Disappointment in Sakubita

Welp Thursday was kind of a bust. After convincing Caleb to switch places with us for Thursday so we could visit our patients there one last time, we were disappointed to say the least when we finished in Sakubita. 

We started out the day optimistic and excited to train newbies on actual wounds, not just how to take blood pressures. However, upon arrival we were greeted by Benson and a caregiver we had never met before. Apparently, a tree had fallen on Benson’s house the night before and he had to go chop it up instead of going out with us. So still optimistic but a little sad to not be with Benson, we set off into Sakubita. 

Our trainees for the day were the CSU faculty member, Ellen, and another student named Sydney; the caregivers’ names that we were with was Lydia and Marie. We walked around Sakubita for most of the morning, but by the end of the day we only visited six patients. Why? Because the lady with the crocodile bite, the lady with the giant leg wound, and another patient weren’t home! Luckily the first two were at the clinic and hospital for wound reviews, but the third one I’m not sure where she was. Braydan and I were so disappointed because we really wanted to say goodbye to the two women in Sakubita who’s wounds we had been treating for most of our stay here. But alas, ‘twas not meant to be. 

Since so many patients weren’t home, we ended up finishing a little earlier than expected and went to wait at the stop for Andrew. After a few minutes, Andrew came pulling up and we drove away. However, the Linda team was in the van with us but they weren’t finished with all of their patients so we got to go help them with their last patient. Guys, there were eight of us, but pretty much everyone had a job since the wound was so bad. 

The man we visited was a patient we had been visiting regularly. He likely has leprosy but won’t go to the clinic to find out, and because of this he’s gotten infections on his feet that haven’t been cared for very well. The wounds are super infected, and recently one toe that was dead and looked like it was infected with gangrene just…fell off. Yeah, that apparently happens here not infrequently. He told us that he had gone to the clinic the day before and that they had knocked him out with some anesthetics and supposedly did something to treat the wound. However, when he unwrapped the already bloody and filthy bandages, it didn’t look like they had done anything besides redress the wound. 

It took quite a bit of time to even get the hospital bandage off because it had dried to the skin of his foot, but luckily with some coercion it finally came off. The smell before was bad, but once the covering was off it was nearly vomit inducing.  We let the interns take over for most of it because they needed the training, and honestly they did great. We had two people per foot, and runners to grab the equipment they needed. It was quite the sight and a lot of the neighbor kids came to check our what all of the Muzungus were up to. 

After getting the wounds cleaned and redressed (Ellen was so kind as I was teaching her how to wrap the wound so that the bandage wound stay on and she said it was like an art form that I had mastered) we scurried back to the backpackers, eager for lunch and to rest our legs. Once we finished eating, Braydan and I took at look at the afternoon schedule. 

We were kind of surprised to find that we were only scheduled for office time since we don’t have much left to do in the way of office work, but we didn’t complain. We took the time to do some laundry and make a trip to the Maramba market. At the market, we purchased more fabric so that I could get a backpack made to take back with us. From there, we took a hike up to the tourist market to pick up a painting we had commissioned and to look for some other figurines to complete Braydan’s animal figurine collection. 

We didn’t find any figurines because we looked at the time and realized we needed to book it back to the backpackers if we wanted any of the delicious BBQ dinner scheduled for that night. However, when we arrived the food was just being put on the grill, so we took the extra time to play some ping pong and look at videos of our puppy that my mom had sent us. 

Dinner was fantastic, and we sat outside for quite a while chitchatting with some of our coordinators and fellow interns. The mosquitos decided to make an appearance though, so after a bit we scurried upstairs to finish a movie we had started the night before and hit the sack. While we were bummed about Sakubita, the day wasn’t a complete wash, so we still felt blessed. Until tomorrow, ¡adios!

-Gabrielle Bezzant 

Author: Gabrielle Bezzant

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