Friday, January 15, 2010

In Kigutu

Arrived in Bujumbura day before yesterday about midnight...flight from Brussels delayed by 4 hours of sitting on the runway...cargo door problems,snow, deicing, losing departure slot, but pleasant flight nonetheless. Arrived in a substantial rainstorm and picked up by Nestor, the in country director, Cory the new (has been here a week) site coordinator and Daniel the driver/?. Had a great nights sleep (sound of rain helped), cold shower (get used to it:)) coffee and bread, and then a quick trip to exchange money, buy some Nido (full cream powdered milk...manna from heaven...really...wish it were available in the States) and then attempted to drive the normal route, along Lake Tanganyika, south to Kigutu. Totally foiled by a rock road block...some sort of land dispute...lots of police, shots fired, cleared the road...attempted again but almost got caught between two road out and took a much longer route. Took 6 hours instead of 3. Beautiful, lush green to accompany this post. Arrived in Kigutu at 3pm, had a quick tour of the residence, the computer room, the clinic, pharmacy, depot (storage room), and then the wards. There are 8 or 9 adult patients, with a variety of illnesses...Malaria, TB, HIV, shingles, fungal infections, pneumonia, weird skin leisons, and then several kids in the "malnutrition" ward, some malnourished, others with malaria, HIV positive and I can't remember what all else. Then lunch and then a visit to the baby goats and a gigantic garden. Harvested lots of radishes, mustard greens, carrots and onions. Dinner of rice, beans, french fries,cooked cabbage...which is pretty much what we had for lunch, substituing potatoes for rice...and which will pretty much be what we will have every day. Good thing I like beans and rice. Helen and I did a show and tell of all the stuff we hauled over and then to bed. Read from my Kindle (jury still out) for about 2 minutes then to sleep. Slept well, awake by 6:30, shower (yeah cold) then breakfast of a sort of chipate/crepe and tea.

Then rounds which are a little tricky. Most of the patients only speak Kurundi, occasionally a little French so they would talk to the doctor then someone would translate for our benefit into English. Most of the staff speaks French, so I am reaching into the depths of my brain to pull that out....and when in doubt I say it in Spanish, which noone understands except for Brad (an RN who has been here 2 weeks and will be staying for a month)and Alex (the computer guy, who has been here for 3 months and will be here another 3 months). I am going now to help in the wards with Hilary (a Burundian nurse)...will post more later.

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