Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Video Night

I have been trying to get pictures to post for the past few days. These are the only two I can get to work. A few of us went to a village to visit a two day old baby and we passed this cute kid on our walk out.

Beading day on the ward. Now all the women want to do is make necklaces.

It's Tuesday night. My favorite night of the week. It's video night in the village. Last week I shared my skittles. Tonight I'm hoping the popcorn is ready. The cooks add sugar to it so it's a bit more like kettle corn. Last week at movie night I got to hold a 40 day old baby through most of it. It made me want one. She was ADORABLE. Really. Her mom was a patient on the ward with an RVF. I barely missed being soaked. When I gave the baby to my boss Hauwa, she got peed on. Not just peed on, but it went through the top of her skirt and all the way through the other side. Maybe that's too much information, but the baby was cute. The baby and her mom have been discharged so it's just the stars, a movie and the patients tonight. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back At It

I love finally feeling like we are in a routine here and things are moving forward. We did not reopen the hospital as quickly as we had hoped we would after hot break. When I arrived back in Niamey after visiting Togo, I had to return to the states before I even made it back to my home here in Niger. I had some issues I needed to take care of and as soon as everything was sorted and ok, I was back on a plane here as quick as I could. An hour after I walked into my house I was in a meeting to talk about interviews which were starting the next morning. Two completely full days of interviews for nurses, guards, gardeners, drivers, cleaners and cooks. After the nurses, my favorite interviews to do were the ones for the guards. To ask the question: what do you prefer to use while you are guarding, a sword or a sling shot, could not be done with a straight face! We hired some great people and my nurses have really impressed me. It has been a real blessing to have picked the ones we have!

July 2 we started surgeries. This month we have done close to 35 surgeries and have had a constant flow of women. It has been a lot of work opening and training the new nurses at the same time, but just about one month in and we have a good rhythm going. The nurses are learning, women are getting their surgeries, we have been able to do more intense surgeries this month than we have before, and the rains have brought greenery! Everything is turning from brown to green and I love it! We have also had another Danja dance party with a full on band where the patients come out to dance, the workers and patients from the leprosy hospital do as well, and we dance together in a large circle under the stars.

Back to the women... we have had some incredible cases come through this month. One young girl came in after having multiple surgeries at another hospital, and although she had a VVF she was also in a lot of pain because she had urine leaking from a hole in her thigh. She looked no older than twenty and would walk around in pain. She knew a few words in English and when I would walk into the ward in the morning I would hear her say good morning in a slow, intentional way. LOVED it. She has had her surgery and she no longer has urine leaking from her thigh. On Thursday about ten women left and I was honestly really sad to see them go. Another older woman, when she was seen in the clinic on the day she left, before she walked through the door she went over to Dr I, then to me and kept saying thank you over and over as she rubbed down our arms and legs. She was beautiful.

This afternoon Ashley and I had our first weekly craft time in the ward. When I was home my parents gave me a suitcase full of craft supplies, mostly beads. It was a great gift for the women. They all made necklaces and earrings. We have another young girl on the ward who is extremely hard of hearing. If you put your mouth right next to her ear and yell, she can hear you. During craft time today, she was sitting next to another patient who was having a hard time getting the beads on her string because she couldn’t see well. All the patients started laughing when they realized the patient who couldn’t see was talking to the one who couldn’t hear. The two of them stopped and looked at each other and laughed.

When I finally arrived back I had some friends here working. Cal and Anita who I know from Camp Lutherhaven. It was sad not being here when they arrived but we had a few weeks together anyway. Cal did an incredible amount of work during his time here. He built us a walkway from the village to the hospital so we can serve the patients food on the ward, started construction on the doctor’s house, was patient with us all as we daily have a growing list of maintenance issues…Anita had a gift for rolling cotton balls, coloring with the patients, and so much more. It was the first time friends from that side of the world merged on my life in Niger. They are already missed!