I want to apologize for not updating for so long. I’m doing very well and so it is not on account of anything happening to me. The first weekend I should have put up an update, I had no excuse other than I was having too much fun going to the beach and hanging out with Margit and Lisa. Then the weekend of New Years, I didn’t have internet access because we went camping again (see the other post). Then I would have had it posted on Wednesday or Thursday but the internet didn’t cooperate. So here, finally, is a couple updates. This one is more a bunch of small, random topics and the other is about the holidays. Don’t feel like you have to read it all, but for those who were dying to hear from me, hopefully this gives you your Emily fix.
The Big Move:
As you may have noticed in previous posts, I was meant to move to a compound last month. This ended up not working out. I am bummed out, but I am glad now that I am still in Blue House. Despite not moving outside of the clinic compound, I have moved… to a different room in Blue House. We just had a new girl move into Blue House who is a doctor (Rachel). The room that I was in is a more convenient room for doctors to be in so that it is easier for the watchman to come wake her up if she is on call. So here are the before and after pictures of where I call “home.”
“Bambu”: No doubt, when you think of Africa you have some picture of a woman carrying water on her head with a baby strapped to her back. At least here, that is no exaggeration. Women carry tons of items on their heads. I’m impressed over and over at their strength in their necks to be able to do such a thing. That is one thing that I haven’t really tried and don’t really plan to because I it isn’t necessary and looks too uncomfortable to me.
Here, when a woman has a baby strapped to her back, it is called bambu-ing. It is rare that I ever see a baby not on its mother’s or grandmother’s or older sister’s back. They can cook, farm, and do about anything with a baby strapped on. From very young the girls are taught how to do it with younger siblings even if the baby is half their size. I always thought it looked like a comfortable way to carry a baby, so I got to try it out a few weeks ago. I was at a wedding and was holding a baby for her mom for a while and my arms were getting tired, so I stuck her on my back. It really was comfortable for me, and she even fell asleep. I carried her for almost 2 hours and didn’t really get tired. I only had to stop because she got hungry and I couldn’t help her solve that problem. I will definitely use this when I get home. It really is easy and comfortable.
Thinking about home:
For those of you who weren’t counting down yet, I am getting close to being done with my time here. As of now, I have 4 weeks of working left. I still have to work on handing over my responsibilities and soaking up all the tropical medicine tidbits I can while I’m here. Then we have a week of meetings and fellowship with the team to work out visions and goals for the year. Following that I am taking two weeks of holidays to visit people and say my goodbyes and prepare for going home. Then I will fly at the end of my holidays. I will then go back to the US headquarters to have a debrief time for 5 days. Following that, I will fly home. So, if you’d like, you may start your countdown. 8 weeks and counting…
In the time I’ve been here, I’ve become aware of the enormous challenges of living and running a medical clinic overseas. There are staffing issues as well as supplies issues to deal with. We are all praying for these needs to be met, so on behalf of my team, I am asking you all to pray as well.
Since it is dry season, our staffing is not so desperate, but rainy season is coming, which means more infections and a busier clinic. Between now and then we are also looking at losing up to 4 staff members and only gaining 1 in replacement, and the staffing is already difficult with the current people. Recruiting from other institutions is impossible because we cannot offer better salaries then them. In the past, we have held nursing training on our compound, but at the moment, we have no nurse tutor and none in the foreseeable future. So if you can pray for this need to be met, that would be awesome.
One of our other big needs is for a new ambulance. Our current one is quite old and not so reliable anymore, and we have to use it frequently to transfer patients to larger hospitals for any surgery or complicated treatment. It is also used to transport staff to and from treks to smaller villages to provide care to people who cannot get to our clinic. We have an estimate for a new ambulance which would be approximately €39000. We already have raised €25000, so there is still €14000 needed. This translates to about $18500.