|I'm the one with the purple shirt, just so there's no confusion.|
Words cannot truly describe this place. Those who have been here will understand.
I could write about the amazing staff and people that work here at the Tsiko Hospital. They are truly wonderful, caring people that want to give the best care (and friendship) possible. They are also very gifted and talented medical professionals who all perform at a very high level in a somewhat rustic setting, at least by North American standards.
|Here Dr. Kueler (white shirt), Dr. Miller (green scrubs) and OR nurse Bethany Klutz pray with the mother of a young baby while doing rounds.|
I could write about the work to be done maintaining the grounds and the buildings. Nate and I installed an AC unit for a very pregnant nurse and her family. (Her husband is a nurse here, as well) There is a grounds crew that is constantly raking and burning fallen leaves and tall grasses, to keep incidents like the green mamba one - see the blog post from a couple of days ago - from happening more frequently. John Teusink and his crew have a list a mile long of projects to be tackled, both big and small. Maybe several lists.
I could write about the fresh fruit and veggies in the market - oh, the pineapple is FANTASTIC! - or the smells and sounds of the people and animals and the dust and smoke. It's so hard to capture 'dirt' and 'dust' and put it in a blog. Equally tough is the squawking of chickens and roosters, the bleating of sheep and small, stocky goats. The booming of what appears to be pop music "Togo Style" from the odd vendor's stall, the raspy note of small engined motos weaving in and out of the mess of people, potholes and displays can't translate into words.
I can tell you the rules of the road however: The bigger the vehicle, the more rights you have! Motos are a step up from pedestrians and bicycles, who pretty much just fend for their lives! A small car - think Toyota Corolla sized - just beeps the horn to get the moto to move over so they can pass on smooth roads. Small vans and SUVs have the same privilege. A beep of the horn forgives many sins!
A large truck, like a flatbed or stake truck gets a wide berth. They get to cross narrow bridges without having to wait for oncoming traffic, likely because the brakes are sketchy! Likely no working horn, either!
Any vehicle with red license plates trumps all of the above, they are likely government or NGO vehicles. A blue license plate pretty much is the ultimate in power and authority. Accident? Hit a pedestrian?? Maybe kill a goat?? They just keep driving.
These 'rules' can all be very intimidating and confusing, but after a couple of hours on the roads it makes perfect sense. The African way.
|I asked Pirico, one of the hospital drivers, if he knew the roads like the back of his hand. |
"No, my friend... like the front, so when I cover my eyes I know where I'm going!"
Perfect. He's actually really good!
I could tell you about the amazing beauty of this wild, powerful country. The colours of the reddish clay against vibrant greens of the plants, the sounds of the crickets and bats chirping and calling outside at night all are hard to grasp without living it for a few days. The harsh climate - for a white guy who left Canada in the dead of winter - and the hardy people that make a living here. The smiles of the children, chanting and dancing when they see a truck full of yovo (white people). The giggles and laughs when we sing back to them from the windows as we slowly go by...
|These little guys were singing and dancing and hitting their pail and bucket with sticks as we turned the truck around in the lane way. They laughed and ran away as we sang and waved back. Super cute!|
I could tell you all of these things, share dozens of stories of Coku (mon frere noir), cool double hernia surgeries I was part of, hiking in a torrential downpour in the dry season, shopping in a foreign market, speaking French, English, Ewe' (pronounced evay, the second most popular language behind French), and hearing a dozen more tribal languages... but there's nothing like experiencing it for yourself.
I'm off to eat some fresh baked bread, some pineapple and then have some Fan Ice ice cream!!
I'm dialling up MY Africa!