This week Steph and I were in Limulunga, which is located about 16 kilometers outside of town. It was a lucky morning because we found a 3 pin cab to the clinic (like 60 cents). It was also probably the quickest cab ride we've had since we arrived here, I had almost forgot what it feels like to go fast (most of our cab drivers don't drive over 40km/h!). We worked in the Out Patient Department at the Limulunga Rural Health Clinic. There we assisted the clinic's nurse Edith with triaging, diagnosing, deciding prescriptions and follow-up education. Monday was a day almost completely dedicated to Malaria. Everyone who walked in presented with fever, coughing, loss of appetite, night sweats, and headache. By the end of the day we were experts in diagnosing and prescribing. In the last hour of our day, Steph and I went with Edith to help admit a sick patient to the female ward (which is just a 3 bed room). It was a very sad admission because this patient was severely dehydrated and was unable to hold down any fluids. When she was unable to be cannulated (IV initiation) with the equipment present at the clinic Steph and I advocated that it was necessary for her to travel to the Lewinika General Hospital so that she could receive adequate care. After a long debate with the family, we were not successful in convincing them to take her to the hospital and she died the next morning. We found the families excuses and priorities very upsetting, but I guess we just don't completely understand their cultural beliefs.
On Tuesday (Valentine's Day!) Steph and I went to a preschool in Limulunga and taught parents basic first aid. We taught wound and burn care, care of fractures, sprains, and bruises, what to do when someone is drowning (they really liked throwing the rope and getting to the ground to pull the victim to shore!), what to do when someone is choking and the importance of oral and personal hygiene. The parents were eager to learn and seemed satisfied with the knowledge they gained from us. An example of this was a grandmother raising her hand to thank us for being there because she now knows how to properly treat burns (she was cracking a raw egg on them previously). For our Valentine's Day we celebrated by going down to the harbour market to shop (always!) and out for dinner at Nalumba 2. The market was really fun, there was a youth dance concert going on and some of the young girls were shaking it like crazy! At dinner we ordered a couple bottles of wine to celebrate the day and the server looked at us like we were insane, I'm guessing people don't order wine often here.
Wednesday we went to immigration, which surprisingly went very smoothly. The commissioner was telling all of us that he was going to take us in a boat and throw us in the Zambezi River, so fortunately we're all still here.
Thursday after work Steph and I taught nutrition at the Liyoyelo Orphanage in Limulunga. Although we were told that they "really wanted to have this topic presented", they weren't too interested in the topic. Since the nutritional talk was pretty dry, I'm really glad we stayed to dance with them after. It showed all of the kids in a new light. Steph and I also received a lot of "friend requests" from the kids, not on Facebook, but tiny pieces of paper which we have both kept. After the orphange we walked to the Lozi King's Limulunga Palace, we can definitely see why he prefers this palace, it's much bigger than his flood plain palace. While we were there we stopped in the museum. It was an interesting assortment of historical paraphernalia, our favourite being the cooking pot "to cook human flesh" and the amulet "for winning court cases and also for sympathy from opponents." While at the museum we heard music coming from behind the building, when we went back there it was a sand pit surrounded by wooded planks with women dancing to tribal drums. We definitely got to see Barotse culture at it's finest.
On our final day in Limulunga we gave our nurse Edith a thank you gift for being so wonderful to us. Although she was the only worker in the clinic, had a woman in labour and at least 60 patients waiting to be seen her only response was "I am so happy!" and she kissed the gifts. It's safe to say that we now have a Zambian pen-pal.
We're super excited to head off to Livingstone next week, but really sad to leave the house that has now become our home.
Talk to you soon!
Melissa and Steph