Monday, June 20, 2005

Mother comes back to say thank you...

A few weeks ago a lady came into the clinic with her 3 year old daughter who had a high fever and was very weak (lethargic) – not even able to sit up. Right away I knew that she was very sick and would need referral. At a time like that it is very difficult to decide whether or not to go ahead and get some lab work done or to refer her right away. I decided to check her blood sugar and do a rapid test for malaria…within a few minutes I had the results- malaria! The next decision was whether or not to start treatment or get her to the referral center as quickly as possible. A call to the doctor at the referral center confirmed my idea- to send her their way immediately. So while I gave medicine to reduce the fever, someone else was waving down a taxi and negotiating the price. Soon the mother was in the taxi with the child and I continued the clinic. During clinic I was of course wondering if she made it to the referral center...on time. After clinic that day I called the referral center and heard that the little girl had made it, and iv treatment had been started. Two days later I went to visit the little girl- she had been improving initially but had now slipped into a coma. That was very discouraging. The mother was sitting next to the bed, happy to see us, but without hope in her eyes. We could only tell her that we were hoping for the best. Looking at the little girl lying there in a coma made me wonder if I could have done anything more for her at the clinic. Leaving there, I knew we had to pray for the best. Five days after visiting the girl, I called again, not knowing what to expect. And amazingly enough the doctor told me that the little girl was doing well. She had pulled through! She ended up staying at the referral center for another 5 days until she had fully recovered. A couple of days after the child was discharged her mom brought her back to our clinic…to say thanks. I told her I was very sorry that we weren’t able to do more for her; since all I really did was refer the child. The mother said that she was grateful that we were able to help the way we did; even if she didn’t get the treatment at our clinic, we helped to get her to the right place. It was great to see her daughter walk into the clinic with a big smile on her face. Sometimes I still get frustrated because I want to be able to do more for patients, and I guess I need to realize that even though at times it may seem like I am not doing much, I am doing something…and something can make a lot of difference.

follow up visit...child doing well!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Walk with a purpose...

This past Sunday my mom, Melissa and I went to the beach for a walk. This was not just an ordinary walk. It was a walk with a purpose. Together with about 1000 other people we walked about 8 km (4.9 miles) along the beach, walking to fight hunger. On the same day, in 90 countries around the world, people were walking for the same reason. “Fight Hunger, Walk the World” is an annual event organized by the World Food Program, to raise awareness and funds and make it possible to eradicate child hunger by 2015.

At 8:30am we got to the starting point. We were surprised to see so many people present, Sierra Leoneans and expats alike. The first thing we noticed was that everyone was wearing the same t-shirts. So we made sure to get in line to buy the shirt! Before actually walking, there was a short program. A number of different people spoke, including the vice president of Sierra Leone. Unfortunately however, the microphone wasn’t working, so I’m not exactly sure what he said. After that we all started walking! The walk took about 1h45m. Fortunately it was dry and not too hot. It was great to take part in a global activity, and to walk with so many others for the children who suffer from hunger. For more info see or

me, Melissa, and my mom ... and the t-shirts :)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Yummy for my tummy...

Many of you are probably wondering what the food is like here. Well, to say the least, the food is great. And it’s usually prepared for me! That is definitely a blessing. In the weekends we don’t have a cook, so we eat leftovers, prepare our own meals, or eat elsewhere.

Breakfast is self-service. For me, this usually means eating cereal (with powdered milk) or bread (with spread cheese or peanut butter & jelly). In the weekends I have some more time to make breakfast, so I’ll occasionally enjoy other things like French toast, eggs...

During the week we eat lunch at the center…African food! The menu is the same every week…the sauces are different everyday, but the staple remains the same...RICE. I don’t care too much for the potato leaves, but the rest is good. Greens are my favorite. Some of the cooks use more hot pepper than others- you just have to make sure you always have your water bottle close by :)

Just to give you an idea, here is the center’s menu:
Groundnut sauce (peanut sauce), chicken and rice
Cassava leaves, fish and rice
Potato leaves, dry fish and rice
Greens (tastes like spinach!!) and rice
Groundnut, chicken and rice

At the team house our cook, Abdul, prepares our dinner. Here are some of the dishes that rotate through our menu; usually accompanied with fruit salad or normal salad and sometimes cake:
Grilled peanut chicken, rice, vegetables (a house favorite!)
Fish, couscous, vegetables
Shepherds pie, (one of my favorites, believe it or not)
Spaghetti, garlic bread
Chicken kebab, fried rice, avocado salad (favorite!!)
Grilled fish, sweet potatoes, plantain
Meat loaf, potatoes, green beans

So, as you can see...the food is YUMMY! A good mix of African, European and American food!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Finally...some photos...

First patient in clinic

First patient on ward (VVF patient's child)

My office/consultation room

Me and my nurses (Ramatu & Juliette)

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~