Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An Atypical Day Revisited

This morning I arrived at school early planning to take two children to the local clinic as both had mild fevers yesterday afternoon. Neither child was on time for school, but Bimba, the boy with the gash in his big toe, arrived in time to have me change his dressing before main lesson started. Abdullai, who always seems to have big sores on both of his shins from tripping while he is running, popped over to the mango tree, the site of most of my first-aid efforts, to see if I could give him new plasters for the three sores he had acquired yesterday. This was the same Abdullai who had taken me racing through Goderich village last week in search of keys and sick children. While I was changing his plasters he told me that he and Amadu (the one who was panting at the end of last week's adventure) wanted to take me on another tour of the village whenever they got some money. I thought this was quite funny and couldn't make out what the money was for, but Abdullai was serious, so I promised to find a day to go on a tour. The two children who had been sick yesterday appeared looking better, so I held off on taking them until tomorrow.

After classes had started, Mohamed, the three-year-old grandson of Fatu, one of the cooks, came over to tell me, "Ah have sore fut." Yesterday I had managed to convince him that my cleaning the small wound and putting a plaster over it wouldn't hurt, so I already knew his shin (what he called his fut) had a sore. I asked him if he wanted another plaster. He nodded yes, sat down and stuck out his leg. One plaster was not enough for him because his leg still hurt after I had applied it, so he received another plaster next to the first one. He spent the rest of the morning looking down at his leg. I suspect Mohamed will have lots more sore futs in the near future.

About half-way through main lesson, a girl from Class 1 came over to tell me, "Auntie's calling you." I knew this meant a child in the class was sick. One of the girls, Hawa, had a temperature of 104, and no one was at home, so I picked her up and carried her piggy-back to the clinic. She was nearly faint, though she gripped me quite firmly for the entire 20-minute walk - something local children seem to learn very early since that is how their mothers carry them almost from birth,though infants are usually tied on with a large cloth. When we arrived, I had to ask special permission to have her registered since the clinic generally accepts patients until about 8:30 only and it was nearly 10. When the nurse felt her neck, she agreed, quickly took her temperature and gave her a fever-reducer. I spent the next few hours waiting for blood test results and medicine and cooling down Hawa with a wet handkerchief. By 11:30 she was sitting up and asking to eat something, so I bought her two packets of cookies, one of which she promptly finished off. By the time we picked up her medicine - she was diagnosed with malaria - her fever was down and she was able to walk home, for which I was grateful since it was the hottest time of the day. I bought her some oranges on the trip home and just afterwards, one of the local poda-poda drivers pulled up beside me and offered to take us the rest of the way. Hawa and I climbed into the front seat, and Hawa seemed positively happy about her long day at the clinic, despite the malaria.

1 comment:

christopher said...

Hello Suzi,

Greetings from one of your long-lost admirers. I have been meaning to check out your blog for ages and finally got the link from Mary. Sounds like you are truly embedded in your community there. I promise to become a faithful reader. Keep up the good work.

Love, Chris (Lamb)