A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about family

The Energy Is Off

Today has been kind of a blur. Someone else even commented on how the energy here has just been kind of weird. I think we are all feeling off because we only have a couple of days left so it’s hard to know how to feel. I also didn’t run today, and I always feel a little weird when I don’t. It was 3AM when I decided not to run. That’s when I woke up for about the 10th time because my roommates were talking. It’s been hard to sleep because one roommate has been sick since the start of week 2, this same roommate also has African Tick Fever which has given her hives. In order to relieve some of the discomfort from the hives, she turns the fan on, which makes my other roommate sneeze; therefore, my room is NOT a conducive space for sleep. I was a zombie when I woke up, and I was a bit annoyed because I physically wanted to run but was too mentally tired.

The good thing about my roommate having tick fever is that I was able to switch from Holiday Club to the Homeopathy Clinic (her morning project). This ended up being my first really positive experience at clinic. In this area, the homeopathy clinic is only open the last week of each month, so there was a huge line of people outside waiting for an appointment – there was even a woman taking advantage of the line and selling snacks/fruit. I took vitals on the people in line for about 3 hours. It was nice to be outside and the nurses were nice and accommodating. For example, I didn’t feel comfortable measuring respiration (manually) and the nurse nicely said just to do what I was comfortable with. It was nice to be in an environment where the nurses were patient and knew how to smile. I just asked our volunteer coordinator and apparently this clinic is run by private doctors who have clinics in their hometowns and come to Khula Village as volunteers. Patients pay a really small fee (like R5 – which $1 is ~R14.5) and are seen by Afrikaans doctors. Very interesting to me.

When I got home, I slept straight through lunch. I was so tired. Afternoon session was a clinic session, so we talked to patients about heart burn and indigestion. Honestly, I didn’t/still don’t know much about the topic. Afterwards, a patient asked our names, where we were from, and what our jobs were. I said I was in school to be a doctor and then he started asking questions about constipation and how to prevent it and also about alcohol and why it’s bad and how much he should drink in one month. My mind was running around trying to figure out how to answer them because everyone was looking at me (there was only me, another volunteer who is a linguistics major, and the translator). I was like no, please stop! At the end of each sentence, I tried to throw in “…but you should probably go to the clinic to know more.” He seemed satisfied, thankfully. We finished by sorting patient files which was honestly all my mind could handle at the time; I was so out of it.

Now I’m feeling a lot better, mentally, though. I think the nap helped and I don’t feel so weird about missing my run this morning. I facetime called my mom for about 10 minutes – jealous my family is going to my grandma’s today – then watched Lilo and Stich while doing rehab and sitting on a lacrosse ball to loosen up my hips. Dinna time now. I guess I’d say overall a pretty solid – if not very bizarre feeling – day.

Posted by kfkeane 09:02 Archived in South Africa Tagged family sleep run sick information volunteer session clinic bite tick homeopathy pulse vitals afrikaan respiration Comments (0)

Monkey See, Monkey Do

sunny 80 °F

Good Moooooorning San Francisco!! I thought of that on my walk this afternoon. I feel like I’m doing a daily broadcast with my blogs – love it! So this morning I ran again. I’m always anxious to run after a day off. It was actually kind of chilly – like I could see my breath! Something I realized while warming up for my run, though, was that I have a serious monkey/copy-cat. The girl I go running with follows me everywhere and does everything I do. I’m a very independent person who values her alone time, so this really bothers me. For example, before she met me, she said she ran at most 3x/week for about 2 miles; now she runs 6 days/week for about 4 miles. Also, she used to just hop out of bed and run, but now she has to do the exact. same. warmup exercises that I do. This morning, I also looked over and she was doing my ankle rehab exercises and I’m not sure she knows why she is doing any of the exercises in the first place except for that it’s what I’m doing. She also asks to go on walks with me after dinner because she knows I like to go for walks and go to the gym to stretch. There are some benefits, though. She made me a dinner without garlic and onions last weekend and made the layout for my journal calendar, so I didn’t even have to be creative; I just copied her design. I feel slightly guilty, but I get annoyed by having a shadow. I know she only has good intentions, though, which keeps me from saying anything.

Project-wise, in the morning I was at Holiday Club, which is basically day-care. We did about 45 minutes of songs, crafts, free play, and snack time. I later wrote some postcards to friends and family. After my run, I had spoken to the volunteer coordinator about the food continuing to have onions/garlic in it, so at lunch I was met with the beautiful surprise of *plain* chicken!!! It was so nice to eat a meal and know it was safe to eat. In the afternoon, I had gardening, which is my favorite project. I helped turn the dirt and then watered the plants after they were in the dirt. We created an entire garden from scratch for a family. My opinions about this volunteer organization’s work are starting to transform. I feel like this kind of work is actually beneficial; imagine how many gardens we could build for families in one year. This one garden took us less than 2 hours! I still have my doubts about some of the health-care volunteer work, but I think the garden work is really beneficial! Counting down the days to leave still. Twelve left after today.

Posted by kfkeane 11:14 Archived in South Africa Tagged food monkey garden family run weather chicken volunteer preschool copy gym countdown count_down Comments (3)

First Day in the Villages

(This post is from yesterday - 6/6/19 but wifi wasn't in the picture)

Hi guys, so while the WiFi is off at the Lodge, I may have trouble responding to comments :( I’m sorry. The worst part of being here is literally just how much I miss everyone. It’s such a new experience not being able to call someone at the touch of a button. I didn’t even take it for granted before; I just miss the luxury. Currently, my biggest challenge is looking at my watch, seeing the time back home, and wondering what everyone is doing or what I’d normally be doing. That really gets me, especially at night.

In other news, today was our first day of service work. We have two sessions: morning and afternoon. My morning session was at the clinic, but since we hadn’t had orientation, we read these premade informational sheets on “road safety” and “mental health” to the patients in the waiting room. We read in English while someone who works with African Impact (the group we are volunteering with) translated. My biggest worry was that we were forcing our volunteer work on them. Something I learned when preparing for this trip was that a lot of times volunteers come in to towns to “help” but never ask the people if the help they are providing is something they want/care about. I tried to put myself in their position and wondered if I’d appreciate two random people coming in and reading information sheets to me. They didn’t seem to care much about the road safety one, but they were really interested in mental health. Our translator said it was because it was a sickness, so they could treat it. The talks let them know that their feelings aren’t unique and can be helped by going to the doctor; mental health seems similar here as in the USA but in a separate context.

After lunch, my session was “family empowerment”. My partner and I went to a family’s house to play with the children. We made macaroni bracelets, played soccer, jump rope, and ring around the rosie, and painted nails – yes, I even got mine painted! The kids were so smart! They loved practicing counting in English and were so good at communicating with actions rather than words. I was very impressed. On the drive home, we all finally saw some hippos!!!! Finally!

My biggest takeaway from today is the speed of life in South Africa. Not the speed of day-to-day life, because that’s slower than molasses, but the speed at which people start having babies and die. I was talking with our translator and her daughter, who is 18, had to stop school a couple of years ago because she became pregnant. Also, I was showing her pictures of my parents and she asked, “Are they still with you?” and when I replied yes, she was surprised, but said “Oh, well I guess you are still young.” It was pretty eye opening to hear this first-hand.

Posted by kfkeane 13:25 Archived in South Africa Tagged village fun family volunteer south_africa service doctor wifi mental_health Comments (6)

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