Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"TIA"



     The past few weeks have been nothing short of amazing, among other things. When we first decided to go to Africa we knew it would be a life changing trip, but little did we really know of what to expect. Of course we have all heard stories or seen pictures of what Africa is, but nothing compares to being here completely immersed in a new and unique way of life.
     At first it was intimidating being here, and it was difficult to get used to being the minority in a new country. Things here are so very different is so many ways that we have a saying for when things go astray: “TIA” (meaning ‘this is Africa’). One good example of a ‘TIA’ moment was our bus trip out to Mukambi safari this weekend. We had just left our place and no more than 5 minutes later the bus was pulled over getting gas and changing a tire! About an hour later we were back on the road again. These little bumps along the way are just something we have come to expect here, and when they happen we look at each other and say “TIA”!
     However, day by day life here is becoming more natural. Everything here is at a much slower pace, we call this African time! Although different than what we are used to there is something so peaceful and relaxing about living life in the moment. Life at home is full of rushing around and getting all your tasks done on time it seems. Here we enjoy the smaller things, like watching the sunset with a glass of wine or sitting around the barbeque with a group of friends, with no place to go and all the time in the world.
     This is not to say that everything here is wonderful, in fact it is quite the opposite at times. There have been many times where we have wished we were back in Canada; whether it was for personal reasons or simply wishing we had the clinical resources of back home. Nursing here is challenging in a whole new way. The few resources they do have are often not exactly what you need or are difficult to use. Something as simple as taking vital signs can take an extremely long time to do because the equipment is so old and worn. Critical thinking comes in very handy here, and we are thankful we had such a great education that was able to teach us the skills we needed for this.
     This past week we were on the post natal ward (sorry this blog is posted so late!). We helped care for new moms and their babies. We got to look after two tiny 6 week old twins who had come in for weekly weights. We ended up admitting them to the ward because they had high temperatures, and they were diagnosed with sepsis. The mother is HIV positive and so we got the blood work ordered to see if these tiny babies are also infected with this devastating disease. We can’t help but feel sadness for these new lives that may be burdened with HIV from the innocent age of 6 weeks.
     Lastly, we really enjoyed our safari weekend! We did three game drives and saw many animals including elephants, hippos, zebra, and lions. The food was amazing and the shower were even hot!

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