Thursday, June 2, 2005

June 2, 2005

Sometimes I have to shake my head and wonder why I feel such a sense of disgust and frustration. In a completely different context I still ask myself “how can this seem OK”? In fact I oftentimes find myself in situations where I ask this same question and even laugh at the situation presented. The list continues to grow each and every day and the following are just a few of the latest this week in this soap opera I call life…

My very good friend is in her final year of professional nursing school and has just headed to the capital city to do her rotations in the public hospital. In her second day of work she is approached and told that she has to make some changes or will be asked to leave the job. She is a practicing Muslim and even studied previously for 5 years in Iran. At the hospital she is told that she cannot wear sleeves and must wear something up over her elbows. This is very much against her religion where she cannot have any skin exposed outside of her face and hands. She was told to leave and may now not graduate….. how can this be ok, I don’t know…but she is fighting the case.

An HIV positive baby that I see at clinic was brought in on Monday by his grandmother. Shortly thereafter, separately but yet fighting immediately, the parents walk in. The baby receives powdered milk by a USAID funded program for the first very critical 18 months of his life. The problem is that he has gotten nil of the intended milk, rather it is used or sold by the 14 odd people living in his home. At this very pivotal time in his life where he is clearly in need of sustenance, he is disregarded and we make the move to put him in the hospital under supervision. Let us hope his next chapter in life will get him out of the danger zone and his family some guidance and support. I look at his emaciated body and his eyes meet mine very distantly. I hope he can hang on.

Very soon after finishing teaching my morning classes for the day at school I see the children are being sent home. I wonder why, especially since it is a critical juncture for study for the national exams in the upcoming days. There has been no water and very little electricity in the area for the last couple of weeks and now is when it has been decided that picketing needs to be done. So knowledge and learning must take a back seat to this issue right now? A wonder….

I left the school the same day only to be quickly engulfed by a heavy, heavy downpour that blanketed the sky and was there to stay for a good spell. Upon taking cover, myself and many others caught were there to stay to wait it out. Within minutes the garbage and waste clogged drains began to back up and overflow into the streets and even into some businesses and homes. I crept further onto a cement block as cockroaches scurried out of the rain coming within inches of my feet, rats the size of some opossum scampered down the sidewalk to higher ground and garbage floated by. We were left to watch this scene unfold for nearly 2 hours until the heavy rain ceased to a drizzle.

So what can I say but that as I wake up each day I hope that changes will be made and progress will ensue. I am optimistic that the country moves forward amidst the times when all I can do to be positive is to simply shrug my shoulders and smile at these moments in this crazy and interesting place I call home. The soap opera that I am living is just that indeed, and I am amazed at how normal this chaos can seem. Let us just hope that as each week and months episodes unfold their plots that my book of “how can this seem OK” does not need a volume two!

Love, kristen