28 February 2011

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

I started at the hospital today.  Granted, I use the term 'started' very liberally.  I rounded with the surgeons first thing then headed to the OR to watch a few procedures.  My opinion was asked for a few times, but in the end, I was the one asking most of the questions.  The rest of the morning was spent sitting in on surgical outpatient appointments . . . I had forgotten what open, infected wounds smell like.

My afternoon was passed in the pharmacy digging through dusty boxes of old donated items that have been sitting on shelves for a long time (I found a 'therapy type' product that was stamped with the year 1987).  Amongst the treasures I found were a lifetime supply of SAM splints, enough wrist splints to stock a hand-therapy clinic, and even a pair of childsized dynamac MAFO's (molded ankle foot orthoses)!  So with the scarf on my head, I felt like a pirate that had discovered a stash of gold (minus the eye patch of course).

25 February 2011

Galmi in the News

See, you don't have to be 'medical' to come help us out . . . whatever your skill(s), WE CAN USE YOU!
Galmi Hospital is located on the south edge of the Sahara desert in the heart of Niger. In a country where there’s one doctor for every 30,000 people, the 120-bed facility provides medical care to over 100,000 Nigerians annually who are suffering from life-threatening and debilitating illnesses and injuries. The outpatient clinic also assists more than 300 men, women and children daily. 

Over the years, the sand, heat and desert sun left the building structurally unsafe in some areas. In 2005, the hospital leadership team initiated a redevelopment project to address these issues. The first phase focused on the surgical ward, while the second concentrated on the maternity wing. 
 (and since our hospital director has been know to regularly read this blog: PHASE THREE TO CONCENTRATE ON THE NEW OCCUPATIONAL/PHYSIO THERAPY DEPARTMENT???)

23 February 2011

Always, Coca-Cola

So I had a fist fight with a can of Coke today . . . and I lost.

When I was in France, I heard somewhere that Coca-Cola will remove rust stains from porcelain.  It struck me as odd at the time, and that is why I remembered it . . . not because I thought I might someday need to test the validity of the suggestion.

Driving Along in My Automobile

I arrived in Galmi Monday evening around dusk.  Normally, the drive takes between 6 & 7 hours by car, but we had a few hiccups, and no one actually checked the time when we left, so it was probably 7hours plus a a couple of adventures.

Since Short-Story-Long Girl will no doubt strike again, let me hit some of the more I'm-Enjoying-This-Because-I'm-Still-Fresh-Off-The-Boat stories.

22 February 2011


HA HA HA!!!  So I've been wondering why everyone keeps commenting on the dates of my last few posts.  Can I blame it on jet lag??   HA HA HA!!!!!  I can't believe I wrote SEPTEMBER for all of them!! I feel like an idiot!   HA HA HA!

20 February 2011


So technically hot season doesn't even start until March . . . but it's been over 100F (38C) each day since I've arrived . . . and I don't know how much hotter I can handle!  OY!

19 February 2011


Front entrance of the grocery store.
This morning was spent grocery shopping.  Round 1 was at an actual grocery store for dry goods . . . round 2 in the open air petit marché . . . and round 3 back in the same grocery store for cold things like meat, cheese and cream.  The thing is though, after we stocked up on dry goods, we had to head to another part of town to confirm the pricing for the furniture I ordered and then negotiate the order for having the cushions made (for my couch and chairs, etc).

18 February 2011

Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!

17 September 2011
One thing I appreciate so much about having studied language in France is that I don’t feel as though I am in a COMPLETELY foreign place.  The road system and driving rules don’t seem that strange . . . I know what the products in the shops are . . . I’m familiar with many of the name-brands.
But there are many more things that are strikingly different.  And today was full of them.

I’m a Millionaire

16 September 2011
That’s right.  This morning, I dropped about a million bucks on kitchen appliances.  Okay, so that’s ‘bucks’ as in ‘CFA’ which is the currency used in Niger.  If I’ve done my math right, it comes out to about $2000.  That’s $2000 for a refrigerator, a four-burner stove/oven (think a momma-sized easy-bake), microwave, deep freezer, and a free-standing rotating fan.  
The appliance store was a single room with two aisles: about a dozen fridge/freezer combo’s and standing freezers lined the wall on the right side facing the deep freezers and stoves; tv’s and computer printers lined the left wall, next to three large executive style wooden desks.  Random blenders and irons peppered the tops of shelves and fridges.  Not quite Target.

Living in Niger Will Force Me to Count

16 September 2011
I ventured out on my own first thing this morning . . . okay, so really I just crossed the street to go to the patisserie  . . . but it was on my own.  
The bakery was quite large inside, but also quiet empty.  After living in France I got used to small boulangeries packed with bread and pastries: in glass cases, stacked on shelves, hanging in baskets on the walls.  And while my bakery this morning had an enormous glass case in the front, only 1/4 of it was full.  They had nine types of bread, including baguettes, which were sold by man sitting at a lone table in the middle of the room.

Second First Impressions

15 September 2011
I’m sitting in my room at the guesthouse in Niamey, thanking God for a ceiling fan and sufficient electricity . . . the same place I last was in Niger back in 2008.  Fitting I guess: one journey starts where the other left off.  
The call to prayer from a nearby m*sque is echoing between the walls.  My feet are red from the dirt and my back is saturated with sweat where my camera bag had been.

Alive and Well

Today is the first time I've had internet access since I've arrived in Niger.  But not to worry, I've been 'blogging sans internet' anyway.  I will start with my first 'post' and get as many up as I can in this sitting.  Hope it's not too much to read.

14 February 2011

Le Depart

Tomorrow's the big move to Niger! (enfin!)  Nearly 4 years in the making . . . hard to believe it's only 15 hours away!

08 February 2011

I Arrived

When I first moved to France in August of 2009 I considered my time there as a long layover.  I couldn't have had a more wrong perception.  My year and a half was so much more than just a stop on the way.

But this time, that's all it is.  I arrived in Paris this morning, and will be staying until the 15th to rest and just be as I prepare for my 2 1/2 years in Niger.

Next stop: Niamey (in 7 days).

06 February 2011

It's Arrived.

The big move to edge of the Sahara officially begins in 32 hours and 15 minutes!

02 February 2011

Welcome New Readers

Since I've met so many new friends on this month back in the US, I thought I'd make some suggestions on the better blog posts of my adventures.

In my opinion, these language learning stories are guaranteed a good hearty laugh (mostly at my expense):

01 February 2011


I'm packing for Niger.  I still don't leave for a few days, but tomorrow I'm flying down to Florida for an extra couple of days with my parents before I head out.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed . . . trying to make sure I have the important things that I really will need.  It's not like I'll have a WalMart to run to should I realize there's something I forgot.  Then there's that fine line between need and want . . . do I really need X, Y and Z or do I just want them.

And then there's making sure I have all the paperwork I'm supposed to present for my permis de séjour . . . AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, Deb. deep breaths!