>Day 1

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Day 1: the “calm before the storm.”  I’m not sure I would have called it that other than that breakfast wasn’t until eight am and we had some free time in the afternoon.  We started out the morning at the local orphanage, hearing the kids sing, playing with them and providing vitamins, and doing check-ups on the children with complaints.  Mandie handed out vitamins and then helped take vital signs while I was the triage person.  I now understand the difficulty in eliciting information from a child who does not speak English and thinks a fever is the same thing as malaria.  After lunch we went on a tour of the local hospital.  Dismal and primitive are the two words that come into mind.  After walking through the maternity ward where women were lying on dirty mattresses recovering from labor, Mandie and I chose not to walk through the other wards gawking at the patients.  While we agree that it’s important to see the state of the health care conditions, we realize that we’ll have plenty of chances come August to be in the hospital and did not want to be two more white faces staring at the misery.
(Mandie writing now)  During the free time, we walked through part of the town with Josh, the photographer, and saw the site for the clinic and the house that is being renovated for Michael and Amanda, the couple overseeing the building of the hospital. This is also the neighborhood where our house will potentially be, so we took some pictures and smiled at our future neighbors and tried to imagine walking down those red dirt roads every day. It seems like a good town to live in. There’s not much that looks familiar, or even comfortable, but the people are warm (well, at least the women and children are) and there is a lot of lush vegetation…and electricity and plumbing…so what could there be to complain about?
After walking around, we came back to the hotel for dinner and evening announcements, etc. What was supposed to be an early night turned into a 4 (and inappropriately named) hour pill-packing “party”. It was not a party. We counted out and bagged packs of 40 multi vitamins, Tylenol, and ibuprofen, while a few people filled prescriptions from the orphanage this morning. At 10:30, we decided to call it quits. Tomorrow we eat breakfast at 6:30 and the few of us who signed up for registration will leave at 7:30. It will be our first real clinic day and everyone is excited to see how it goes and what we see…

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