Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dinner with Friends

Last Thursday, I ventured outside the camp into the community. I traveled maybe 10 minutes by foot down a dirt path and arrived at Elizabeth's house. She was outside holding a sweet baby named Paul, whose mother was out in the fields collecting sorghum. Also, sitting with her was a young pregnant mother named Rebecca. I sat down and practiced my greeting in Mabaan. I was soon laughed at because of my poor pronunciation but they helped me. I was able to practice my language learning and made some new friends.

After spending nearly an hour outside their home sitting in the shade of a tree on a little stool made of rope and wood, I attempted to say goodbye. Only they shouted “Coocca Ino!” which means to sit down. So I did. They continued to talk and I continued to listen. I was able to learn the names of the many animals around us like- chickens, pigs, goats, dogs, and ducks. The many children would come over, talk to the mothers, and then be off again to play.

After another hour, I attempted to leave again. And again they shouted “coocca ino!” I attempted to explain that the sun was going down and it would be dark. They simply told me they were making dinner and I was to stay to eat with them. Another pregnant young women named Martha joined us, she was the one making dinner. She worked very hard stirring this large pot of acidia, some type of grain. Elizabeth helped with dinner too by pounding the dried okra into a fine powder. 

The powder was then added to liquid to make a soup/ sauce for the acidia. I asked if I could try pounding the dried okra, well it's much harder than it looks. I got some good laughs and then promptly handed the responsibilities back to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth also helped by stirring the pot of acidia. To me acidia kinda looks like refried beans (what can I say, I love Tex-Mex!)

Here in South Sudan- relationships are everything. So I stayed for dinner. An hour or so later, dinner was ready. And I washed my hands “byenki luaga” with fresh water from the bore hole. Only problem I had never had Sudanese food and didn't know how I was suppose to eat my meal on the large platter in front of me. 

The ladies kept saying “omja amo” meaning you eat the food. So after Rebecca showed the proper technique in scooping the acidia and dipping into the okra “sauce” then enjoy. Well it certainly didn't not taste like refired beans but wasn't horrible. The acidia is a bit sour in taste and soft kinda like sticky thick mashed potatoes. The okra “sauce” was like a green snot consistency and tasted like okra.

After eating my fill I told the ladies I must be going back home to my “baanji” (camp). The ladies understood I needed to go as it was getting dark. They insisted they walk me back home- Elizabeth and Rebecca, and 6 children (one each holding my hand) and several dogs. Elizabeth carried a large stick in case we encountered any snakes along the path. I was so touched by my new friends that upon arriving to my camp I immediately gave them each a big hug and thanked them for the meal.

I hope to be able to go visit Rebecca, Martha, and Elizabeth again.

Clinic life

This week in the clinic has been challenging. There is so much to learn and medicine here is so different than back home. My role back home was a nurse and here my role is more like a physician. I am to assess patients, diagnosis, and treat with the appropriate medications. Completely different and unfamiliar to me. Which makes things a bit stressful!

However, just this week, I was able to do something that was familiar and brought joy to my heart. A very sick woman arrived on a donkey cart aka ambulance. She looked weak, was having difficulty breathing, and was having much pain. After the history and assessment, we (I am still on clinic orientation) diagnosed her with pneumonia. With her being so weak and having a loss of appetite she would need an IV. I was happy to do it, something familiar to me! Then we promptly started her on a bolus of fluids to help with her dehydration. Again something I could do! Next we discussed the appropriate medications for her care. Then I drew up the antibiotics and administered them. Again something I knew how to do!

She stayed in our care for a day or two- getting fluids and IV antibiotics. I am happy to report she is back home and doing well. Recovering from the pneumonia.

Even though most things here in the bush seem so unfamiliar and a bit scary to me. I was relieved to see how some things are the same. Caring for patients is the same. They are simply people in need of medical care. And caring is the heart of nursing to me. Even though back home I have never seen a patient with malaria and here I have seen dozens I am confident that I am here for a purpose. Not only is my purpose to help those who are sick but to show them God's love through my actions.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ordinary Friday!

    After completing 2 weeks of intense language learning, I had a day off (Friday). I was looking forward to relaxing a bit. Well after 7am team devotions I decided to crawl back into bed and take advantage of the cooler temperature and since I have not been assigned a "job" at the clinic I was taking advantage of the break. After my nap ate some breakfast and did some cleaning up around my tukul. 

    Oh and Jodi, Karen, and I did sometime in the morning rescue about 20- 25 piglets who had managed to get inside our camp. They were so tiny they could fit in the holes of the chain-linked fence. However, their much larger Momma pig wasn't able to come into our camp as well. Luckily our guard dogs were sleeping in the shade and were on the opposite side of camp, so that we were able to successfully help all the piglets get back through the fence. They were just so cute!

     Then made a trip to the local market for some bread (1 piece only 1 SSP about 25 cents) and other things. We (Jodi, Katta, and me) walked around a bit to see what was available. There is usually things such as flour, salt, sugar, laundry soap, milk powder, cooking oil, flip flops, onions, garlic, dried okra, candies, beans, rice, coffee beans (not yet roasted-- they are green in color!) and a few other things depending on the season. (20 second time out-- I have heard that in the next few weeks it will be MANGO season- can't wait!!)

    After our trip to the market we are walking back to our camp, passing the clinics and the nutrition clinic as well. There at the nutrition clinic the ladies are just excited and say they have trophies from the day and we must come see. So we walking into the grounds to see that there are about 6 women ages from mid 20s to 50s with giant sticks and brooms. While they were cleaning out the storage room #1 they have in the process discovered an entire extended family of rats-- which are now dead. They were able to work together as a team and with their sticks and brooms get all the rats that were helping themselves to "Plumpy Nut" a nutrition supplement for the children. 

    Back at camp I enjoyed my favorite for lunch-- PB & J on bread from the market (kinda like pita bread, round, thick, and a little sour in taste). I really enjoyed it and hope to make my fave lunch at least once a week-- which is a change from my norm back home of 5-6 times/week. Oh and the small round dough balls are fried bread like donuts- I ate them with a bit of syrup. 

     The ladies at the clinic recruited us to help move the boxes from storage room #2 into room #1 after lunch. So promptly after lunch we marched over to the nearby clinic to clean up the mess from the rats and reorganize the storage rooms. Well, while in the process of moving over 200 boxes of plumpy nut we discovered a snake in storage room #2. This time we decided to call for reinforcements-- Bob and Paul.  After nearly emptying the storage room the men showed up just in time with their panga's (giant knives) and got the snake! Not sure what kind it was-- probably 3 feet long, charcoal grey in color, white belly. But all I know is the best kind of snake is a dead one. Below is a picture of the newly organized storage room- you can see in the boxes of oil where the rats chewed on the cardboard box.  The other is one of me and the snake. 

Just another day here in South Sudan, where every day is a real adventure! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Around camp . . .

Bore Hole

Hey Culligan Man!
aka-- Water Delivery on Donkey

Home sweet home & my hog aka bicycle 

Texas sized fly swatter used for BATS!

Kitchen- sinks and bins

Security System

Tidan does yoga!

My small bowl of popcorn for movie night :)