Friday, August 6, 2010

Botswana hear a story?

The following is an excerpt from an email that I sent to my wife and son to update them on my goings-on in Gaborone, Botswana while on an away rotation at the Baylor pediatric AIDS clinic here.

The gushy stuff has been removed...if you've got a problem with that, then go get your own gushy person, and if you already have a gushy person, then:
1) You like gushy too much, and you need to live a live with a healthy balance of gushy, gore-y, heartwarming, inspiring, religious, scary, and happy
2) You have nothing better to do and are living in a house without internet connection, phone, cell phone, or other connection to the outside world other than if you set the alarm off for too long and the security guys come to make sure you are okay...
(oh wait, that's my house);
3) You have a psychiatric problem, and I'm going into pediatrics...sorry, you'll have to be referred to another physician-to-be...

Sorry no pictures as of now...the internet is WAAAAY to slow to try that in the current time allotted.

Without further ado, the first Botswana blog entry...and don't worry, I'm hooked, so there will be more:

Thursday, August 5, 2010 5:00 PM (GST: Gaborone Standard Time)

Hey babe!

Yes I'm sorry I wasn't able to get online before we left this morning.
I overslept a bit and when I got here I was supposed to meet a person
who I hadn't met before and didn't know I was coming so I had to wait
outside or risk missing the doc. I am so sorry!

Right now I am in the clinic using gmail and facebook on a clinic
computer because I came over here to skype you and found out that my
electrical plug doesn't fit the ones in the clinic (plus my battery
was literally telling me I had to plug it in or it would shut down).

Since you aren't on facebook, I am hoping that that means you aren't
online and that you slept in.

Today was a very good day. I was able to go on outreach to a small
local hospital in the town of Thamaga, Botswana. It's about 48
kilometers west of here. It was soooo tiny and very low tech other
than the computer they had to keep the records on (no otoscope, TINY
room (think 8' by 12' with 6 people in it at one time), and in a
building that I am sure would not survive any category of
hurricane:-P). It was in this tiny town and I saw goats, donkeys, and
cows on the side of the road just grazing away without any fence
(remember how the cops went crazy when that cow got out on I-10...they
would have gone BANANAS). We even had to slow down once on the
highway because a goat was crossing too slowly and was gonna get hit
by our car.

The clinic, though small, was fun, and I was literally a fly on the
wall for the majority of the time, as the Doc and nurses and patient
were all speaking Setswana and no English. Then once they finished
talking the doc turned to me and essentially said it was okay for me
to do an exam, which I did as best I could. Multiply that by about 20
times and that was our day. We left about 2:30 and came back to the
clinic, and now I'm here.

As far as last night goes, I pretty much laid low. I went to Mass and
met this nice guy from Kenya who told me he had been working here for
seven years but was out of work. Just as I was about to conclude that
he wanted money, he asked me if I would take his information and ask
around to see if there were any electrical engineering jobs in the
U.S. and that he wasn't asking for money, just for help if I could.
He was super nice and I'm sure I'll see him again at Mass.

Oh, and the "God is always present" moment from yesterday...right
after Mass the people stayed and prayed a Novena that lasted about 20
minutes. It was a Novena tooooooooooooooooooooo....



.....wait for it...

Now guess....







You're right! Our Lady of Perpetual Help [the feast day of our
anniversary]! It was awesome! And, it was super long...I was
trying to say evening prayer and so I stopped
for the was so super intense in its length that I almost
got upset because it was getting dark and I wanted to get to some
errands before the stores closed. In any case, it was a great novena
that I want to find.

After Mass/Novena/meeting Vincent the Electrical Engineer from Kenya,
I walked across the street to "Main Mall" and though nothing else was
open, the grocery store was! It took me a while to shop (you know how
I am) especially since it was in a store in Botswana. However, after
a few trips down the aisles, an encounter with a fresh loaf of white
bread and a self-service bread loaf slicer that was almost disastrous
(for the bread, not for me), and a return trip to the produce
department (which was literally about twenty feet long and ten feet
wide), I was set. So you have to understand, I spent sooo much effort going
throughout the store trying to not squish my bread in the basket. I
first off almost dropped the bread when trying to put in into the bag
after slicing it. Then after grabbing some noodles, some produce, and
a some cereal I readjusted tbe bag so that the bread would be on top.
Picture me with the basket on the floor of the back of the store,
taking things out and rearranging while trying ever so carefully not
to squish the fresh bread. In any case, after all this I go up to the
checkout and as the lady is checking me out the other lady puts the
bread into a bag with THE VEGETABLES! WHY?!!?! I was heartbroken.
However, after checking out I walked out of the store and assessed the
damage. The bread was actually fine, but I assure you it was being
eyed by those tomatoes and onions and it was not going to last long.
In any case, I stopped in the middle of this dark shopping area to
take the bread out, rearrange the milk and produce with one hand, and
then finally got to put my bread in next to my box of Corn Flakes,
safe and sound. Content, I began my journey and walked all the way
home with my two bags of groceries and my backpack on my back (I'd say
it was about a mile+-ish. It was a bit of a longer trek with so much
cargo, but I made it home without squishing the bread! And the milk
was still cold!

So after all of this, I put everything away and was thinking about
walking out to the Mall to see Inception. However, my roommate came
home and started talking to me about this terrible restaurant she had
been too, and by the time we finished talking it was only about 30
minutes till showtime. I thought it better anyway as I had had my
fill of walking for the night, so I told myself. Instead, I listened
to a bunch of Nickel Creek music and cooked some eggs from the store
(oh yeah! I didn't crack the fresh eggs either...go me!) with onions
and bell pepper and fresh unsquished white bread on the side. It was
yummy... Then I read a bit and was falling asleep on the couch so I
went to bed...:-)

Man, now that I think about it, I should have taken pictures of the
whole ordeal...I guess I probably would have needed a third hand
though...otherwise, the bread would have been squished for sure, and
you know how I feel about squished bread.:-)


That was some email. I hope you enjoyed my update of everything since
yesterday at lunch! I hope the length and detail makes up for my lack
of Skype-presence this morning. I love youand can't wait to
see you and John-Paul again. I don't know if I will be able to get
online later tonight, but tomorrow morning (12:30 AM your time) should
be a go if you would like. We can also just wait till you wake up on
Friday. Just let me know.

Also good news, I should be getting the cell phone tomorrow! Wahoo!
I love you and please pray for me so that I can do my best to be
giving and patient with the kiddos and loving toward the people here.
It's so easy to assume the worst about someone when you are in an
unfamiliar place and dont' know anyone. I've found that a simple
hello turns a person who I am afraid of into a friendly passer-by.

I love you and want to here about anything that is new with you
(though it need not be this long) and how to pray for you and
John-Paul! God bless you babe and baby!

In Christ,
Chris and Daddy.

P.S. Please forgive any typos, I decided to spend more time typing and
less time editing to enhance the detail of your reading experience.

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