Happy New Year to all of you! I hope we’ll stay in touch throughout this New Year. We don’t know what this year will bring, but I hope and pray it will be a good year.
The holiday season is over, so everything is back to normal. Well, what is ‘normal’ in Malawi? We are still facing huge problems here, and once in a while the thought crosses my mind; “will these problems ever been solved, will it ever get better?” But yes, it will get better eventually, but when? No one knows. And the best remedy is, stay positive and be patient.
Right now there is again hardly any petrol and diesel around, which of course causes a lot of problems. And if there are deliveries, the queues at the petrol stations are massive and it’s all chaotic. The black market is flourishing; you can find petrol there, but they sell petrol to you for 500-1000 kwacha per litre (2,50-5 euro per litre)!!!
Also since the beginning of the New Year we’ve had many power cuts and a couple water cuts. By now candle light (dinners) has lost his romantic atmoshere for me. Please leave the lights on where there is power! But I can coop with no petrol, I’ll walk. I can deal with powercuts, I’ll have my flash light ready and there is bread in the house in case we can’t cook. But water cuts…; you need drinking water, a shower would be nice after a day of sweating and hard working, cleaning the dishes might be nice, and clean clothes would be really appreciated. Life without water is really hard. Luckily enough the water cuts are normally not much longer than 12 hrs in a row, but sometimes repeated the next day.
Over the holiday season it was pretty quiet in the hospital. Of course accidents and emergencies never take time off, so there were a lot of broken bones and bowel problems. Three weeks into the New Year and it’s busy again as always! But, we have no facemasks, no sterile gloves, no soap, and are short of a lot of medicines. It sometimes really hit me, that I actually can’t do anything to make it better. And yet, these people also deserve good health care. Good health care is a right of everyone!
During the holiday season I hadn’t been to the communities to teach as it didn’t really work out with the ladies. But last Friday I went to the communities. It was very hot, right before the rains came on Saturday. Far too hot to be teaching in a community, but of course I went. This is what I’m called to do! When I arrived I found only half of the group was there. The other half had different reasons not to come. And we also had to wait another hour for people to arrive because there was some other thing going on in the community. I had prepared three topics for that afternoon, but as time was passing by, I decided I could do one topic. So, “Broken bones” was the topic for that afternoon. And it was great and fun. Because the communities are quite far from an health centre or hospital, it’s important for them to know more about broken bones; what to do and more important what not to do! We talked about signs, symptoms and the different bones you can break. And we practised splinting arms and legs. For splinting you don’t need expensive material; we used banana leaves, cardboard and strips of an old bed sheet. I got my arm splinted by one of the ladies. Fortunately she didn’t forget to check my pulse and my fingers… it was slightly too tight! So this week is easy preparing as I prepared the topics already for last week; snake bites and poisoning!