Saturday, March 6, 2010

Excuses Excuses

Sorry I've been MIA. Here is a few tidbits:

-Great trip to Zambia. Saw your standard safari animals: elephants, zebra, lions, hyena, hippos etc.
-We got really up close and personal with the lions: during one of our night drives they were lying in the road and refused to move. Our driver moved the spotlight to the side of the car there was another lion crouching in the bushes just looking at me, probably 10 feet away (and the car had no top or real sides). "Remain seated," said our driver nervously. Luckily it just walked slowly by the car and slunk off.

Journey home from the safari
-Stayed with Mrs. A in Lilongwe where our safari left from. Mrs. A is the mother of Mrs. K, our Malawian project manager/liason/fairy godmother. Mrs. A speaks very little English and mostly giggled. She did cook us two delicious meals: chambo (local fish) with nsima (cornmeal paste/patty) and chicken and rice (we saw the chicken being plucked). Both of these meals we ate with our hands in the traditional Malawian style.

-She also basically held us hostage in her house. We took a bus to Lilongwe but she was going to drive us back and kept pushing our departure time back until we finally had to insist that we leave and practically force her out the door.

-And when I say "drive us back" I mean that she had me drive. In her Mercedes. While yelling "REDUCE YOUR SPEED" when I got even 1/2 a km/hr over 80 (she watched the speedometer like a hawk). This, combined with the car sized potholes, the frequent police checkpoints, the people and livestock in the road and seeing 4 serious accidents within the first 15 minutes almost gave me an anxiety attack.
-The aforementioned anxiety attack caused my driving to become less than steller. And thus I hit a goat. I'll say it again: I hit a goat while driving an old lady's Mercedes. It made a sickening "thunk" but I'm happy to report that the goat lived and even ran away. Needless to say I made Courtney drive after only an hour.

-When Mrs. A finally took the wheel, however, she proceeded to drive over 100 km/hr and although I was tempted to give her a taste of her own "REDUCE YOUR SPEED" medicine, I refrained because I wanted to get back as soon as possible.

Life and times back at the ranch
Some pictures from Kabula Hill where we live. The first is the porch at the middle house where I live with Gus and Lacey (who are married, Lacey is a third year med student) and Courtney (my roommate and a fourth year med student who is sadly leaving tomorrow!).

-Good to be back at work
-Some drama here between the students/doctors actually living and working here and the administration. Luckily it doesn't affect my day to day life here.
-No water or power for a few days which made internet a no-go and showers and flushing toilets a distant dream. Seems like we're back on track for the moment save a few hours today without water.
-The computer I've been using here is no longer functional so I'm without a regular computer fix. This might mean a slowdown of blog posts- sorry!

Here is what I'll be doing instead of posting....working! Wooohoooo. Here are some visuals from clinic:

Listening to the nurses during teaching. Teaching is when they tell the moms about the different foods that we give and remind them that chiponde is a medical treatment (in order to discourage sharing and increase adherence to the feeding protocol).
Getting a kid to be weighed. This picture must be from the beginning of clinic because usually there is an unruly mob of moms surrounding the scales, height board etc. We spend 1/2 our time yelling "azmai! panga mzeleh!" (mom! make a line) but it usually devolves quickly into anarchy.

Anyway- sorry I can't post a more detailed account of my Zambia trip or anything else but now we have one computer for 5 people so I'll just have to wait and see if the other Mac gets fixed.

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