Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Surfacing Once Again

Wow….

I’ve sat here for a couple of minutes with only that on my screen, trying to decide where to begin in the narration of my recent experiences. It feels like we’ve been here quite a while already even though it’s only been two weeks. Those two weeks though, have been anything but ordinary in comparison to my normal existence.
I’m writing this in my room and then will go down to the offices tomorrow to get on the internet and post it. Because of that I can’t read what I last wrote on my blog. I believe we had just started to settle in and may have seen a few procedures in the hospital at that point? Well as of now (10/7/08) we’ve gotten to do/observe quite a bit in the hospital. Last week the medical director was gone to Dar es Salaam to meet with a Canadian couple who was coming to take charge of some construction projects here at Heri. Because he and the Canadian contractor weren’t here yet Neil and I kept somewhat busy organizing some storerooms and then helping the nurses with their duties in the operating theatre (which is an area that has a main operating room, another room for minor procedures and then an area to wash and sterilize instruments). We’ve become experts at manufacturing small gauze pads from a large roll and then rapping them and sterilizing them to be used for surgeries. The time there went pretty slowly because not much went on each day but it is a fun place to spend our time because the people who work there are really nice and funny in their own multi-cultural way. For example we were in watching a circumcision procedure on an 82 yr. old gentleman when the doctor and the nurses started a humorous conversation in English which the man didn’t understand. So everyone’s talking and laughing for a good 15 minutes and then the guy asks if they’ve even started yet (great indication that the local anesthetic worked:). Ok, so maybe a situation is more humorous at the time then described later by someone whose sense of humor is slightly off balance. sorry….

We got to watch a really cool arm surgery and the placing of a pin in the kid’s arm. I have to admit that I don’t have a stomach of iron or titanium or any strong metal. The first few procedures that we saw made me pretty nauseous but that’s been getting a lot better as I’ve watched more. This coming Sunday we’re going to get to watch the doctor remove a bunch of goiters off a lady that have been growing since 1984. Some of these goiters that she’s going to “give birth to” are older than I am…not that that’s saying much. Oh and yesterday we were in the hospital and got to help pop a kid’s elbow back into place. They knocked him out and then we all grabbed him and were pulling in different directions until the doctor felt the bones move back into place, which also came with an audible pop.

The contractor has been here a few days now and we’ve been told that we’ll be helping him supervise the construction projects and still get to help out in the hospital and watch surgeries. I also found out that they believe I’m capable of writing a grant proposal for ADRA Canada and the Canadian government. We’ll see how Neil and I fair on that project:) Back to the construction side. There are two sites and we’ll be in charge of supervising the work done on a couple of small houses at one site while the contractor takes care of the other site. We weren’t sure what exactly we were going to be doing with the construction but it appears that we’re just supposed to hang around like guardian angels and make sure that everyone keeps working and something is actually accomplished by the end of the day. I’ve never managed a construction crew before but it can’t be that bad, right? I mean the guys and I don’t even speak the same language so communicating what needs to be done should be a piece of cake…or something.
Today they were cleaning up the brush around the houses and found a bee hive that needed to be removed. It was underground so one of the guys went right at it. Digging up the hive with bees flying all around him. He’d yelp every now and then but kept going until you could see all the combs inside. Then he just reached in and started pulling them out with bees still on some. After getting all the combs out they got some brush burning in front of the hole to smoke the bees, and we all got to enjoy some honey straight from the hive. It was the best honey I’ve ever had. Really rich and not as thick as the stuff in the store.

Well I congratulate all of you who have made it this far down the page! I would apologize for the length but…I’m not going to because it just takes the place of me posting more often. I really appreciate all of the comments and emails that I’ve gotten from some of you..hint hint:) I hope everyone is having a marvelous week. I’ve just thought of more I could write but I’ll spare you the pain. You’re welcome.

Farewell to all and to all a good night… Justin

9 comments:

MoziEsmé said...

Quite an adventure, it seems! Considering that I passed out twice while watching a hysterectomy at Blantyre Hospital, I'd say you are doing pretty well. It's good to know you have internet access and plenty to keep you busy. Hope the cooking and other survival things are going well...

Rikita said...

Hey Justin!
Sounds like you guys are having quite the experience over there!... From the surgeries to the arm-popping...
Don't worry I enjoyed reading that lengthy entry...
I hope everything is going well with you and my brother!!
-Rikita

Katie said...

Hey Justin!
Hope you guys are doing well over there in Kigoma. Think you'll make it up here to Arusha anytime this year?
Katie

ann said...

Hey Justin, great to read your epistle! If you have any problems with ADRA proposals, just let me know! :) Keep your attitude for enjoying life, makes it more fun...

Sheila May garrow said...

Dear Justin,
I loved reading what you wrote. Do not feel badly about the length. Those of us back here love to hear all the nitty, gritty details.I think that you guys will have an awesome year with memories that will last you a lifetime. I could not believe a guy having a circumcision at that age. Oh my goodness!!Never a dull moment, eh? And that is a good Canadian term. I am volunteering at RJA nearly every day. I love it. I still get to see all the kids and do all the fun stuff at school and then I get to go home and enjoy home. It has been great. Tell neil hi and have a great day. Love, Mrs. Garrow

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are getting life experiences is so many different areas. I wonder if you will want to spend more time doing some of this stuff by the end of the year - you know - being a surgeon or starting a contractor business. For sure you will have a titanium stomach! :)

caitlyn brianne said...

this was so awesome to read justin! lol i know how your stomach is with blood lol IV class! hehe i'm glad thats getting better, i would think it would have to considering! Well I'm praying for you and hope you have a great friday and Sabbath! God bless!!

Anonymous said...

Hola, Justin,
Jim and I are in Madrid Spain today and heading down toward Valencia tomorrow. We´ve been over here in France-Spain for almost 3 wks. It´s great to read your blog and Neal´s. God bless and happy Sabbath to you both. Vikki Hein

Anonymous said...

We are hoping you'll soon have a new blog entry to comment on - :)