DAYS NINETEEN AND TWENTY
SATURDAY 23 MARCH AND SUNDAY 24 MARCH 2019
My nose is on a non-stop drip which is called ‘flu here but I call it a stinking, rotten cold. I’m not sure if it’s easier here in the heat or huddled over the fire at home. I gave my Paracetamol away to a more deserving cause than I am so, if my profusely sweating body is due to having a temperature, I must stick it out. No sympathy comments please! At least the handkerchiefs dry in minutes!
Today, the student nurses came to be handed their Afripads. Twenty five young girls of about 16 to 18 years squeezed on to my porch where we discussed such matters together with our Darlington and District Soroptimist project of raising awareness of potentially dangerous relationships. It turned out to be a learning curve for all of us and they were happy with their gifts.
Obwongo called, propped his bike against the mango tree and sat on my porch. A bad sign! He may have noticed my lack of a welcome and so stood up to pronounce that his wife’s “brother” had died and he needed a white cloth for the body. I’ve got used to all these fathers, brothers, distant relatives, and always male, who die and are in need of a shroud that to give him 10,000/= (£2.00) is an easy way out!
In the afternoon, I was going to the home of Margaret, KH Chief Nursing Officer, where her sister and my dear friend, Florence, and her daughter, Martha, were staying for the weekend. A table groaning with food lay before us and we tucked in with plenty of conversation in the Ateso language and some English! I had a gift for Martha from her English friend in recognition of her graduation in November. Afterwards, we walked along to the staff houses to see where Florence and Martha lived when Florence worked in KH as a physio assistant. Outside their house was a large mango tree which Florence had planted from a germinating mango seed. They met several of the staff who they remembered so it was a case of walking down memory lane. Some of the houses had collapsed but those remaining were in a sorry state and I really don’t know how a nurse can turn up for work looking so clean and spruce when some of them are living in what can only be called squalid conditions.
Oh, the nose continued to drip and, not feeling at all myself, I went to bed not long after 8 pm having covered myself for the first time with a sheet as I somehow felt cold and slept most of the night until 7 am. Not bad for me!
Only a few words today as I’m feeling very sorry for myself and I shall conserve my strength for the coming week. I skipped Sunday prayers and did little else. The wind was too much to sit outside as the dust swept along like a blizzard. Inside my room, I could feel the dust layer on my skin and my eyes were sore. Even Obwongo failed to entertain me but he did thank me for helping him out yesterday. I managed to visit Modeste’s this afternoon and I was grateful to be taken by Gonza on his motorbike. That morning, her daughter, Harriet, had covered the ground of her one and only room with fresh cow dung and stamped a repetitive pattern on the surface, an honour for a visiting guest and also claimed to keep away the flies. Her house is basic but I always feel very much at home when there. Today, her husband wanted to know about flying in the plane and what about the clouds. He wondered if we were “next to New Zealand” and couldn’t quite get the idea of the oceans or the time differences.
Their cat with enormous ears posed for a photo but you will see that it saw the camera and upended. Another photo of Modeste’s mother whose place is to sit outside when there is a visitor. The final photo is of the airfield which is usually knee deep in lush grass but now in serious need of rain.
So today my words are few and I am hoping that tomorrow I shall waken with full strength to manage my last full week.
PS My bed sheet was covered with tiny bugs, a double decker wasp had sneaked in and I managed to squash a mozzie only to find that it had already feasted on my blood!