Monday, February 9, 2009

Last week in Saponé

As my trip is coming to an end, time has sped up considerably, and suddenly there have been very few opportunities to use a computer. As a result, this will be a summary of over a week's worth of adventures!

I spent my last week in Saponé feeling quite comfortable in the hospital, and enjoying the freedom that vocabulary can bring. I figured out how to buy my own fresh bread for breakfast and how to lower the seat on my bike. I caught two more babies, did a bunch of prenatals, learned about and did injectable contraceptive methods, and made friends with the crowd camping out behind the FDC guesthouse. I learned enough Morré to greet people easily and tell children that I did not have any more candies. I washed all my clothes by hand and hung them out to dry on hangers on a nearby mango tree, only to return to find them covered in red dust. Luckily, for the most part they all shook out relatively well. I was invited out for drinks and to dinner at people's houses, which proved to be both interesting and a real test of my commitment to politeness. I was served dog, lizzard, bat and donkey meat. I drank soups and Fanta with ice and ate salad. I got my hair braided (below) by the women at the maternity as a gift, and though I'm sure it was a good experience for me to have, I am adding it to the list of things I would not like to do again, along with eating all those meats.

I loved getting to know people in the town, and everyone of course knew me already, as I kind of stuck out on my blue bike with my white skin, as I joined the morning and evening traffic to and from the hospital. One of the really great things about making aquaintances was that I got to see how things work. For example, how do people keep their beer cold (everyone drinks beer all the time, and it has to be cold)? They haul in ice from Ouagadougou, packed in wood chips, and put it in giant styrofoam boxes inside non-functioning refridgerators (below).

As I got better at understanding Morré and asking questions in French, I learned the answers to some mysteries. Why are those women making little piles of dirt along the road side? They are actually hand-sorting gravel to be used in the brick mix that all the houses are built from. Why are there piles of hay in the trees (below)? That's how they store it to feed to the animals. Since it doesn't rain, all they need is an airy place to keep it until it is needed.

The week went fast, and I found myself suddenly at the end of my internship. The people at the FDC office of Saponé were kind enough to let me take some last minute photos (below) and I would like to extend my warmest thanks to them for their kind hospitality and great advice.

I did a double shift Thursday and Friday, in hopes of squeezing in the most experience that I could. Though I was very tired, I did get to assist at a birth an hour before leaving, which was the best and most beautiful I had yet been present for at the hospital. (Brand new baby and me below!)

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