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The Final Countdown

sunny 73 °F

Since the safari, nothing has seemed that exciting. It’s the last week of projects, and I’m ready to leave. Although I feel sad when I think about leaving, I think it’s just a natural part of saying goodbye – especially since I’ve been here for almost a month, which is a pretty long period of time. Those feelings are already fading, though. I find myself half-present during projects. Like I’m there, but my mind is wandering. I keep thinking about going home on weekends to cuddle with my pups, eat grilled food from my dad, and go for family boat rides (I’m also really looking forward to running on terrain that isn’t only hills and hopefully sometime after 6:00AM).

So this final week of project, I was a little disappointed because I have Holiday Club (similar to daycare) twice: Monday and Wednesday. I definitely left Holiday Club on Monday with snot on my shirt and saliva on my arms/hands. I also held hands with children who had their hands touching private parts. I tried to trade my Wednesday Holiday Club session with someone else, even going as far as offering to buy a milkshake if they did so, but no one would trade me. It’s just not a hot commodity. Yesterday afternoon we also had planning, where I was in charge of planning the clinic information sessions for the week. I happened to learn a lot about sinus infections, gout, and HIV during/after pregnancy. Actually it was very interesting.

Today, I had a morning session of home-based care, which is basically where we go to people’s houses and take their blood pressure, clean wounds, provide clinic transfers, and give painkillers/laxatives/multivitamins. I had some good and bad takeaways. Bad: once again it didn’t seem like we did much. For example, we went to a man whose hands were shaking badly and he had reddish urine and was constipated. We took his blood pressure and gave him laxatives (which later his grandson came out and showed us an entire bag of unused laxatives he already had). The translator/woman from the village who examines the patients thought he had something wrong with his kidney, but what we did didn’t seem very helpful. The good part, though, was actually really cool! I loved travelling throughout the village and having these intimate appointments with the patients. The patients were all smiling and so talkative, which is polar opposite from the feelings/observations I had in the clinic. The whole atmosphere was different when the patient was seen within the home. This is something I would be interested in the future; perhaps I could be a doctor in a rural town who does home visits. It would be more personal, and I could build stronger relationships with the patients.

Well, I’m going to start getting ready for bed, but I’m still thinking about souvenirs for people. I have a couple of non-food items (I need more but I’m still not exactly sure what people want) and some food items (also need more because you can never have too many). I realized that since I haven’t gone out to eat at all, I have a lot of money for souvenirs, so it’s time for a shopping spree. Treated myself to a 1 Liter bottle of Coca-Cola for tonight with my extra money (oh wait, hahah just remembered I forgot to bring my money so someone else payed for it) and played a little Balderdash (kind of fun) but I think a game everyone should try is 30 seconds! So fun!! 5 days left. Single-digits baby!

Posted by kfkeane 12:06 Archived in South Africa Tagged children home travel village fun morning games money volunteer zulu pregnancy doctor program hiv infection kidney gout balderdash Comments (2)

Week 3 - Check!

sunny 80 °F

Today I decided to take a morning off running and stationary bike instead. My legs were feeling a bit sore and banged up, so I thought ‘why not?’. At the morning meeting during breakfast, I learned my roommates and I would be having another visitor in our room for our last week…none of us were too happy – quite the opposite. It just seems weird to have a 47-year-old woman move in with a group of college students. Now we have 7 girls sharing one shower, so fingers crossed everything works out.

My first project today was my favorite: gardening! Yay! We built an entire garden, and then started raking dirt and picking up stones :D It sounds silly and looked silly, but the yard actually looked better when we had finished. Something funny was that we found like 10 marijuana plants on the property. I'd never seen one before. When we had finished, we took our gardening tools and a sugar cane (they grow everywhere so people are always eating them) and walked about 30 minutes to the highway to wait for the bus. It was really cool to walk through the villages because normally we are in the bus and only get out once we are at our project location. Across the street from where we were waiting for the bus was someone selling hand carved wooden bowls. They were gorgeous and I decided to buy one as a souvenir – of course I bartered for it! Ironically, the man I bought it from said he had remembered our project group from a clinic session we had previously given on vaginal thrush. I’m sure the topic is burned in his memory, as there were some graphic images included.

At lunch, I picked up what I hope was my last load of laundry while here. I think if worse comes to worst I will just hand wash anything else I may need. Afternoon project was Reading Club, which I honestly wasn’t too thrilled about because the projects that include children really drain me. Honestly, it was really fun, though – maybe that’s because only three girls came who were middle schoolers. When they came, they picked out some books and read out loud to us. Then they had some cookies and juice and left. It’s their holiday right now, so I feel like Reading Club is busier when school is in session. At this location, there is this HUGE storage tank just full of books. Unfortunately, the roof had rusted through and all of the books had been damaged by the rain. It was traumatizing to see such good books damp and mildewey. It reminded me of something that had happened to my family’s children’s books back home. Opening the trailer, a stench just hit us. We spent a lot of Reading Club taking out books and leaving them in the sun to dry.

Honestly, that was about all to my day. I got home and decided to run to the beach and back right before sunset (which was at 5:00PM since it’s the shortest day of the year today), ate dinner, and now am doing sudoku while Selma plays in the background. Tomorrow we go to our overnight safari and then only one week left!!

Posted by kfkeane 11:57 Archived in South Africa Tagged sunset home beach walk garden books safari run bike read volunteer movie souvenir sudoku Comments (0)

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