Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Routine, interrupted

I see that our president is tackling health care. We had our own experience with the health care system here. Recently, we spent a joyous day at the beach. Perfect weather, great waves for body surfing, lots of swallowed ocean water. The next day my daughter had a fever. A very high fever (I know. What's a mom to do? In all honesty, this is something that could have happened at home. Every year, it seems that beaches are closed more and more frequently). It's scary to be in a foreign country with a really sick kid. I mean, she was waxy, gaunt, and wasting away. I was frightened. Thankfully, Lea, the woman with whom we are staying, took us to a private clinic where she takes her own kids. Outside of the place is a window where you pay your money (about $4.00) and wait to be seen on a first come, first served basis. It was very clean inside, with a nice aesthetic. Open windows and entryways let a nice breeze in, and the staff was pleasant. We waited a little over an hour to see the MD. He was thorough, kind, and even spoke a little English. Ends up R. had an intestinal bug. He gave us a prescription and suggested we have her tested for malaria, just to be safe. All told, we were there 2 hours and a quarter. I would have waited much longer if we were at home, methinks, in urgent care. What a relief.  R. is much recovered, just fatigued and way too thin.  A satisfying experience; one I could have done without, but, c'est la vie. I'm still very apprehensive and watching her like a hawk. I may take her for a follow up appointment right when we get home.

The rainy season has begun, and the flies are wretched!! My husband and son must have killed close to 30 of them in the living room the other day. Thus, I was poetically inspired to pen my first Haiku:

Black and bloated, winged

Annoyed, I swat at the air

Flies, how I hate you.


And another:


Buzzing in my ear

The horse has an advantage

I long for a tail.

With that, I make my exit. Yendoo ak jamm.





Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pecking order

This past Sunday we attended a celebration for a newly appointed religious politician within one of the orders John is studying. Basically, it boiled down to a political rally. Many words of praise, prayers, music and dancing. It became apparent to me that there was a definite caste system in place. The officials, all male, sat on a dias above everyone else, and are the highest class. Then, the griots - both the drummers and the women who dance, sing and rally for cheers. The woman above with the whistle in her mouth is a griot. They provide the music, and tell the stories in praise of the new "chief". The women themselves could be divided into their own hierarchy. There are the griot women, the "average joe" women, and the women married to important men, who ranked higher up the pecking order. They are the women sitting near the men, or standing and clapping. Women would pay respects to other women of a higher class by shaking hands, and photographers were sure to take pictures of these women. I learned that the more important the woman, the bigger the headdress - the fabric tied around their heads in an intricate knot - and the later the arrival. The women were pushy, in that they insisted upon chairs placed as close as possible to the action, even if there wasn't room. We ended up knee deep in  colorful, pushy African women. It was an interesting experience. Being white, we garnered a lot of looks from the women. We got there early (mere peons, we are, to be on time!) and secured good seats - until the women came and insisted upon 4 more rows to be added in front of us, before all was said and done. I really enjoyed the drumming, and the dancing, although the whistle blowing became soooo annoying. Most importantly, John obtained excellent resources for his work. Baax na (very good)!