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March 16th 2015
Published: March 20th 2015
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March 16, 2015 (Siteki, Swaziland) Monday the real (medical) work begins. After an early wake up to a brilliant sunrise over the palm trees, farmer Pons took us on a quick morning tour of the farm. We realized quickly that farming in this part of the world is much like the practice of medicine - one problem after another looking for a solution - sometimes the right answer isn’t so obvious. With his Swazi farm team, we watched him coach them through repairs, task lists, capital purchases, refurbishing engines, assessment of drought conditions and making hay into bales. We had a typical farm breakfast in the Pons’ dining room - eggs, toast, bacon, cereal, fruit, jams, honey, coffee/tea. From there the team split up into three groups: Dr. Pons and I stayed at Good Shepherd Hospital to do surgery, Dr. Farris and Robinson joined the HIV/AIDS task force to do home visitations, and the residents and Dr. Firestone joined a New York based couple that helps coordinate a home-based care service here in the SIteki area doing home visitations. We all finished by late afternoon and this allowed us some time to take a drive out to a part of the farm called “the rocks” where we were able to watch the spectacular sunset over the low felt - the lower valley of sugar cane plantations below the Lubombo mountains. Then back to the farmstead for wonderful dinner and fellowship around the dining room table. In the late afternoon we noticed the weather threatening to change a bit, and by nightfall it started to rain - a very welcome event given the dry conditions this part of Swaziland has been under. The farm got between 8-10 mm of welcome rain, but with rain comes thunder and lightning - some spectacular lightning - that creates a challenge for the power grid (we lost electricity) which of course means we also lost the little internet bandwidth we can get. Nonetheless, the grass the next morning looked a little greener!

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