30 May 2014

The Peace Left With Us

"There are six new burn admissions upstairs," B. said as I walked into the gym this morning.  I knew it was pretty serious if he hadn't at least said good morning first.

When I got up to the surgical ward, I found them all, lined up on gurneys in the front atrium across the nurses's station.  Three adults, two teenage boys and a little girl.

Upon seeing them, I knew this was no ordinary house fire.

29 May 2014

Niger in the News

This happened just up the road from us . . . pretty interesting article from the BBC about slavery in Niger.  Makes me wonder how many of these 'fifth wives' pass through our hospital doors on a regular basis.

Niger Sees First Slavery Conviction Over 'Fifth Wife'

And then there's this one, just for fun, which gives me one more reason to try to get up to Agadez some day.

25 May 2014

Tomorrow I'll Say Goodbye

This morning I found out that a very important little friend of mine took her last breath yesterday.  For those of you who have been reading my ramblings since my arrival in Niger, you might remember R.'s story.  For those of you that are new, you can check out bits of our time together here, here, here, here and here.

R. was the patient that convinced my Nigerien colleagues that I was a worthwhile part of the team.  Suddenly I was so much more than another single white girl that showed up on the bush plane one day.  R. was one of their's, and by providing her with a make-shift wheelchair that would meet her unique needs, I cared for their whole community.

Suspicion dissolved into understanding . . . invisible barriers came crumbling down.  They got it: I wasn't here to give life, I was here to give living.  Because of her, others came . . . because of her, others trusted me with their loved ones.

R. was the breakthrough . . . and now she's gone.

14 May 2014

A Handful of Miracles

In the three years I've been in Galmi, we've had some amazing therapists and therapy students come to visit.  Whether they've come for two week or two months, our OTs and PTs have all left their mark.

While I was away, we've had an OT-extraordinaire here covering.  M. has been a breath of fresh Canadian air for our little department . . . and has definitely made an impression.

Yesterday she was telling me about an unusual case she saw while I was gone . . . and today I got the rest of the story from B.

12 May 2014

The Night I was Almost Stabbed in the Shower

You know that scene in Psycho . . . when the woman's in the shower . . . and then the knife comes hacking down . . . and the blood circles the drain . . . and the freaky screeching music is playing in the background.

Yeah, that was reenacted tonight in my bathroom.

Kind of.

You see, the shower part was the same . . . but instead of a knife or blood, it was the most gigantic scorpion I've ever seen!  And I knew one of us wasn't going to make it out of the tub alive.

09 May 2014

The Comfort and Sorrow of Ikea

Getting out of Niger . . . away from the dust and the heat, out of the fishbowl . . . seems to always come with mixed emotions. 

Feeling stress physically leave me body . . . it’s kind of like a slow leak, a little bit at a time until I notice that I’m breathing differently, almost normal, but not quite.

Overwhelmed with gratitude for every blade of grass or evergreen needle . . . capturing each lapping wave in my mind’s eye to save for later.

Cherishing single-customer taxis and fixed prices at the market . . . savoring fresh cheese and enormous strawberries and everlasting cucumbers.  

And then there’s Ikea.