Monday, April 13, 2009


Frustratingly, Easter is a 4 day weekend, and we are working 3 out of 4 days of it. It is the life of a doctor, and we should be used to it, but somehow, being a volunteer, I find it a bit more annoying. But we did have Friday off together, which was nice.

Last week we met a Spaniard who is cycling in Namibia, scouting it to see if it's suitable for guiding a cycling holiday. I ran into him again Friday morning in the shop and he came by for a chat, some water and to use the internet. He's tired of cycling and taking a few days off, to do more typical safari type stuff, so we're storing his bike for him. I showed him Margo and Chris' blog. He cycles about 100km a day, carrying 8 liters of water with him. That's to last 2 days, in case he doesn't get to a campsite that night. It is so hot and dusty here and the roads are so straight, I can't imagine doing what he's doing. I don't think he's planning on taking tourists here either, as he keeps saying that the scenery is so "boring". Daniel, be warned. By the way, for potential visitors, I think the scenery is only boring if you're travelling slowly...

Otherwise we were very quiet. Mark worked very hard on Sunday, tho' we did have time for supper, with another visitor, Pratap. Pratap is also VSO and he travels about 2 weeks every month, helping set up campsites, coordinating conservancies and generally knows everyone. When he visits it's like the outside world is coming in for a while. We had chicken, potatoes, cauliflower cheese, some Indian vegetable Dr Reddy's wife had given us, a green salad. And Chocolate cake. It was reminiscent of any Sunday dinner we've hosted in the past, and completely lovely.

And now I'm on today, and it's been really tough. I'm not sure I can write about it, but it is part of the things I anticipated might be hard, coming here. A few days ago I identified a few things that make the hard things more bearable. It's completely corny, but completely true. There are a couple of young girls who are struggling with HIV and Tb, and both are doing
well. The older one, M, I've been taking care of almost every day for 6 weeks, and she was always just flat, recumbent, apathetic. Our boss, Nkire, got the rehab person to come and see her, and I think he gave her (and the nurses) confidence to use the walking frame! What a difference. Big smiles and applause at her first jaunts up and down the ward, and now big smiles on my ward rounds. She's not out of the woods, maybe never will be. The younger one, E, was picked up by her aunt to be taken home for the long weekend. She usually wanders the hospital, with a serious face, rarely a smile, up and down and around. Her too, I saw today, smiling and waving at me.
These are the things that will sustain us.

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