It's about itme

Trip Start Jan 02, 2009
Trip End Mar 22, 2009

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Flag of Sierra Leone  ,
Saturday, January 10, 2009

So I've been in Sierra Leone for a week now, and I'm just now getting around to creating a blog.  Better late than never.  It's ironic that I have time to do this today of all days, while I sit in the office with nothing to do, there is a nation wide yellow fever vaccination campaign taking place right outside our front door.  There is officially an outbreak, but I'm not too concerned, as I'm vaccinated, and because right now the "outbreak" has consisted of five cases.

I've been keeping quite busy this past week.  We had an entire day devoted to meeting various government officials.  To name a few I remember, there was: the Mayor, the Health Minister, a couple of provincial heads with titles I don't remember, the head of the local police battalion, the District Police Chief (who talked about stopping government corruption while palming his new i-Phone) and finally the local Paramount Chief (Paramount Chief is an interesting office in that one is elected to it for life, and only those of royal lineage in that particular chiefdom can be elected.  For example, in our Chiefdom, there are five families from which one could be elected.  I believe the office of President works the same way).  

We've also spent quite a bit of time setting up a garden for the ward, which is difficult, as we are in the heart of the dry season (which lasts until April).  Local dry season crops consist of: okra, corn, peppers, cassava (of which the root is eaten, but also the leaves), a type of eggplant, potato (also root and leaves), some various greens, and something called Krain Krain.  We are also attempting to grow some American cucumbers, squash, and melons, in an attempt to diversify the ward diet.  The women come out and help us, or rather take over whatever project we start, while poking fun at us because we are inept.  It seems everyone in this country knows how to farm, and we can't go a day without someone new coming up to and putting in their two cents on what we should be doing.  The soil is dry, but fertile, and after four days we already have a good crop of seedlings with the American plants.

I'm also preparing to begin teaching on Monday.  While all the nurses here are trained, it seems that no one here save for the doctors (there are only two) know CPR.  Infection is also a severe problem. I was told by the hospital Matron that every wound in the hospital was infected, mostly due to lack of sterile practices in the hospital.  the Matron wants to bring in live patents to demonstrate wound care on when I teach, which is good, but a bit intense.  She also wanted me to give her a phone number so she can call me if someone goes into arrest.  That way I could get a ride from the house to the hospital (about 10 minutes) and demonstrate CPR.  I told her I could do that, but I certainly wouldn't be showing her effective CPR.  As it turns out, the local medical college has a very nice trainer manikin, so I think I'd rather use that instead.  I will also be teaching classes at the college.

I believe that's all I will write for now.  Internet is spotty (so is power, and therefore running water) but I'll try and post as much as possible.  For now, it's time for a peanut butter and banana sandwich...
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stevenmahinske on

Sweet dude!
Sometimes I envy you so much man. BTW I just got everything packed away back here in the states and I'm moving up with Julian come January 16th. :) And bring me back a monkey's paw.

colemiester on

I regret to inform you that there are no zebras in west africa. There are pigmy hippos though, and our neighbor has a monkey. Glad to here your life is progressing, good luck on the job!

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