Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slow Day

Arrived at the hospital this morning to find that the woman from yesterday had delivered her baby overnight, a big but initially floppy baby ("mama say she take the kastom medicine befo she come") that looked healthy by the time we saw him.

No babies born while we were there today. More baby measuring, gauze folding, doctor-and-midwife following. The midwives shared some breadfruit with us, all pudding-y and wrapped in leaves. Encouraged us to "kakae moa." The student nurses we've befriended were having their last day, which was disappointing to us; one in particular had been trying to teach us Bislama, and they had been happy to share their work with us.

We left somewhat early. I contacted my family, finally, by Skype, and have settled in with my senior paper.

Missed Triplets! Argh!

(internet is punky, updates may be scattered...)

So after that last post we hiked up to the hospital, said hello, handed over some instant coffee, and left. We went snorkelling and sat reading over senior paper materials while a rainstorm passed.

In the meantime, triplets were born at the hospital. Both the doctor and the midwife thought of us but had no way to reach us. Triplets and then a set of twins.

We could kick ourselves. Probably will.

Both T and I are hoping that our trip is not defined by this...oh yeah, Niki and T went to Vanuatu and they missed triplets because they decided to sit off their jet-lag at the beach!

Yesterday, a full 8 hours at the hospital with nothing more exiting than a woman who was 1cm walking around like she was in full-on labor when we got there, and only making it to 3cm by the time we left. We washed a couple of babies, discharged some women, restocked things, learned to use the EFM, made boards full of little ripped-up bandages, and called it a day. We sweat heavily the whole time. So fucking hot.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the meantime...

After my last blog post, it started to rain. And then it RAINED. Like I haven't seen in years, like a big push-up-the-stormdrains Hawaii storm. Kids were running down the driveway and steeper roads sending little boats made of bits of trash into the new-made rivers. We sat in our little cabana-thingy and waited, sleepily, for the rain to abate. Which didn't happen. Intent on beating the time change, we refused to fall asleep, and instead went to the pool and swam as the downpouring rain began to overflow to the deck.

A bit over an hour later (time really can crawl when you're trying not to fall asleep, can't it?) we made the decision to walk into town, rain or no rain.

This may have been a mistake. Ankle-deep fast moving water all over the roadways carrying god-knows-what. We got a few encouraging words from the locals: "you beat that storm!" in addition to the usual "hello." As we passed a school, a bus (van) sent up a mighty splash, soaking the last bits that our umbrellas were protecting. This amused the children greatly, but the way they laughed and waved felt friendly rather than mocking.

Despite all that, we had a good outing. We went into Port Vila:

We walked through the main town, made our way to the waterfront, and made a portion of our return trip along the water. There, the rain let up enough to take pictures:

Although not quite enough to explore the open market we saw there. We re-entered the town strip at the very-amazing market; so much stuff available! The exchange rate is around 120 Vatus per US dollar; the humangous(!) avocados in the picture are less than a dollar. The greens looked beautiful. Many local people were at the market eating or lounging (or doing both of those things while attending tables).

We came back to the "resort" in time to sit with the other guests at the weekly barbecue, drink a beer and have some lovely grilled fish and edible steak. We made our way back to our room (all 50 feet away), exhausted, to finally sleep.

I didn't sleep well, but I did sleep.

The coffee maker we requested apparently went to the (happy recipients at) next cabin over, so we're drinking coffee brewed in a pot until the grounds settled and then poured off the top, courtesy of T. Brilliant, I say. Who cares if it's chewy, it's caffeinated! I made some omelettes. We opened an avocado and discovered that it needed a while yet to mature.

On to the hospital today to make ourselves known.

(I don't know why some of the pictures are showing up smaller than others, sorry).

Monday, March 09, 2009

In Vanuatu

Here I sit with my classmate/travel partner/friend (hereafter to be referred to as T) in a lovely little cottagey-"resort" room thing, after nearly 24 hours of travel time. From Seattle to LA, and there, we had less than two hours of time for us to get our bags, get rechecked and through security and onto an international flight...I don't think I've run that much since I was actually in track and doing it on purpose. And I enjoyed it way less than I used to. Luckily, we then transitioned into a hella-long (I am not even sure how long that flight was, 11 hours maybe?) flight to Fiji, which was mercifully empty; so much so that we each took a row and slept the flight away (well, most of it anyway). On to Vanuatu.

I have sweat more in the last 24 hours than I have in the entire last year. Pathetic, really. Comfortable now.

We have been to the market already. Plotting a trip to the pool later this afternoon. We will present ourselves at the hospital in the morrow, and see how that goes.