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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)

Never Just Another Day

sunny 73 °F

I started the morning with some bad omens: I saw a dead baby monkey, a dead baby snake, and then an entire flock of very angry monkey were bringing their fight straight towards me and I thought they were going to bring me into the fight (I was picturing the Hunger Games monkey attack scene the whole time).

Actually, the day ended up being pretty nice. It was actually…normal (?) or as normal as life gets in South Africa. I went to support group in the morning. We waited about an hour in a shed just talking to each other while the translator/local went and picked up all of the women. I didn’t mind because once project officially begins, the time can go pretty slowly, so having some time to talk with everyone was nice. Our topic at support group today was “gender equality”. We asked them to tell us expectations they have for males and females, then asked them how they’d feel if we switched the expectations between genders. Honestly, I think these women were already pretty progressive. They come to support group every week and have been going for years, so they are exposed to talking about topics that may typically be considered uncomfortable. I’m continuously impressed with the progress South Africa has made since becoming independent, which happened recently (1994). Every generation seems to be growing upon the progress that was previously made. It’s rapid and it’s impressive.

Afternoon was chill as well. We did a clinic session on healthy eating. Basically, we read an information sheet (one that was prepared during our planning session on Monday afternoon) and the translator read it to the patients in the waiting room. I always wonder what she is saying though :D because she seems to be saying a lot more words than we read. When we finished, we went to this roadside store called a “Tuck Stop”. They are scattered throughout the villages and sell pop, chips, candy, and this thing called a combo which is a sweet roll and chili fries (I know – kind of random). Unfortunately, I gave in and drank my entire water bottle during project, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer, so I used the porta potty. I just had to believe in myself because my legs were shaking as I squatted in the tiny, rusted, smelly john. The relief I felt was worth it, though.

Now I’m just waiting for dinner, which thankfully is something I can eat again (ground beef). Since being home from afternoon project, I went for a short walk, did some abs/stretching, and wrote some thank-you notes. After dinner I’m hoping for popcorn, movie, and doing some research on asking companies to donate goods for causes (I’m trying to compose an email to send to dental hygiene companies asking for toothbrushes that African Impact can give to children in preschools here). That’s about it for me! Veeeeery tired though.

Posted by kfkeane 09:35 Archived in South Africa Tagged food death expectations care volunteer session healthy preschool equality pride gender toothbrush omen Comments (3)

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