August 20, 2010 10:47 AM
Whew…week three in the clinic is DONE. As of right now I'm sitting in the Gaborone airport waiting for the now 2.5 hour delayed flight to Kasane/Chobe. In any case…now's as good a time as any to catch up on documenting the week.
Monday, August 16
Monday morning rolled around and I think I was about ready for some normalcy again. A day in the family clinic at the COE that was pretty uneventful did just the trick. We finished up seeing patients around one, and as we wrapped up Dr. Patel told me we would meet at 3 to discuss the powerpoint presentation for journal club. I had planned on going to Main Mall and one of the smaller grocery stores, but instead Dr. Patel suggested that I could probably make it to Riverwalk and back by 3.
A short walk home to empty my backpack and I was in the combi on my way. I am not sure how it works out, or why this is so, but Broadhurst Route #5 if supposed to go all the way down to Tlokweng Circle, where I stop to get out and walk the short distance remaining. Instead a couple of times, this time being one of them, it turns much earlier, and I, not sure where it is headed next and not wanting to lose myself in Gabarone, get out of the combi as soon as it makes the next stop. In any case, that means on Monday I was walking the rest of the way to Riverwalk, and it made it a bit of a time crunch. I was glad to go for a walk as it was a sunny day, but my time was dwindling quickly. After the trek, I came up to Riverwalk and its many stores content to go the the Pick 'n' Pay that I've been to plenty of times before. Instead I came upon a "Super Spar." Now the regular Spar that I've been to is nothing to write home about (even though I guess I did in my previous post "Botswana Hear a Story?" I figured I'd walk in and see what was so super about it.
AND IT WAS AWESOME! I walked in and felt like I was in an American supermarket. There was a produce section that I could not touch both ends of if I stretched out my hands, a bakery, etc etc etc. I walked around for a minute in wonder, though I didn't have much time to do so. In any case, I grabbed some of the staples (bread, milk, cereal, Coke Light (yes that's what they call it here…sounds better than Diet Coke doesn't it?)) and headed to the front of the store. I went through the line, paid for my groceries (and 3 cents or whatever nonsense they charge for plastic bags), and the lady sacked the groceries for me…
And where do you think she put the bread?
IN A BAG WITH THE MILK AND 1 KG SACK OF APPLES!
Seriously?!?!?! Now, friends, I don't know what it is about the people here. Maybe they like squished bread, maybe it's not included in the bag boy/girl training they receive, maybe they don't train their baggers, maybe they don't care… But doggone it in America we protect our bread and we're darn proud of it!!!
Horror! So of course, I thanked the lady as I grabbed the bags, walked about 20 feet away and around a corner, and of course stooped down onto the ground to save my bread and rearrange my groceries. Thankfully, the bread was not destroyed. On my way out, as I had on the way in, I noticed a woman at the front of the store (this lady worked for and in the store, it wasn't like she was standing outside) selling grilled cheeses and "Russian Hot Dogs" from a cart for like a buck fifty. Not having eaten breakfast, I didn't care what country was making the hot dog, it sounded great. So I asked for one. The lady pulls out this HUGE hot dog, really, it was more like the size of a banana, and places it on a long roll and tops it with what was called "tomato" but I could only describe as spicy ketchup. Hot dog in hand, I was out the door in a flash to catch a combi back to the clinic.
Now I want you to picture me, walking outside through the parking lot and along the road in the pleasant warm sun, with a backpack full of apples, a grocery bag hanging from each arm, and a delicious Russian hot dog as my portable lunch. It was delicious and wonderful, and I want you to know I was wearing a white shirt and didn't spill one drop of "tomato" on it as I walked to the combi stop. At that point, I decided it was a good day.
I quickly caught a combi and rode back to the house in the crowded van, backpack on my lap, groceries in front of me, and squished a bit such that I am pretty sure my knees we pressed up against what I could only identify, if I had to guess, as a trash bag full of unused condoms (ugh). I'd say "That's life" but well, it kinda is the opposite.
I dropped off my groceries and headed back to the clinic about ten after 3, and when we arrived we had another lecture on anti-retroviral treatment before meeting with Dr. Patel to talk over our slides. She was pleased with the presentation and just made some quick corrections and suggestions. Afterwards I stayed at the clinic to make the changes she suggested and to email the final product to her. Then it was time to head out before being locked inside the clinic.
I did head back to Riverwalk for the second time in the day to use the internet at Linga Longa (a restaurant and bar popular on weekends). I arrived just after 7, and unlike the night before when I arrived just around 9, it was BUSY. Since it was dinnertime, all of the tables were occupied. However, after standing around for a few minutes I just decided to walk myself over to one of the couches in the back of the restaurant where nobody was sitting and there were no tables around. Figuring that someone would come ask me what I wanted to order, I set to work accessing the internet there.
And nobody even bothered me! For three hours I sat there using the free internet, calling home on skype, looking up activities to do at Chobe for the weekend, and checking email. It was so busy that I suppose nobody even cared that I was there the whole evening. In fact, after a while when I became thirsty, I had to move myself up to the bar to ask for something, where I stayed until about half past ten when the place closed. StevenBoyTaxi picked me up, though his cab was rather different from the one I rode in the first Friday night I was here with my roommate (who shall remain nameless to protect their identity unless they should prefer I use a real name in future posts). Instead of pop and rap music that made our first ride with him so much fun, I found myself with a quiet Steven who listened to "Please Forgive Me I Can't Stop Loving You" by I'm assuming Rod Stewart? I guess that's a Monday night for ya.
Home again, shower again, bed again…