There's nothing quite like being brought down to earth, here are some latest extracts from my Dad's updates while he's volunteering in Sierra Leone:
Tiny little tribeswomen appear from way out in the jungle, we cannot communicate with 3 of them at the moment, no-one knows their language. Some are very upset and shy. There is one tribe where the woman is left on her own once she is in labour, not even her husband sees her until she dlivers; can you immagine the scenario for major birth injury and birth damage?
They say that soldiers, firemen and robbers are alike, in that they all have long days of boredom interspersed with hours of terror/ excitement. Sierra Leone is a little like that
I am saving so many lives, etcetera, but now they (the staff) have been informed there is no Christmas bonus, no bag of rice that they have had for the previous 3 /4 years from the Mercy Ships; the hospital charity has changed, and there is less money about.
We run the maternity, a children's outpatients on a daily basis and a fistula repair area, which is the national referral unit.
If I need to, I have to disrupt the fistula surgery for emergency Caesarian sections, you can imagine the tension there when that happens.
All surgery is done under a spinal block, which has been interesting; one anaesthetist could not find the spinal level, so my colleague put in the spinal. All the while the women in labour repeat their Sierra Leonian mantra, "why me? why me? Oh lord, why me?" in ever louder voices.
I organised to go to a day meeting in the British Council yesterday. The management organised cover. The Council building is at the most 3 miles away(5 kilometres ). It took an hour and a half to get there, then they rang from here at 11 o'clock to say the obstetrician could not be found and there was a woman in labour and haemorrhaging. So I had to excuse myself from the consul, get in a local bus (Podapoda) and travel back, taking 65 minutes, to organise an 'emergency' Caesarian, then change, travel back(90minutes) to resume my meeting.
Crazy is all I can say.
Thanks for the update dad.