After a night of dogs barking and drums and singing the morning came around 6:00 with the sounds of people going to the bathroom. Finally got up and dressed, grabbed my backpack and headed down for breakfast. Scrambled eggs with ham so I asked for a couple eggs scrambled and it was no problem.
After the meal we packed up with all the medical stuff and my sack was filled with children’s clothes for the village of Odige were we were going to. Then down the hill to meet the moto gang. Mounted up and headed out. Up the National Highway to Blasse-Blu then turned off into the hills, lots of hills. Bumpy, rutted, steep. One moto threw a chain so we had a break to stretch, then off again.
After about an hour we arrived above the village - and had to walk down a very steep hill to the village. Quite slippery with gravel and sand. At the village there were quite a few people waiting in the community center – and the place was quite cramped. We set up the pharmacy in the community center in front of all the patients and the three clinics in a small space behind. One room was divided by a sheet and the other a small room next to the kitchen.
Kitty, Morgan (the interpreter) and I were in one room that had a window that overlooked the waiting area and pharmacy. Today I was the nurse doing blood pressure, writing down (from the interpreter) the symptoms, then the diagnosis and prescription and referral if needed.
They started coming in and continued non-stop. We saw young children (13 months), old women (87), people with STDs, hypertension, anemia, typhoid, and much more. One young man thought he was the accidental victim of voodoo. An infant with continuous seizures came in – nothing we could do but Kitty got the money together to transport (by moto) the family and child to the nearest hospital. We’re not sure if they every went though.
Once we were done they gave us a small meal (goat, beans and rice, plantains), then got word that we were needed back at Jolivert – there were way more patients than they could handle. We trudged up the hill – a couple hundred yards it seemed, then onto the motos. It was almost all downhill and we coasted – the only safe way to travel down these hills as loose rocks and ruts were everywhere. Beautiful scenery.
Back at Julivert (sore and dusty) we went in the clinic and got a chair. We saw a couple people and were pushed by people moving by – simply not enough room. After about three or four patients it was over. We then headed down to the pharmacy and sorted out the drugs that they hadn’t have time to put on the shelves. After that was done we finally headed up the the community center to have some dinner. Almost everyone had eaten long before but there was chicken left over so we had at least something.
Back up to the housing and we had a beer and sat around talking about the day and just trying to relax. My sleeping quarters were occupied by missionaries and kids but after a while I went in and told everyone I was going to take a shower – and had a cold one – as normal. Felt good! Did find that I had rubbed my right foot raw so bandaged it up. May need to wear my clogs the rest of the trip.
After dark the Project Starfish folks had a meeting with Missions of Love to discuss the future of the relationship between the two. Starfish has been coming for four years but want to establish their own place. Missions of Love seems quite pleased to help as much as possible and will give advice on starting up a new place. Very friendly meeting even though there are some personality clashes. The two directors – Blod and Christof – have been fantastic!
On the way back to the room we saw that the hill across the river were on fire – strips of burning coming down the hill stretching for some distance. Locals burning off the scrub to fertilize the ground for new grass for the animals. Quite the sight. Then a couple of dark helicopters flew over… No idea.
Will probably chat a bit the rest of the night then to a well deserved sleep – exhaustion. Tomorrow we’re up at 6:00, breakfast, a clinic at 7:00 then on the road about 10:00.