October 8, 2009 The mosquito net is hung, our digestive tracts are learning to coexist with African organisms, shared use of a motorcycle has been arranged, a bicycle purchased; we are starting to get settled in. Yesterday was a hot and sticky day, we were bathed in sweat by 10:00 am and the bath continued all day. The rainy season this year started late and is lasting over a month longer than usual, hence the unusually intense humidity. And also insects! Last night a huge dragonfly-like insect tried to carry off my piece of bread as we were eating dinner outside, it was the most amazing thing! I screeched and waved my arms, David laughedloud and long. There are also some enormous spiders, not poisonous we are told, who look like they could eat a small bird. In the middle of the night there was an impressive thunderstorm, complete with crashing thunder, lightning, and several hours of heavy rain. Today is cloudy and cooler (80’s) with what feels like 100% humidity. Due to the storminess and rains, we have been without electricity about ½ the time and it is difficult getting our laundry to dry! The long duration of rainy season also means that mosquitoes, and malaria, are rampant. Due to illnesses many things are delayed, meetings postponed, transportation sporadic as we try to get started on the school feeding program and some student scholarships.
There a several signs of modern progress in the area. Important to us, but not to most locals, is the advent of high speed internet in Bolga. It makes a huge difference in posting to the website or checking our bank balance, things that use to take many minutes to download. And, it’s about 10 times faster just to download and read an email when compared to before. Anothersign of progress is a small medical lab at the clinic. All malaria and typhoid cases are now confirmed by lab tests (that is if the electricity is on so the equipment can be operated.) In the remodel of a building for the lab, I managed to acquire a treatment room for chiropractic cases. This gives me much greater availability for seeing patients.
My other primary role at the clinic this time will be in the “Nutrition Center.” So many children’s health problems in this area are due to under-nutrition starting at a very young age. The Nutrition Center focuses on mothers and their very young children. A particularly vulnerable time for rural children is the transition from brest feeding to solid food. Many children lose weight in this transition due to unpredictability of the food supply in most households.