Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I am so so tired!
Have you ever been in a country where you knew just a little bit of the language? And you spent all day trying to communicate and trying to understand? And it took up all of your mental energy? And at the end of the day, regardless of how you spent your day, you are exhausted? That is how I feel now. Except that it is English I am speaking...And I have a translator for Swazi-speaking patients. But that is how big I feel the cultural divide is currently.

But alas, I have decided to dedicate a post to the positive things here:

1. It is raining tonight, despite the fact that it "never" rains here during the winter.

2. There is a wonderful woman who runs this hotel, named Coba. She mothers everyone from staff to visitors. She if effusive, energetic, friendly, and is always trilling about with her Afrikaans accent. When I get home from work, tired, and must finish up my reporting for the day (which I have to do in the hotel lobby because it is the only place my 3G card works here), she fusses over me and brings me coffee and tells me to take a break so that my eyes don't ignite.

3. The bed and breakfast we are staying at right now is beautiful and comfortable, and is suprisingly cheap because of the area we are in. The cooks, Sannie and Della, cook wonderful, DELICIOUS food with fresh ingredients. They made me a lunch today to take to work (I can't remember the last time someone packed me a lunch), and it was wonderful.

4. I have received great encouragement from friends and family via email, from those who have been in this program and those who haven't.

5. Upon arriving at work today, in a public hospital, I was greeted with the nurses singing the morning prayers with the patients before clinic got started. It was just about the most beautiful thing I have heard, and although it was in Swazi, I understood it. Maybe the emotion in the tone of it's deliverance, or the soul-rawness of it. At any rate, it was a moment of connection before starting my day.

6. I love the way the women carry their babies here. The babies are placed on their backs, legs wrapped around them (sort of like if you were giving a kid a piggy back ride), and they tie a blanket or shawl around the both of them to keep the baby in place. Not suprisingly, South Africans have the best adherence rate for slings for congenital hip dysplasia (because the way they carry them is sort of like that sling). Anyhow, today a mother came in for her treatment, with her one year old tied to her back. While we were talking to her, the child was playing peek-a-boo with me around his mother's shoulders and smiling an adorable smile. I asked the mom about him, and because of prenatal treatment, he did not convert, and is HIV-. An encouraging way to end the day!

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