Friday, September 07, 2007

Two and a half years in Sierra Leone...

Wow.
Exactly 2 1/2 years ago I arrived at Lungi airport.
Expecting to stay for a year.
Not knowing what I would really be doing here.
Anxious and excited.

The center wasn’t even finished yet.
Wards looked like storage units.
Boxes were everywhere.
The outpatient clinic was a big empty space.
Staff hadn’t even been interviewed yet.

The adventure began.
The scope of the clinic was written up.
Staff was hired.
The empty space turned into a waiting area.
We were ready for patients to come.

May 10 2005 the outpatient clinic opened.
I was nervous.
On day 1 three patients showed up.
On day 3 we were up to 27 patients.
I found it a challenge.

Limited medication.
A part-time lab technician.
Consultations in the Krio language.
Cultural differences with patients and staff.
The stress of being the only doctor.

Two and a half years later.
I am still in Sierra Leone.
Work can still be challenging.
But I am more confident.
I can’t imagine being elsewhere.

My staff (5 nationals) is amazing.
Communicating in Krio is great.
I’ve gotten used to my stock of drugs.
Peeking at malaria parasites or Schisto under the microscope is fun.
I’ve seen up to 68 children on one day alone.

Getting to know families over the span of 2+ years is a blessing.
It’s a privilege to be a part of their lives.
I am happy to know that I can make a difference.
It’s definitely the children that keep me here.
Their smiles, their laughter, their potential.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

San, you are making a difference and we can testify to that, hearing the children calling out your name when you walk by, seeing Mohammed, Mariama, Jeneba, Small, Junior and all the others, their smiley faces and excitement when you walk by - You are a blessing.
And ............. it is great to be part of it all.
Love
mama

David said...

Well done Sandra! Glad you're so engaged in this important work. Its a wonderful investment in eternity!

Bless you.

David

Anonymous said...

Sandra:

To say your are doing a fine job is an understatement!! My organization in the U.S. would like to help! Please reach me at rfreeman@homeworkcenters.org

Cheers,
Rycourt

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