Friday, March 11, 2011

Sights and sounds

Sights and sounds
GONG! GONG! GONG! The first morning I was here, I woke up at about 4:30 am to the sound of a gong being hit repeatedly. I had no idea what this sound was, and was concerned it was some sort of warning signal. After being afraid for a few minutes, I figured if it was some sort of emergency, Joe would have called or come over to my place to tell me. So I went back to sleep. It turns out this daily “song” is the call for villagers to come worship at the Baptist church across the street. This means that around 5am-5:30am, I am serenaded by the baptist church. It is beautiful singing...I just would prefer if it wasn’t at 5:30am. I suppose I should count it a blessing to wake up to praises to God. Then the sun comes up promptly at about 6 am. The sunrise and sunset are relatively short here, being so close to the equator. I have no idea what people are doing up at 6 am, but things are quite lively. I can hear people walking along the road, cars and motorbikes going past, and people walking past my house on their way to wherever it is they are going. After this point, it’s generally difficult to get back to sleep.
By 7am, it’s already warm outside (as in stuffy and uncomfortable to sleep anymore). In some ways this is nice, because there is no hot water, so it makes taking a cold shower comfortable and even enjoyable. I’ve decided to take my shower after breakfast, because I still enjoy drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, and I sweat through every delicious drop. 

So far after breakfast the day has been variable, as this week is for acclimating to Impfondo, life here, and the heat. Next week I will start to follow Joe or Stephan, the two other doctors here. Then my day will start at 7am, with chapel, morning report, and rounds. After that likely I will see outpatients. One day a week I will have an "alternative ministry day," which can be variable in what I do that day. Hopefully in coming months it means I can take a master's class to finish the four classes needed for my MPH.
Monday morning I went to the hospital for chapel, morning report, and a tour of the hospital grounds. Morning report was interesting...I am told it was all in French, but I couldn’t understand half of it. It could have been because they were mumbling…
The non-medical tour of the hospital was to show me the different wards (each has a separate building), administration, the workshop, the fuel shed, the housing, and a few other buildings. It was more focused on where everything is located than necessarily the function of things. The buildings are all spread out, as the campus was originally build as a communist youth camp. This will make being on call interesting and highlights the importance of a good flashlight. =) 

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