Sunday, May 9, 2004

May 29, 2004

There are often things that become routine that you hardly
think about over time. One of these is simply getting into
bed at night. As many of you take off all the decorative
pillows and things that adorn your bed, I let down my life
saver (mosquito net) and ensure that every corner is tucked
in tight. Then I quickly get under, lying for a few seconds
to see if any got in to feast on me for the night. I lay
there with the sounds of the world around me. It is almost
like a mini tent. You hear insects and birds and rain and
such at night and then wake up to the sheep baaaing and
chickens crowing in the backyard waiting to be let out to
wander the streets for the day. The house I stay at with
local family, as many are, have a space that separates the
roof from the walls of the house which makes for an easy
fly zone for birds, crawling little lizards and frogs, and
whatever else ventures in...hopefully not a snake! Also,
the windows are open with tilting panes of glass and bars
for safety. The house rooms are separated only by walls
that are partitioned with no ceiling, so it is open to the
roof. The roof is wood planks that are covered with
corrugated metal. I wake up to the white of the net and the
sounds of the outside floating in. This is how my morning
starts. I try to head out the door for a short run in the
morning where it would be rude not to say good morning and
make eye contact with everyone. Gets a bit tiresome, but is
customary at all times of the day. After getting cleaned
up, I am already sweating and this is how the workday
begins. I stop at the apple banana (the mini ones you see
in the grocery store that are so, so good off the tree)
lady for something to get me going along with some freshly
made passion, guava, pine, or mango juice from the produce
stand a little down the way on my walk. When I get to the
clinic, each day is very different depending on what day of
the week it is. I either get busy with seeing infants, get
my pregnant ladies ready for a education session and
prenatal exercises, take blood pressures and blood sugar
levels for my diabetic/hypertension clinic or pack
everything up for my boat ride up the river (but going
south). I went up the river the past two weeks twice to
both Muritaro and Mallali, and have really begun to gain
the respect of the people and started some programs for
them. I usually start the day by doing a talk and maybe
some exercises with the people who have paddled in for
clinic, get my physiotherapy patients lined up for
treatment, and then hike or paddle over to the school where
I do PE with the children. We have had to stop in for shut
ins on our way back up the river quite frequently as of
late. These are people that would not have any sort of
treatment if they hadn't flagged us down on the way in to
tell us to stop on our way home. They often thank us by
giving us some of the seasonal fruits that have just
rippened (many of which are very good and even a bit
strange, but I can't remember the names). With the rainy
season, the banks of the river have flooded out many of the
peoples docks and yards as it has risen over 6 feet. But,
as I mentioned previously, they are mostly all situated on
stilts, so it usually doesn't trouble the home. It is so
neat to see how the land and plants change with the season
"change". Things that were once there, are now under water,
some plants sprout beautiful flowers and yet others are now
bearing fruit. Speaking of fruits and such, many of you
have asked so much about recipes, so I am going to try to
put in some in my emails. The first will be for roti (a
flaky tortilla like food that is used many different ways).
The other will be for a pumpkin (here it looks like a huge
acorn squash), potato curry that can be rolled into the
roti. My time is almost done right now for limited internet
use, so I will start with the above in the next email.
Things continue well here...hope you are all enjoying the
spring in the states and getting your garden in.
love, kristen