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Mission Development 4425 W 63rd St., Ste 100 Chicago, IL 60629-5530
Our mission at Zaffé is a health centre in a rural village, about three hours' drive north from Cotonou.
There are six MMM Sisters in our community at Zaffé, including Sister Jacinta Lumenze, pictured above during one of the many nutrition demonstrations held in outlying villages.
Zaffé is our 'Millennium Mission', founded in the year 2000 by our first all-African team of MMM Sisters. The village of Zaffé, is in the Diocese of Dassa-Zoumé in this small west-African republic. The population is made up of four main ethno-linguistic groups: Fon, Yoruba, Voltaic and Fulani.
The health services began when a group of volunteers was trained to work among their people in surrounding villages.
In the first year, 4,850 patients were seen at the new Health Centre, almost 60% of these being children. Respiratory infections, malaria, anaemia and diarrhoeal diseases were the most common problems, but sexually transmitted diseases were believed to be on the increase.
At the antenatal clinics, 116 women registered, and topics such as hygiene, diet and exercise were discussed, as well as the physical monitoring of the mothers-to-be.
Today, the numbers attending the health centre and maternity unit have increased. At the request of the local people, the Sisters have extended the work to include a model farm and an ambitious programme to train young farmers to improve their income through better farm practices.
From the beginning, the local people embraced us warmly, working with us every step of the way to achieve a vibrant health centre and a growing outreach of services to surrounding villages.