Monday, March 5, 2012
Monday morning rush hour in Lobosoit meant that we were tied up forever--waiting for herds of goats and cattle to amble across the road before we could get on with our business. By the second week we had our routine down pretty well--and so did the villagers who came to see us. They were neatly lined up, single file, outside the clinic when we arrived, instead of crowded together at the door for fear they would be overlooked. After yesterday's welcoming ceremonies, we were greeted with bashful smiles instead of solemn stares...and we started the week with a clean floor!
My fluent translator for the day was Julieth, a villager who was educated in Arusha and returned to the village with the goal of improving the lot of women there.
|Julieth and me|
She is organizing a women's group in hope of reversing the cultural taboo that prevents women from earning a living and supporting their children. The Masai consider their cattle to be a sign of status and wealth...so they grow their herds without reaping any benefit from them. She wants to teach the women to sell the milk, a "renewable resource", to a dairy affording them the opportunity to generate profit without endangering the herd. But...change comes slowly.
As the day went on, we were gratified to observe the relief and trust the patients felt about discussing their problems with three women...Julieth, Liz (one of our nurses) and me. We saw two women with infertility...one of them with heavy bleeding and two with pelvic pain. We taught them about STD's, their menstrual cycle, normal vs. worrisome pelvic pain, and how difficult it is to treat infertility. They were eager to talk and eager to learn.
Other patients included a woman with ringworm with a secondary infection whose baby was also infected, and a ten-month old with vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. This time, though, it just took a matter of minutes to mix up a container of electrolyte solution, and to teach the baby's mother how to administer it before they were on their way. The rest of the line-up included innumerable patients with coughs, chronic pain, rashes, and worms. No one complained of anxiety. No one presented with depression. None of the children had ADHD. Go figure.
Just as we finished up for the day, a tremendous storm struck...alerting us to the leaks in the roof! Our return to camp was delayed for over an hour.
The group from the music ministry arrived in camp having spent their first week traveling and performing in schools and churches in and around Arusha. Their arrival was also delayed when their van was mired in two feet of mud for over two hours along the way. Around the fire, they treated us to a spiritual that they sang in Swahili.
After a warm shower and supper, another storm moved through and then it rained gently all night long...so good for the crops, but so hard on campers! Everything was damp again. This, I think, is why God created sunshine.
"No one cares how much you know
until they know how much you care."