvert

REACH intern Lauren Cathey stands at the gate of the home she’s sharing with teammate Claire Richardson this summer in Ivory Coast.

“The people here that I meet are very accepting of me and patient with my struggling French,” said Lauren. “Thankfully, smiles and laughter are universal terms!”

Lauren has been especially impressed with the child sponsorship program, called Coeur Ouvert (Open Heart).

“They open their hearts to many more children than just the ones who are sponsored in so many villages,” she said. “It takes a lot of traveling to stay in touch with all the kids. I’ve heard of child sponsorship before but have never gotten to see what that means on the other side of a computer screen or pamphlet. It’s impressive and beautiful. Coeur Ouvert doesn’t just provide money for school and supplies and health; they invest in the parents and children to raise up long-term benefits.”

Lauren went along with the social workers on some of the meetings recently and was impressed at the nutrition training that they provided.

“There is a decent amount of food available here, but there is so much illness due to a lack of information on what your body needs each day, so they teach on food groups and good energy sources,” she said.

“The parents are very receptive and want to support their children as best they can,” Lauren added. “They eagerly work with the program and are empowered to become more self- sufficient.

“The work being done here surpasses man’s efforts,” said Lauren. “I often feel very small, and not just because I’m 5’1” tall! I’m learning to enjoy the tangible impact I see day-to-day in the clinic.”

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