Saturday, July 4, 2009

Africa is a continent, not a country.

We awoke this morning to gorgeous music blasting from the neighbors' front porch. They are terribly patient with our terrible Kiswahili and extremely friendly. Hamisa, a girl across the way, took us into town to see the hospital and spent the better part of her day taking us from one place to another. The town is bigger than we expected and a little overwhelming. Problem #1: No street lights. I hate to add concern to anyone's mind, but we've wandered into traffic several times now and will hopefully gain some skills in dodging cars and Dalla Dalla bus-vans.

The hospital is also larger than expected; it sprawls across several grassy areas where patients' families dry clothes. Vendors sell fruit and coke outside the gates. Patients fill most of the halls, but it appears to run pretty smoothly (though it was hard to tell from our morning and afternoon trips of 30mins each). We will get a better tour next week when we start an orientation of sorts, but it was clear that the supplies are very much needed. Dr. Lyimo emphasized that they were nearly out of sutures and the exam rooms were pretty sparse, as expected.

Around town, we bought food and took in the overwhelming surroundings. As we read, Muslim and Christian faiths seem to meld seamlessly around town. Vendors are everywhere. The streets are falling out in most places; dirt paths and ditches break up the "sidewalk." Cars and vans are everywhere, as are pedestrians.

It is a little overwhelming to take in all at once, but once we get our bearings, I think we can give a more thorough description (and hopefully make it to and from work without getting lost).

L, M, H

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