Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let's Give This a Try

So, I've been trying to figure out a way to cram in 2 weeks of stories and photos into 1 post. I finally came up with a solution, which is, to not even try. So, I am going to do it over several posts and break it up into the countries that we were in (Mali, Munich, and Paris). There will be several Africa posts since we were there the majority of our time. Again, if any of you have any questions about the pictuers or Africa in general, please ask. Anyway, here we go.

This picture was taken inside one of the compounds (multiple families will live together). People will live with their parents/brothers/sisters in family groups. Also, each man can have up to 4 wives and they will all live together.

Everywhere you turned, there were children. They were usually caring for a child smaller than themselves and appeared very happy. I once saw a child no more than 3 years old with a newborn infant strapped to her back. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. It was actually very nerve wracking. I also could not get used to seeing small children (I mean small as in 2-3 years old) wandering unsupervised (except for mayby a slightly older sibling) and they were wandering even until dark.

This little girl was being treated by one of the local doctors and had Yellow Fever (one of the immunizations I was required to get). Sadly, she died only a few hour after this picture was taken.

This is Camisa. Oh my goodness. What do I say about Camisa. Camisa worked in the hospital washing the surgical instruments (just in the sink, I might add. Gross, I know.) Luckily, we performed AIDS tests on all of our patients and would not do surgery if they were positive. This is good because everyone (specifically, Camisa) would dig through our trash and take everything from used cleaning canisters to bloody surgical drapes. Every job has it's perks, right? She was seen carrying large boxes of trash home with her on her head. We also saw her grandchildren with a black sack of said bloody rags. Whatever she didn't want, she would then burn in a hole next to the hospital. It truly is a different world there.
This is post op where I performed my job duties. The sticks on the beds were for mosquito netting. I promise you that not only was this area very dirty, it was also very hot, stinky, and fully equipped with flies. The average daily temperature during our stay was around 95 degrees. Although this room had 2 small windows, they didn't open and so there was not much fresh air coming in. Needless to say, I didn't spend any more time than I had to in here.
I have plenty more pictures and for some reason I can only have 5 in each post. So, I will post at least daily if not more. Until then.


The Simmons Family said...

AMAZING! What an adventure... I can't wait to see more posts. One of our PICU nurses has done work in Africa a few times and she described the conditions almost exactly as you did. It breaks my heart... but at the same time, I am GRATEFUL we live where we do!!

The Hood's said...

So glad you made it home safe! What an exciting adventure for you! It definately is a whole different medical world than we live in! How blessed we are to live in the conditions that we do! We look forward to more pics and stories from you. Welcome back!

buddens said...

Wow! That is so cool that you got to do that! Not only to serve, but also to see how that part of the world truly lives. Can you imagine what they would think of a place like Goodwill or the DI where the used stuff was actually CLEAN?

Incidentally, when I add pictures, I can only at five at a time, but then you can add another group of five, and then another, and so on. My guess is it's not unique to my account, but who knows? It's worth a shot though!

Glad you're home safe!

Mark and Jamie said...

Allison - this is incredible. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see and hear more!

Katie said...

I love all of these posts. The pictures of the babies make me cry- I just want to scoop them up and kiss them. I can't believe how blessed we are. And, those people were so blessed to have you there. What an amazing experience.