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Published: November 9th 2013
The time is currently 21 39 on Friday 8th
November 2013. In Ethiopian time this is 03 39 at night and the date is Friday 29th
October 2006 which is written as 29/2/06 as September is the first month of the year. Confusing or what!
I have been in Gondar for 10 days now. It feels like forever. It’s hard work out here. I am still staying in a hotel but am hoping to move to the “university guest house” tomorrow. The “guest house” consists of a collection of flats about a 30-40 minute walk from the hospital. I have a choice between:
Apartment 2 – no running water at the moment but has good natural light and is in reasonably good condition. There was however a rat in the flat above!!!!
Apartment 5 – dark and gloomy. Has water but no flushing toilet
Apartment 15 – damp, mouldy. No stove
Tricky decision. Not ideal but it is cheaper than a hotel and a lot more sociable– quite a few overseas volunteers live there and they are all lovely.
Currently my days consist of leaving the hotel at 0700 and walking to the main road to
get a “line taxi” to work. A line taxi is a mini bus crammed with as many people that can physically fit inside it. There aren’t any bus stops so you just have to shout “hospital” at all the mini buses that pass and one will stop if it is going that way. The other option is taking a “bajaj” (known as a tuk tuk in South East Asia). There is an anaesthetic meeting at 0730 every day where all the cases for the day are discussed and then we start the lists. We have a day of lectures on Wednesday, which I have to organise and facilitate. On the other days, I teach on the shop floor. We get some really interesting cases which I may tell you about another time. I also spend a lot of time preparing lectures, performing assessments, composing exams and marking papers.
We have 4 main theatres and an obstetric theatre at the hospital. Recovery is also used by the emergency department so is full of trauma patients, unwell patients from the emergency department as well as post operative patients. Only 2 patients out of the 20+ that are crammed into this room
can receive oxygen. I hope to change this while I am here. The hospital is poorly resourced but frustratingly a lot of this is due to bureaucracy or incorrect ideas about things rather than absolute lack of funds. An example is the fact that pethidine is the strongest opiate that we have because pharmacy think that if we give patients morphine perioperatlvely they will get addicted to it!
I will tell you more about what I have been getting up to in my next blog. In the meantime, these photos will provide a taster of what it is like here. I used my phone to take them so they aren’t amazingly clear.
Until next time.
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