Snuggly babies and Nkukus

Ahhh today was so fun! Clinic days are my favorite because it means…drum roll please…BABIES! Mothers are required to bring in their infants and babies once a month from birth until 18 months in order to get their weight and length checked to track nutritional goals. This means that everyday at the clinic starts with baby weighing, and today was no different. There were three people in my group, Lauren, Caleb, and myself, and since I had already participated in baby weighing once, I figured I probably wouldn’t get to again. However, the head nurse had us break up and go to three separate areas, and I ended up going to the baby area first. Today was my lucky day because it was the day assigned to newborns through 6 weeks old, and they were all super snuggly. Not a single one cried, in fact, most just stayed asleep through the entire ordeal.

My compatriots didn’t have the same baby experience when we rotated through the stations, and neither of them ended up weighing any babies. Instead they did data entry, so needless to say, I think Caleb was a little salty that he didn’t get some baby time. Oh well, better luck next time, right?

After baby weighing, I rotated in to sit with a clinician as he visited his patients, and it was a super interesting system they had going. Instead of patients being shown to separate rooms and having the doctor come to them like in the US’s healthcare system, all of the patients waited in a waiting area with a number card linked to their name after they had their vitals checked, and one by one they would file into the doctor’s office to be seen. While there, I think probably 4 of the 6 patients we saw were HIV positive, and it just hit home for me how prevalent this disease really is for these people, and how devastating it is, too.

Funny thing: as I was rotating to my next area, the doctor told me he needed to get my number before I left for the day. I tried to ask what for, but he just said he’d tell me later. Considering I was definitely wearing my wedding band, and he was wearing what I assumed was a wedding band, I was a little confused and definitely didn’t seek him out to give him my number afterwards. From the clinician’s office, I went to the front to take basic vitals for a few minutes before Benny came to pick us up.

Before we could leave though, we had to wait for Caleb to finish up with the clinician, and it was a PROCESS. But, we eventually got underway, picked up two more medical interns from their home based care visits, and got back just in time for lunch and project check ins at the LBP.

We scarfed down lunch and practically sprinted around to get the materials ready for our final workshop presentations. We were a little hesitant because today was an early out day for the students, and we weren’t going to get there until 1:15pm, which is when they were scheduled to get out. Luckily, when we arrived, most of the students were still there and wanted to stay for more workshops.

After going over some of our class specific questions, we rotated to another grade 8 class to present our workshops once more. This time went much more smoothly compared to the last go around, and I really think the kids enjoyed it, even if they were a little tuned out because they were hungry. I really enjoyed teaching these kids, and it was sad to have to say goodbye.

Returning from the workshops meant that Braydan and I naturally had to play more ping pong (we’re really mastering it at this point…) and send our best wishes with Lisa as she headed out to Madagascar. Realizing that the day was still young and the sun was blazing hot, we decided to make a trip to the gelato shop. I got peanut butter and chocolate and Braydan got chocolate and cookies and cream.

We relaxed on the day beds with our ice cream for a bit, and as I was reading a book on my phone, Nathan ran us saying that Audrey was looking for me. Y’all. I cannot express to you how excited I was in that moment. I literally leapt up and sprinted with no shoes to the front of the LBP where Audrey was. She said she was making a trip with some of the other girls to pick up their custom clothes and Nathan wanted to pick out his chicken for dinner on Sunday, and she wanted to know what needed to be fixed on my pants. I ran (again without shoes) up to my room for my pants (which had split in the back on Wednesday, mind you) sprinted back down, grabbed my shoes, and decided to go with them to Maramba Market. The taxi usually only seats four additional people, but we managed six with me sitting in the back, meaning the trunk. It was an experience for sure.

While the girls tried on their clothes, Audrey and Nathan and I went to buy his chicken, aka nkuku in Nyanjan. We found one, but it ended up being a dud becuase for some reason it kept throwing up water while we were carrying it around? Audrey was not happy about that one, so she brought us back to the stand and in the nicest but sternest way possible demanded a new chicken because Nathan’s chicken was clearly sick. It took some convincing, but I’ve learned that Audrey is a woman to be reckoned with, so the owners eventually traded the original chicken for a new one.

The ride home was even more interesting, because Nathan was banished to the trunk with me since the girls we were with did not approve of the purchasing of a chicken to kill and eat later (they’re vegetarians because they love animals, so you can imagine how well they took seeing the sick chicken) so the ride back was a little less enjoyable. Overall, it was an enjoyable time with Audrey though because she is such a fireball of personality and happiness. Even when she’s upset, she has a smile on her face, which is absolutely incredible and scary all at once haha

Upon returning, the group of us chowed down on dinner with the others, and after a bit of chatting, Braydan and I went upstairs to get ready for bed and to watch a movie. Honestly, it was just what we needed after a long week. Being one of now two married couples in a group of single young adults has been interesting for sure, but these little date nights away from the raucous of the late night parties both inside and outside the compound have reminded me how much I love and need my husband. He understands my need for quiet and peace away from people and stimulation, and we have found a happy solution in having our weekend date night away from home. Truly, it is wonderful being married to such a selfless and understanding person. I love him to bits and pieces 🙂

Well, that’s it for today. Tomorrow we head to Chobe bright and early and will be off the grid for a day or two, so I guess I’ll update when we get back. Until then, ¡adios!

-Gabrielle Bezzant

Author: Gabrielle Bezzant

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