Tuesday, 19 April 2011

What I see...

What do you think when you walk down the street at home?  Do you notice what is around you?  Do you watch where you are walking or do you walk and keep focused on the task at hand?
This is what i see...

Here, you must keep your eyes on every step you take, watch for coming traffic, keep an eye on everyone walking with you, avoid bumping into people AND think about where you are heading.  If you take your eyes off the road for one minute you are likely to fall into the gapping drains and gutters on the side of the road.  They are most often full of sewage, garbage, you name it, it’s in there.  It sits in the gutter, a green, stagnant, bubbling pond.  And if you don’t watch your step, you may just fall in, like my friend I was walking with just last week.  She was watching the street and as a car drove straight towards me, she grabbed my arm to pull me out of the way and woops, off goes her balance and down went her leg, into the green sludgy pit.  GROSS!  Super funny though!

So yes, watch out for coming cars.  The streets are so crowded that the cars drive no matter how many people are blocking their way and the people move.  The people set up their stalls so close to the edge of the road that they often have to move them aside for an oncoming truck to past through.
The people are also often carrying large loads on their heads.  So you must look out.
Not only are you watching for all these things but the things you are seeing sold on the streets are catching your eyes.  Colourful fabric or clothes from all over the world are sold, mostly second-hand and displayed on racks on the walls.  Almost anything you can imagine is sold at the street stalls, including big wall clocks with pictures of Jesus on them, power-point adapters, bright torches, piles and piles of shoes, stacks of products for personal hygiene and packaged food.   There are popcorn machines where you can buy sweet or salty popcorn for 500Le each (only about 12c).  There are some soft serve ice-cream machines- often so soft the ice-cream is dripping out!  I also love to buy the peanuts on the street, carried on a platter on top of a lady’s head.  The different scoop sizes cost different amounts.  You can buy the African version of peanut brittle or sesame seed snaps, even something close to a doughnut.
There are a few supermarkets in Freetown that stock mostly British goods.  During one visit, much to my delight, I found Bundaberg ginger beer!

My feet turn African when I walk the streets.  I love to see the colours, the noise, the people hustling around me, the odd things they sell in their stalls, the children playing, the babies being carried on their mama’s backs, the warmth of the air, the interesting buildings and houses people live in.  It is a whole different world from the one I grew up in and I love it!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Cushions make me happy

It has been a while since I last blogged.  Since then, I have worked, worked and worked some more.  Then I caught one of the many bugs being passed around the ship and spent my two days off recovering from a vomiting bug.  Then back to work again and 52 work hours and 5 days later I’m now on a day off!  At home, maybe I would have been complaining about the amount of work hours.  Here, things are different.  I do feel like I haven’t seen some people all week and on the ship, that is definitely a long time!  Each day on the ship, for me, feels like a week of life at home.
The ward is definitely busier than this now!
As for work, I think I mentioned previously that I have a new role since my last stay on the ship.  This year I have been asked to work as a charge nurse.  This means that I am charge over the ward I am assigned for that shift.  I help the nurses working by answering their questions, liaising with Drs and the specialty team leader, delegating tasks and overseeing the translators in the ward, updating the patient census with specific care for each patient and allocating nurses their patients for the oncoming shifts.  It has been a big shift in job roles for me, not really doing hands on care for the patients anymore.  I do miss it, but I grab a cuddle here and there from the kids walking around the ward.
I still find special moments each day that warm my soul.  At the moment we have two caregiver’s children, both about 2 years old, walking around the ward amusing themselves while their sisters heal from their surgeries.  One of them in particular is just so gorgeous I had to make friends with her!  She took a few days to warm to me and still she was cautious.  But finally I told her through a translator I wanted to be her friend and with some encouragement from her mama she walked over to the bed and grabbed a piece of cloth.  As she walked to me holding it, the translator explained to me that this gorgeous little girl was tired and wanted me, her new friend, to carry her on my back while she rested.  I was overjoyed!  And of course carried her around for as long as I could manage!  From then on, she has been my little friend, often bringing me the blocks she is playing with to my desk, one by one.  She even gave me a bunch of fake flowers!  They are proudly sitting in the pencil pot on the desk next to my computer.
I have been so blessed this year to live in a four berth cabin.  I live with 3 other amazing women and am excited about the time we will get to spend together over this year.  The other amazing things about our cabin are that we have a window (YAY!!!! ) and a lovely big room in the back, with a big pile of cushions!  It’s a great place to hang out in the evenings with friends.  I also love to sit there with a cup of tea in the morning, eat breakfast and read my bible.  We even have a working fridge now!  I am so blessed!
I know that right now I am exactly where God wants me to be and I feel so content.  I don’t think there could be a better place to be :)


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