‘Palibe’ means ‘empty’, ‘pepani’ means ‘sorry’. These words are often heard here in Malawi. Since beginning of this week; ‘petrol palibe’ (no petrol)! Last night once again; ‘no power, pepani’. And also; ‘no water, pepani’.
Okay, I can deal with these things; it’s annoying but not life threatening.
But… also in the hospital the words ‘palibe’ and ‘pepani’ are often heard and strangely enough, easily said. No abdominal packs, no sutures, no fluids, no betadine, no new light bulbs, no 20ml syringes, no bladder syringes etc. Pepani. But since this morning we also ran out of pethidine and ketamine, 2 really important drugs in the Operating Theatre. Without these you can’t really do surgery under General Anesthesia. And so… we had to cancel all patients except the emergencies… That’s the frustrating reality in a Malawian hospital!
And often; ‘you want lunch?’ ‘Palibe…’. Pepani!