Monday, July 25, 2005

Birthday in SL

Yes, this past Saturday I celebrated my 28th birthday. The fun actually started on Friday morning when I walked to my office and noticed a fully decorated door- with balloons and a poster - my nurses and receptionist came in early to decorate. They later surprised me with a gift- a real African outfit! In the afternoon I decided to take them out for ice cream; there’s a local ice cream shop 5 minutes from the ACFC, with great home made ice cream (and it hasn’t made me sick yet!). On Saturday I woke up way too early- but couldn’t get back to sleep, so much for sleeping in. My parents spoiled me with various gifts- including yet another African outfit and a tie-dye skirt. Later in the morning Gisela, my parents and I went to Crown Bakery- a great bakery in town that I had not yet been too. We enjoyed a great brunch there. In the afternoon I spent time making cookies. It was a bit rainy- but not a problem since I wasn’t planning on going anywhere anyway. In the evening the New Steps gang came over and joined all of us at our team house for dessert. Gisela made me the most amazing chocolate cake! And my mom made a delicious apple pie. Plenty of sweet stuff to go around! It was a very enjoyable day. It felt very much like a birthday- and it was nice to once again have some family around to celebrate with. Thanks to all of you that remembered my b-day and made the day special!

birthday treats!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Laundry is an art...

Doing laundry can be an art and a challenge...fortunately we have a washer and dryer- and we have managed to figure out how to use the dryer without overheating the generator :) Doing laundry when we have national power can be interesting (during weekends)- national power can switch on, and then switch off again after an hour...and then an hour later come back on again- that means laundry can take a number of hours and a bunch of trips to the laundry room :) I am very thankful though that we have good facilities!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Down time...

Some of you have asked what we do for down time. Sierra Leone is a beautiful country with beautiful beaches. A group of us often try to go to a beach in the spend some time relaxing and enjoying our surroundings!

River no. 2 - a gorgeous beach! ..... Lakka beach - with a great pool too!

The first 'marklate' day...

Up until Wednesday the out patient clinic was primarily focused on cure (besides the health teachings given in the clinic and on the wards). Well, that has changed. On Wednesday we held our first "MARKLATE" (Krio for 'vaccination') day- children could come for their childhood vaccinations- for Free!

A few weeks ago we met with some of the community leaders to let them know of our plan and to make sure they would communicate it with the rest of the community. Letters were read in the churches and mosques, announcing the vaccination day. Later we heard that the 'town crier' had walked the streets of Aberdeen village, ringing his bell, telling people to take their children to the clinic for their 'marklates'!

The turn-up on Wednesday morning was a bit disappointing. There were about 7 mothers with children. It was a start...but not good enough. The frustrating thing was knowing that some vaccines (measles, yellow fever, BCG) could only be given if a certain number of children would be vaccinated. The 9 month measles vaccine for example is a 10 dose vial and can only be kept for a maximum of 4 hours, or the vaccine will spoil. The government (who supplies the vaccines) told us that 40% wastage for the measles vaccine would be more. That meant we needed to have 6 children present in order to open the vial! Well, there were 3 present that needed the measles vaccine. I was hoping for the best and decided to have the patients wait awhile, and to open the vial at noon and start vaccinating. I figured that would give us until 4pm to find more children so that we would vaccinate at least 6 kids and not get in trouble for vaccine wastage! So, the nurses started vaccinating. Of course, there was a lot of noise coming out of the clinic that day- a few crying kids sure makes it sound really busy! Fortunately with time more children came in, but still not enough for the measles vaccine. (DTP and oral polio are multi dose vials and don't spoil easily). At 3pm I had one of my nurses go across the street to a compound called 'The National Dancetroop' (apparently a lot of the occupants are national dancers!). I wasn't sure what to expect...but sure enough at 330 she showed up with about 4 more children for the measles vaccines and a bunch more for some of the others. So in the end it worked out well. We were able to vaccinate 27 children in total- a good turnout for a first day!

We will definitely keep the vaccinations as part of our out patient clinic program; hoping to hold vaccination days twice a month. Maybe before the next time we'll walk the streets ourselves with a make sure enough people know about it!

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