First I need to keep my promise by explaining how Josh fell in a drain. We have discovered the Impala Hotel, a 15 minute walk from the compound, which has a great swimming pool so the boys love going there. We went there on our first weekend and on the way home on Sunday Josh decided to walk along reading his Star Wars colouring book. By the side of the Lima road are storm drains and I kept asking him to be careful and not to walk too close but Josh being Josh thinks he knows best so one minute we were all walking along and the next there was a big Josh howl but when we turned round there was no Josh! We rushed back and there he was in the drain luckily absolutely fine and so was the colouring book which was Zac’s first concern! On the same trip he managed to drop the beautiful black and white butterfly wing that he found into the drain on the other side of the road. Again he whined and wailed and cried so much that a lovely black Mama jumped into the drain and retrieved the wing as his cruel mazungu parents refused to do this for him!
The boys have now been at school for 3 days and have settled in very well. Apart from Josh clinging to me on day 1 in assembly they have been delighted to go and have been making lots of friends. Zac made a card for his “beast friend” so I am hoping that his spelling will improve – they certainly have more homework.
Life is settling into a routine – we have to get up at 6 30am which is a shock to the system as the boys start school at 7.30am. Mind you we have generally been awake for hours listening to the very loud and annoying cockrel strutting his stuff and crowing at top volume from about 4am! My work starts at 8am and as it’s Africa all the patients arrive from 8am or earlier and sit patiently on benches until their files arrive generally around 10am when we can start clinic. Today we worked solidly in clinic seeing patients from 10am -3pm without a break and with no lunch I was finding it difficult to concentrate at the end. It would be much more sensible to start at 8 and finish at 1pm but I know better than to try to work out why it takes 2 hours to get the files. I am teaching 4th year medical students, Diploma students who are Medical Officers but not doctors and Interns who are doctors on the 4 year dermatology intern project. There are about 4-5 per room and not all speak Swahili as different governments sponser the Diploma students to come to the RDTC to learn Dermatology so they can set up clinics back in their country. Sometimes it is hard to work out who is who and it seems the Interns teach the Diploma students and the medical students but it is the foreign volunteers who teach the interns. Many of the doctors, medical students and diploma students seemed to disappear mid morning leaving us to finish clinic. Today there were some amazing cases and I saw things I normally see in text books. People seem very long suffering here and often wait far too long before seeking help and we see huge numbers of HIV related skin conditions. I was very worried that I would not know enough dermatology but my HIV treatment knowledge has rapidly expanded and it is the basic general dermatology that needs to be taught and also how to take a proper history, find the physical signs and make a management plan. I was back home today at 4.30am and am thinking about my lectures for next week.
We went to the school for dinner for the second time this week. On Monday we had beef pasta, chocolate milkshake and banana fritters and chocolate sauce and on the way home Josh said “ tonight was like a date night – you know when you love each other and you go out and eat fancy food at a fancy restaurant”. Bless him…I feel sorry for his future girlfriends!
Aaron has been doing some volunteer teaching at the school teaching presentation skills to surly teenagers and getting on with his PhD. He has also been going into town with Rebecca to buy a mop and bucket and source coffee and fruit and vegetables. Rebecca made us mango and avacado smoothies (not mixed together) which are delicious.
It has been restful to have no TV and instead we play old fashioned games after dinner – happy families, snap and Zac has been teaching me chess although he was very stroppy when he didn’t win last night..
Our main problem is lack of transport as the dermatology car is now under contract for sole use to the Spanish pharmacist and it seems to have broken down as well. We take taxis everywhere at present but it would be great to have some transport to get out and about at the weekends. It is impossible to hire cars here so not sure yet what we will do .
I can’t believe we will have been here a week tomorrow – it seems much longer than that already….We are thinking of you in cold England whilst we bask in the heat and scratch our bites.