Monday, May 21, 2012

Rounding the Bend

More than 9 months! I’ve already been here 9 months, can you believe it? How much I can now look back upon, seeing growth and discovery in so many ways. This weekend was particularly wonderful, allowing me to reflect on all of the beauty and joy that I have to experience here.

Friday night, my friend Fraser and I went over to my dear friend, Jimmy’s house. His family is so beautiful and they’re always so gracious to have us in their home. He taught us a lesson on how to eat ugali. This is a traditional East African dish made from white maize, eaten by dipping it in a bunch of vegetable or meat dishes. Yum! Thanks for Fraser for the video documentation. Hehe

Immediately after this lovely dinner, however, something significantly less fortunate, though significantly hilarious happened to me. Jimmy told us that he has an avocado tree in his yard, so we all went out to look. His 11 year old boy scurried up the tree to pick one for us. So, he picked one, but another avocado connected to the same twig also fell, plummeted to the ground, hit the plastic water tub sitting under the tree, and ricocheted directly INTO my face. Bulls-eye. It hit the crap out of the top of my nose, immediately causing me to cry. I was actually wanting to laugh, it was so ridiculous to imagine this very large, very hard avocado pummeling into my face. A little sore now, but no broken nose!

Yesterday was Fraser’s birthday and I organized a big hike for us and 6 other friends! It was one of the most wonderful hikes I’ve ever been. We walked through a village on one of the hills of Mt. Meru, into a pasture-like area, and down into the valley of tropical and ancient trees. 

Once we climbed down down down the very slippery muddy slopes (with a huge assistance from our guides and Jimmy!), we walked along a creek for some time.

 Then, around a bend, past some large stones, and there before us was a massive waterfall pouring down from the crest far above us. I climbed up and under the waterfall with Jimmy and the view was simply breathtaking. 
We all had a wonderful lunch together on the rocks. I made my specially-delicious guacamole J 
These friends are some of the most wonderful people I’ve yet met and we mesh together so well! It was a special birthday for Fraser, but an equally special day for everyone else as well. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

My first tanzanian operation

My first operation was in Tanzania

Three weeks ago I noticed a soreness under my right arm and a painful lump right under the skin. I immediately felt a little worried, and became more so the next day when the spot began to be red under my arm. I set up an appointment with the school doctor, who just happens to be the parent of one of my flute students. She took a look at my arm later that week and told me that I had a staph infection and would need antibiotics. I got on them the day that I left for my trip to France (see previous blog entry). That whole weekend in France the spot under my arm became quite painful. When the doctor looked at it again the next week, she said that it would need to be cut open- a minor operation that I could be awake for. So, I agreed to meet her the next day and we would do the procedure in the nurse’s office at the school… or so I thought.

I met her at the school, but it was a school holiday that day so the nurse’s office was locked. She had apparently expected this, as she led me behind one of the buildings where there was a picnic table. She rolled out a yoga mat and said, “ok hop up!” … I realized at that point that I was going to have the procedure done on a picnic table under a thatch roof cabana. Haha. Oh, I love being reminded that I’m in Africa. She had all of the sterile supplies, clean medical paper to put under me, and new, unwrapped utensils.

She numbed my arm as I stared up at a gecko climbing upside down on the thatch roof above me. It was actually one of the most pleasant medical experiences I’ve yet had- no waiting time, a doctor I knew, a gecko to distract me, and a very pleasant breeze blowing by on a warm day. At the end of the operation, however, she had to pack the wound.. I won’t go into detail cause it still makes me cringe. Let’s just say that in one fast moment, a shock of intense pain hit me when she did that. I nearly started crying from the pain! It soon subsided, but the shock had caused my heart rate to drop suddenly. She had to lift my legs to get blood back moving faster to my heart. That was over after a moment and I felt like I could stand up and fix my clothes. The only problem was that I hadn’t yet had lunch and immediately after standing up, my blood sugar dropped and I became hypoglycemic! I thumped back down on the table and felt like I was going to be sick. She realized what was going on and ran and got an apple. Apparently I nearly fainted, but she held an apple in front of my face and said, “eat this!” I told her “I will be sick if I eat that.” And she said a little more forcefully “EAT this.” And so I took a big bite of the apple and bonked my head back down on my arms as I tried to chew. But, I managed to do that and within 30 seconds, the nausea was gone and I felt way better.

10 minutes later, I was teaching a piano lesson.

My arm was very sore the next day, but now it has been a little over a week since the experience, and my arm is all healed! YAY!