29 December 2011

How Not To Build Rapport

This morning a little girl from the Under 5 Clinic came to see me.  She's nearing three and cannot walk.  She was a little bit like a rag doll . . . really floppy . . . and absolutely adorable.

She came into my office hidden under her mom's flowing head covering.  We all three sat on the floor, ready to play . . . well, at least I was ready to play.  She was ready to scream.

And that's all she did for the next half an hour!

26 December 2011

TED Gets It Right Again

Alberto Cairo is an Italian PT who works with the Red Cross in Afghanistan.

20 December 2011

Lessons from the Tour

This morning the operating room staff went for a tour of the new Post-Surgical Building.  Our current facility is the original (plus some simple extensions as we grew), dating back to the 1960's.  The cement is crumbling, there is barely any airflow, it's dark, and it was time for a change.  So we are nearing the end of Phase I, next up is OB, then medicine/peds, then . . . I forget.

It's been a long process (not sure how long, but I'm confident that someone from my team will read this and let me know just how long, so be sure to check back for details).  And we're nearing the end!

But you don't want to read about buildings . . . okay, really, I don't want to write about buildings, I want to write about people.  So, I arrived on the tail end of the OR staff's tour of the new facility.  And experiencing it with them was a privilege.

15 December 2011

Stupid Birds

While most of our local wild life doesn't span beyond the imagination of donkeys, camels, chameleons, snakes and the ugliest spiders on the face of the earth, we do have quite an array of birds.  There are swallows that dive to drink out of our swimming pool . . . and these beautiful blue ones that don't do much of anything except fly away the moment they sense a camera within a 10meter radius.

And there are the pigeons.  

Stupid pigeons.

07 December 2011

A Kettle, a Pot, a Log, and a Crocodile

I've been back from dropping my mom at the airport since Sunday.  Today is Wednesday.  And still hospital employees say good morning by first asking how she is . . . if she arrived safely . . . and when I'm getting married.

Today it was a man who works in the outpatient chart room.

06 December 2011

Maybe Close Is Good

I just had a brilliant conversation with my gardener's father in English.

It all started when he asked how my mom was doing . . . if she had arrived safely in the US . . . how she liked Niger . . . and so on.  Then he asked how many sisters I had in the US who would take care of her since I was here.  I told him I had no sisters.

'But, how many brothers?' he asked.



04 December 2011

This Is How We Roll

I write this blog to help you better understand what life is like for an outsider in this little corner of the world I'm currently calling home . . . okay, so really it's to help ME better understand my not-so-brand-new-anymore context . . . but you've been invited to be a 'fly on the wall'.  So in the spirit of the holistic approach, I documented my trip from the capital back home via the Nigerien version of the BulletTrain: the bus.  

Since most of you will never have the privilege of riding the bus in WestAfrica, here it is, chronicled as it was happening:

It's 4:40am.  I've been on the bus half an hour and we are still sitting in the parking lot.

03 December 2011

Knock-Off Magic

Late Thursday night, I put my mom on a plane and she went back home.  The month went quickly, and she had a wonderful experience being here.

And when in Niamey, for whatever reason, it's important to take an extra day or two and run as many errands as one possibly can.  Like taking advantage of having a small grocery store.  Or checking out prices on garden hoses.  Or eating in a restaurant.  Or . . . well, all the things you can't do when you live in a big village.