It’s hard to believe that my time here is near the end. I will go to the hospital tomorrow morning and Monday morning, then fly home Monday-Tuesday next week. While it seems crazy to come so far for such a “short” amount of time, it’s jam packed with work and heartache and passion.
I am really looking forward to tomorrow as a group of us head to the mountains for our gorilla trek on Sunday. We will spend about 2 hours driving to Volcanoes National Park, where we will spend the night in a hotel. We will get up early Sunday morning and climb for a few hours until we find gorillas (along with a guide and porters). We have an hour to observe the gorillas, then will head back down. I have heard so many stories about what an unforgettable experience it is.
Today I met a British gentleman who owns a company that makes anesthesia machines and CPAP equipment (for premature infants) for limited resource settings, like Africa and the Middle East. He had amazing stories about his equipment being used in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc. He told me about a hospital in Yemen where Doctors Without Borders was and using his equipment. The hospital was bombed and many of the staff were killed. His anesthesia machine survived and he offered to repair it, but DWB has decided to pull out of that area. The dedication that DWB has to providing medical care in these settings is without comparison.
I have been working on a project with several doctors in my group, looking at the benefit of teaching women about post-op care. Today we talked to several women to find out their impression of the education, and it was interesting to hear their thoughts. They are very invested in the success of their surgery, and want to know details about what is allowed when they go home. Most of these women are farmers and likely have a lot of responsibilities at home, so I wonder if/how their family will respect their need to recover for a bit.
Before coming here, I had seen photos of women carrying huge loads on their head, and now I have seen it in person. I tried to take a photo of a woman yesterday, but after buying some bananas from her, she declined a photo. Taking photos here is a bit tricky. I don’t want to be a rude tourist, and many people today actually walked up to me today and asked for a photo. But sometimes I just have to capture the image in my mind. I have been taking photos with my iPhone until today, when I took my big camera. I shared some really beautiful (and one tragic) photos–>.
I have been reading some of the US news while here, though trying to avoid diving in too deep. I am scared for our country. I console myself that we are still a very privileged country and we will survive no matter what.
And by the way, the mom and triplets were delivered today and looked great.