Fridays really are the best, sometimes. Today we started off with my favorite, Saku Bita, with a new caregiver, Gilbert. We went to work bandaging up a 9-year-old boy who got in an accident with a bottle. He had a pretty nasty wound on his leg and a burn wound on his face. Easily cleaned and bandaged. Lucky for him, his dad is a caregiver at the hospital, so he should recover quickly. We were then off to visit another patient, when the boy’s dad chased us down and told us we had to go help him. We followed him for about 10 minutes and finally came across a brick-frame house with no roof. As we walked in, it was obvious that one of the women was in extreme amounts of pain. The other woman laid a tarp on the ground and the wounded women hobbled over. Slowly, she revealed the largest wound I’ve ever seen. Mind you, this was the first real wound our new volunteers, Sophie and Caleb have seen. I won’t go into much detail, but she apparently got in an accident with a pipe. we spent about 10 minutes trying to remove the previous bandages that the caregiver had placed. We then cleaned and dressed the wounds. Unfortunately, her leg could not be stitched, because of high risks of infection. Fortunately, it didn’t look very infected. Seriously though. I felt so inadequate in cleaning and dressing this wound. Anyone with a wound this large in the U.S. would be in the hospital for a few weeks, and would be pumped with morphine. It was crazy.
Anyway, the rest of the wounds paled in comparison to that one, but the women who was bitten by a crocodile showed great signs of healing. There were multiple locations that had new skin growing in. At this point, our caregiver, Gilbert had to leave us, so we spent the rest of our time wandering around, trying to find other patients we work with. We helped women with a nail wound (which was already well healed) and a man who burned his leg badly. When we finally walked the remainder of the way to the bus point. Our friend, Andrew, was very relieved to see us. He had heard that our caregiver left us and was VERY worried. Luckily, Elle and I know our way around, so everything went fine.
The rest of the day was pretty good! We had a traditional meal from Zambia. We ate Nshima, caterpillars, tiny fishes, and lots of traditional fruits and vegetables. It was actually really good! Well. . . except for the caterpillars and tiny fish. . . It was fun to eat with our hands. The rest of the day was spent in a cultural activity! We had different representatives who taught us about different cultural things. Audrey told us about customs and tribal things, we had a nurse who told us about the hospital, and then we had some boys play the drums and dance! It was fun. I think the most interesting thing I learned, was that the boys have a ritual when they are between 12 and 18. They go out into the bush for a few months and have various tribal rituals. It is highly secretive, but we do know that traditional circumcisions occur. Overall, it was a very good cultural activity.
We spent the rest of the evening watching movies, talking with family, and watching all the other volunteers get wildly drunk. It was quite the party! Anyway, we are really looking forward to tomorrow, Saturday, so we’ll let you know how it goes.