Saturday, November 3, 2012
Na yesu n yete na n dosu (Hello family and friends)! My Waama (the local language spoken in Cotiakou) is coming along slowly, but as of now I’ve mastered the salutations and can say the basics. Everyone in the village gets super excited anytime I use any Waama though and are always eager to teach me every opportunity they get which is making it easier for me to pick up. I’m still not fluent enough to give any health counseling in Waama though which is frustrating sometimes. We’re very short of well trained staff at our health center (or even staff in general for that matter, I make up the seventh member of our health team at the entire center), and as a result everything tends to be chaotic, done erroneously, or not done at all. Recently I’ve been trying to help the clinic organize their baby weighings they are supposed to be doing weekly. When they do do the baby weighings they usually are not keeping records of them, recording it on a growth chart, or giving any health counseling to the mothers with malnourished children, so I have been trying to initiate all of that which has not been easy. This past week I had a mother with 3 month old twins come in whom were severerly malnourished. They were a mere 5.5 pounds and looked like living skeletons. Because she didn’t speak French, I was trying to get the other health center staff to talk to her and urge her to take her children to the hospital, that it was life or death at this point, though no one really took me seriously or gave this woman any advice and I don’t think she ended up taking any action as a result. It was really frustrating at the time and I actually found myself losing my patience and saying some things that were probably rude and inappropriate to the health staff but I still can’t wrap my head around why they didn’t seem more concerned about these babies. I’m sure it’s not that they don’t care but maybe just that they are so accustomed to seeing this kind of suffering that they become numb to it. I think it will take a lot of patience and understanding on my part and I haven’t exactly figured out how I will overcome many of the unmentioned problems of the health center as well, but it’s a work in progress. Overall, everyone at my health center is very happy to have me there and are more than willing to work with me in any way, so that’s nice to know that I have their support at least.
In general, I am continuing to love Cotiakou more and more every day that I am there. Of course I have those days where I’m feel like I’m dying of boredom, monotony, the intense heat, homesickeness, or just plain sickness, but I’ve been trying to remind myself more often of how lucky I am right now to be living my dream in one of the most beautiful places in the world with some of the most wonderful people. Just the other day I was taking a walk through the village and discovered this huge Baobab tree which I was just in awe of (and I would post a pic but of course my internet connection just hasn’t been fast enough. Next time though guys).
I’m keepin’ it short and sweet for now folks, but know that I’m continuing to do well and lovin’ life. À la prochaine! J