Jambo and hello from Africa! I am pretty much back to 100% today health wise, so that’s been good! I slept fairly well last night, so I think that really helped.
We had another moderate day at the clinic today with 13 total patients: 9 extractions, 1 filling, 3 cleanings (two of which needed add’l treatment, but they declined the other treatment today and opted for cleanings instead), 1 patient who has swelling due to poor oral hygiene, and 1 patient who needs a molar root canal. The patient who needs a molar root canal will return next week as apparently the next dentist has been here before and does molar root canals (more power to them….I’m not even going to attempt). The patient who had swelling due to poor oral hygiene seemed to have a hard time understanding that there was not anything wrong with her tooth other than poor hygiene—-we spent a long time talking about proper home care, regular visits, and flossing. After convincing her she didn’t need to have her tooth pulled, we gave her a cleaning, and again stressed better home care.
William has been assisting some this week since Grace is out on vacation. He’s actually a pretty good assistant, but I have to keep correcting him on what the correct tooth number is (your teeth all have a designated number, which is how we chart things). He often assumes if its the furthest back tooth, it’s automatically the wisdom tooth. Alot of times it is, but sometimes it’s not. He also gets tripped up if there’s a tooth missing. So everytime I say “What tooth #?” and he gives me an answer, I say “Are you sure?”. His response is “Ummm 50/50” haha In all seriousness though, he’s jumped right in when we’ve had a group of patients waiting, so that we can work more efficiently. We had a lot of younger patients today, and he seemed very intent on their ages. He kept trying to get me to guess their ages, and then he would tell me and tell me if they had kids or not. We had quite a few teenage parents today, but he said all of them were married. He seemed to think they were really young to have kids, and was shocked when they had more than one. I can’t say that I was all that shocked as it’s kind of apparent to me that the women in these societies, while a lot of them have jobs, their primary responsibility is to have children. He said they are better about not having such young brides (10-12 years old), but they do still have some as young as 14/15. I had to say “We have teenage brides and mothers back in the United States, so this isn’t surprising to me”. I think he was a little shocked that I WASN’T shocked. But since I am neither their priest nor their parent, I simply focused on addressing their dental needs. I left the young bride/mother worry for William to do.
The monkeys and baboons have really been at it today—fighting amongst themselves, fighting with each other, and just overall creating a ruckus. There’s not even anything in our trash pit today except dental gloves and masks, so I don’t know why they’re all wound up. Perhaps it’s just that kind of day for them. It also hasn’t rained today, and it didn’t look like it was going to before it got dark, so I was stuck with the warmer temps today. There wasn’t even really a breeze either, so it was a high sweat level kind of day. It’ll be a no bedding kind of night for sure.
My afternoon after clinic was once again pretty low key. I mostly did some internet research on a few things while the internet was cooperating well enough for me to do so. I also walked over to Siana Springs a little bit early for dinner so that I could walk around their camp. I hadn’t really walked around their property since I usually just go over for dinner and it is pretty much dark about the time I get over there. It’s actually a fairly large piece of property. It has something like 27 tents (if I counted them correctly) spread out over three different “branches” of the camp—bamboo, palm, and acacia. Most of the tents in each branch are fairly close to each other, so I can’t say that you’d have a lot of privacy, and if you had a neighbor who snored loudly, I’m sure you’d hear it. I couldn’t exactly look in the tents, so I couldn’t tell if they had a shower and bathroom in each—I saw no outside pipe system like the tent in the clinic area has, but they may have buried lines instead. For “camping” it seems pretty luxurious. There’s also a fairly decent looking pool. I don’t remember if I said in a previous post that they have a bar, but they do have a separate “full” bar. I’ve pretty much had nothing but water, so I cannot comment on the quality and assortment of liquor/wine/beer. Overall it appears to be a fairly nice tented camp, and the grounds are very pretty. William says they have poor management, so he’s not sure how they survive with all the other competition around, and I had kind of wondered that too since there have been very few guests while I’ve been here. It is nice to have it next to the clinic as a “perk” of volunteering here, and all the staff that I’ve encountered have been incredibly pleasant, so I hope they can find a way to survive.
Today was chapati day here at the clinic, so lunch was chapati and beans. NO RICE. It’s so far the only time I can recall that we don’t have rice. Well, that and my safari lunches. Dinner tonight was roasted pumpkin (ehhhh, I’m not much of a pumpkin person, but I gave it a go), cream of vegetable soup, rice, and toor dal. I skipped dessert. Toor dal is basically cooked, spiced beans, peas or lentils. The version I had used yellow split peas, which are actually more like lentils here. Toor dal is essentially an Indian dish from what Google has led me to believe, which would explain why it had a bit of a curry flavor. I honestly wasn’t all that hungry tonight and struggled to get through portions of each course. It’s also why I skipped dessert.
The rest of the evening was spent doing a little bit of pre-packing organization trying to make sure I’ve got all my stuff kind of in one central location at this point, and then did a bit of reading. I also reviewed the list of Oscar winners as clearly I missed it this year. Since I hadn’t really seen most of the nominated films, I have no real commentary on the matter. I did notice that this is the first year in quite some time that Disney or Pixar didn’t win best Animated Film. Kansas didn’t win the Big 12 men’s basketball title, Disney/Pixar didn’t win…..never leave the country during February is the clear take away message here. Because both of those are connected to my geographical location.
I do believe that is all I have to report for today. I’m getting sad knowing my time here is coming to a close, but I am also getting very excited to be back home with friends and family and Dr. Pepper (and considerably less rice on a daily basis). Only a few more posts left to do here on this blog! Thanks for hanging with me this long, and come check in tomorrow!