random topics and pics to enjoy!

After I wrote this update, I realized that there aren’t really any pictures that I have to go along with these topics, so you get some of the random pictures of life here that I haven’t gotten to post yet.

bantaba (meeting place) in front of the clinic

pounding groundnuts

eating around the bowl - yummy benichin
me being artsy on the road outside of Sibanor
sometimes Gambia looks like SD
SP is my cuddle-bug

American night!

Every week, we have a designated day to pray or hang out as a team.  In the last year, my team has been taking one of our fellowship nights to learn about other team members’ cultures.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve heard about German, Swiss, Dutch, and Brazilian cultures.  It is super fun to see how each group perceives his/her own culture.  Everyone seems to light up when they are talking about their home.

Last week, was my turn to lead the culture night.  I had to come up with food to prepare and what to share.  Since America is pretty huge and diverse, I chose to focus closer to home and the places I like to go.  I prepared a bunch of different pizzas for the food:  buffalo chicken, BBQ, Hawaiian, cheeseburger, and cheese (for the picky eaters), and served it with Coke and M&Ms.  Although pizza isn’t considered to originate in America, I personally think that we perfected the technique and so they got to try very Americanized flavors.  Everyone liked it and several asked for the recipes for some of the pizzas.

For my presentation, I had my team start by saying what they think of when they think of the States (foods, people, general impressions).  Then I showed them pictures of my family and my home (house, city, state) and the places and activities I like.  I received my Christmas package from my family a couple weeks ago with this year’s marching band show.  Since this was a HUGE part of my high school experience (and so many people have a very dull version as their mental picture), I showed them the video.  They were blown away.  I got goosebumps (way to go band – even from a video – that is pretty impressive).  Then showed them pictures of my alma mater (they had to ask what an alma mater was…) and the med school I’ll be going to next year.

At the very end, I had them play a game called Four on a Couch (some of you may be familiar with it – if not, ask me when I get home b/c it is kinda hard to explain).  That turned out to be an even bigger hit than the food and the marching band show.  Everyone got really into it.  We played long hair against short hair (my mentor has short hair so she joined the boys to make even teams), and long hair won both times (I will admit that it was a pretty close game though).

Dressing Wounds

As a general helper, I get recruited to do all sorts of odd jobs on top of my normal responsibilities.  One of the things I’ve also had the opportunity to learn is how to dress wounds.  It’s not very hard, but it was a little overwhelming to start.  I had observed a couple times before, but never had to do it myself ever.  The nurses definitely threw me right in and made me learn.  It was awesome.  It was just like the saying “see one, do one, teach one” (the motto for overseas surgery), but on a much less scary level.  Here there are basically three kinds of dressings:  sugar, iodine, and an ointment for really badly infected wounds.  For wounds that are not infected, we use a sugar dressing (to give the tissues energy to heal , and for wounds that are, we use an iodine dressing (to kill any bacteria that would be hiding there so that the wound can heal more effectively).

The first day I did dressings, we also had patients who were involved in a road accident.  It was a very minor road accident: no stitches or major treatments were needed, just some scrapes and bruises, but it made the day a little more exciting.

This last weekend, I also was called on to do some dressings.  I was a little unprepared for my first patient though.  She was an under 5 girl who had fallen in the fire and had major 3rd degree burns to her thighs (~5-6% of her body surface) with blistering.  They had been dressed previously, but even the process of removing the previous dressings was excruciating for her.  I hate being the bad guy.  It was bad enough that I was pretty sure it was beyond my capabilities, so I asked the doctor on duty if there was more pain relief we could give her or anything.  He definitely agreed and took her to the doctor’s room to put her under ketamine anesthetic and removed some of the blistering and admitted her until she could walk again.  He didn’t end up dressing the burns, but just put an antiseptic on the burns so that they could air out and heal faster.  It was really cool to watch her change from a girl screaming in pain to one that would give me high fives the day she was discharged (<5 days).

This weekend, please be in prayer as I try to figure out some details so that I can wrap up my job of making the HIV care database.  The first format that I made it in was incredibly frustrating and limiting, but changing it is also a big hassle.  Computers are frustrating.  I can now empathize with my dad when he comes home from working with computers all day.

Countdown:  less than 40 days until I fly.

One thought on “random topics and pics to enjoy!”

  1. It’s great to read about your work, Emily. Thanks for sharing all you are seeing and experiencing. Blessings to you on the remainder of your time there!

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