21.07.2016 20 °C
Firstly, sadly, my phone is dead. It's insides have been totally cooked by what I assume was a power surge and I have probably lost all my photos (apart from the ones saved for this blog). However, Marjolein has kindly loaned me her camera so I will try to take as many photos as I can in the next few days. The logistics of getting these pictures onto my blog is tricky however, so everyone will just have to put up with words for now!
Today I had a big adventure! It was my day off and Marjolein insisted I get out and explore. She directed me to a lakeside walk. I found a surprisingly modern pathway right up against the lake's edge. I left quite early and it was cool and peaceful. Along the way were occasional 'drinks stands' as well as goats, chickens, sheep and one Japanese tourist. Intermittently I would come across a laundry area where the locals were scrubbing their clothes in the lake and then hanging them out to dry on the rocks. Other places were obviously bathing areas with mostly naked men washing and shampooing and frolicking around having a great time in amongst the worm infected reeds. As you know, I have pushed my boundaries somewhat here in Ethiopia but I was not tempted to join them!!
After my long return journey, I was just about to leave the path when I came across a young Ethiopian who wanted to chat. As previously discussed, this happens quite a lot and I would normally not converse long, but this particular fellow was a young university student who had arrived only yesterday in Barhirdar for 'summer school', seemed very genuine, spoke excellent English and wanted to sightsee. He was also a history student and full of fascinating fun facts. After much discussion, he convinced me that we should go hippo hunting together!
I was already exhausted from my walk, so after a short time, I decided we needed some other form of transportation. He hailed a minibus and in we hopped together, scrunched up amongst the locals, for the grand sum of around 5 cents each. An interesting, albeit claustrophobic, experience! Finally we arrived at the Blue Nile Bridge. It hadn't quite dawned on me that this was the actual NILE RIVER so I was pretty excited. We hunted around for hippos but sadly it was probably too late in the day and they had moved on. Even if we had been lucky, unfortunately it is illegal to take photos of, or from, the bridge (my friend asked the machine gun carrying soldier on my behalf and was clearly told NO so I wasn't going to even try!). We then hopped on a tut tut (which cost slightly more but was worth it!) for the trip home. Being a poor university student, and having provided me with an unforgettable experience, I decided to give him a small amount of money to buy a textbook. He was pretty chuffed!
It is impossible to know what will happen next in this place! I arrived home to find my housekeeper had cooked a full Mexican meal including guacamole and homemade tortilla. What a bizarre thing to be eating in Ethiopia. Very tasty though!
The hospital has been very busy in the last few days. Apologies to the non medical/nursing people among my readers. We have had a Para 7 (6 alive) with severe preeclampia at 36 weeks. Her BP was 200/125 and she initially refused to stay. Via her husband, we eventually convinced her to have some treatment - only to find we had no hydralazine. After a frantic search of the town, some was discovered in another hospital and we managed to control the situation before she fitted. All her other babies had been born at home so she was rather suspicious about us wanting to induce her, but finally relented and a good outcome was achieved. That afternoon someone else had a retained placenta. Unlike at home, this is sorted out on the labour ward without analgesia - a somewhat traumatic (but successful) experience for doctor and patient. She was off home after 6 hours like everyone else! We had 13 vaginal deliveries in the last 24 hours including a successfully induced VBAC. 160 births for the month so far, with one week to go. Currently a 4.4% caesarean rate!
I cannot believe I only have a few days left in this amazing place. I intend to make the most of it........