burkina faso - day 1 & 2

We arrived in Ouagadougou around 9pm Sunday night. After collecting our bags (almost the last off the plane!), we found our welcome party and went to the house of our host Yacouba. He is the manager of the lab at the clinic.

We had drinks and snacks with Yacouba, his wife Pauline, Dr. Issa, Mathilde (Dr. Issa's sister-in-law and the cook), Dr. McCreary, and Annie.

John and I went to bed as quickly as we could, as we had to be up early Monday morning so the rest of us could see patients starting at 8am.

Monday we got up and headed to the house where Dr. McCreary and Annie are staying for a quick breakfast. Then we headed to the clinic. John made use of the Internet to prepare for his English classes and the rest of us set up and started seeing patients. We saw 64 patients between 8am and 12pm. We could have seen more, but it appears that word of our arrival spread far and we had several medical students and various other people coming to learn to do these screenings. While it is extremely important for us to teach so they can continue when we leave, it requires more planning and discussion than just showing up, as it is hard to maintain patient privacy when people are coming in and out. We were able to fix this for Tuesday and had a much better system.

Monday afternoon we had lunch and afternoon naps (everything shuts down from 12-3 because it is too hot to work). Then we went to Dr. Issa's house for dinner with some teachers from the school that his wife founded and the family of a doctor from Austria who has been very involved in the school.

Apparently is is a tradition in this part of the world for important people to make speeches, so the principle of the school, the mother of the doctor from Austria, Dr. McCreary, and Yacouba all made speeches before we ate.

After dinner, we returned to Yacouba's house where he and John shared a beer. Then he told us we had to take a bath (which involves someone heating buckets of water for us) before bed. They also brought us water this morning (Tuesday). I am bathing more here than I do at home!

Today we saw 70 patients in just under four hours. We were better organized, so it felt like less than the previous day. John went off the the boarding school for his classes, and since it is a holiday of some sort, he was the only teacher there. It turns out he had a good day and the kids love him! Yacouba said they told him that they want John to come back next year. Hopefully he will be able to help them learn sentence construction, he said they have a lot of vocabulary, but not a lot else.

I'm sure I have not done justice to what little I have experienced yet,as I am hot and tired and having a hard time thinking. Please ask questions if you have them!!!


Martha Rosenstein, FNP