Bahai beach

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bahai Beach 5

Bahai Beach 5

Mission chicken is about to succeed. I have decided to start up a chicken farm. After searching the local markets and considering the prices of an egg (about one $) calculations showed that it would be more fun to keep some hens. Sunday I am building a little house for them and Monday they shall move in. Names are being assessed and high on the list are the following: Jedada (Arabic for chicken) and the Sara, Goran and Zagawa names for a hen. Some people tell me I need a rooster as well otherwise there shall be no eggs. Well we shall see. In case it is required I shall distribute earplugs to the other expats before they strangle my rooster. The market is my place to chill out. And I have found jawafa, a sweet local fruit, which is then made into a fruit shake. Also the sheesha (waterpipe) is still one of my favourites. Slowly slowly my Arabic skills are improving and even some Zagawa words are picked up left and right. Zagawa is the tribe that has been chased out of Sudan by the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed. On the othe side of the border things are heating up. There are more and more attacks on the local populations and humanitarian aid workers. Here in Chad there are always rumours of what may or may not happen. To illustrate the unpredictability of the Darfur conflict: Mini Minawi (Zagawa Sudanese Liberation Army) is now the third vice president of Sudan and is supported by George Bush et al as well. He was in Washington last week and until 1 month ago he was fighting GoS. Now the other rebel groups have turned on him. Our refugee community are mainly Mini Minawi followers. The camp I have visited 5 out of 6 days this week. And as I said last week it gives me energy to struggle through administrative battles as health incentive staff for 96 people and monthly reports (due Monday) about 16 pages. Luckily Sylvie the new health coordinator has arrived and she is great. Finally I have time to plan ahead instead of always be in the troubleshooting mode. Also our reproductive health doctor Joaquim (Burundian) has returned. But work has a natural tendency to be heaped upon our shoulders. UNHCR expects us (Sylvie, Joaquim or me) to chair the taskforce on HIV/AIDS for the region and camp. A brilliant challenge yet it has to fit in with all other ongoing business as cholera preparedness, clinical care, transfers to the hospital in Bahai, or by airplane to Abeche and N Djamena, clinical supervision, public health programs, teaching sessions, meetings, reporting, security awareness and all. In short a great way to learn how to multitask, prioritize, delegate and hand over. Fresh blood is coming into the program and it gives it a real boost. Also there is more of a work hard play hard atmosphere in the camp. Dr J likes his beers, dancing and music. And Sylvie is taking over the responsibilities I was covering as Acting Health Coordinator. Some good and some sad stories to tell as well. The sad story is a refugee arriving in Bahai hospital (25 kilometer from the camp) on Wednesday. Bravo Golf Julliet 39, my call sign went off and I was requested to come to the hospital immediately. A lady in labor had obstructed labor because her placenta was in the way of the delivery channel. While I was busy to arrange an evacuation by airplane she vomited once and collapsed. She died. If only she would have come two hours earlier she and her baby would have survived or if we had a surgeon (we = actually the Chadian Ministry of Health Bahai Hospital) on call. The good doctor however is now not on his post for 37 days. What ifs do not help. All I can wish for is that the job interviews we have next week will bring as a dedicated surgeon with a caring heart. It is well to be understood that living on the fringes of a desert are not first choice for many medical people. I am sure we will find one. Several applications have been sent as well for a laboratory technician. Both will increase the functionability of the hospital as well as save lives. The beautiful story was a 5 year old boy who drank pesticide. He was brought in respiratory failure and with brusque intervention we managed to pull him back. He left the clinic two days ago smiling and that just makes my week. And to top it all I had the good fortune to do a normal delivery a healthy baby girl in the new maternity clinic today. O yes it is raining I shall send some photos so you can see how urgent it was. The lake is empty and we truck water from the dam now (10 kilometers from the camp).

Let me stop here. I am still happy here and Yoda Pancho, my loggie mate is snoring to loud so I will have to take some of his ear plugs. He gave me a nick name as well: Dr Chewbaca. Me a Don Quixote to him or vice versa is unknown. Enigmatic paradox.

Take care,

Love and peace,


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