I flew here on a small 9 passenger prop plane. I'll say that its been an interesting ride so far. Am I having fun yet? Sometimes, but for the most part it's been quite a challenge between the heat and the workload. The first week, the heat wasn''t bad but then it went up in the 40s and I got really nauseus (some people had worse reactions so I guess I'm lucky). There is no air conditioning, there is no where to escape the heat. On the plus side, it's dry heat which is easier to take then the humidity (which apparently will come in the rainy season).
The other challenge is the lack of office supplies and decent technology. We have wifi here, but there's no such thing as a file folder (I tried to order them but no luck). We do have hanging file folders so all is not completely lost, but I"m having a hard time getting organized. We only have one computer that can scan, we are not networked and an email with an attachment takes forever. It takes forever to complete simple tasks. I work with an HR Assistant and a Finance Assistant. I also supervise the cooks and cleaners of the expat compound - they are a wonderful group of ladies, most don't speak English so we have had some laughs as I try to explain something and end up having to find go find someone to interpret.
My expat colleagues - 18 of them- are all very nice. German, Italian, Belgian, American, British, Kenyan, Pakisani, Indian, Ugandan, Spanish. We have to cook for ourselves Saturday night and Sunday, and fortunately, we have some really good cooks who like cooking! Some are very sociable and some keep to themselves. On Saturdays, they buy a goat from the market and BBQ it and we have a dance party or watch a movie. All of our food is flown in, we get a ''fresh'' food order every week as well as bits and pieces of our monthly packaged food order. The airstrip is about 200 yards from the compound, its arrival time varies so we just listen for it. Of course, when I heard someone call out "the plane!"I thought of Fantasy Island, but no, I'm definitely not on Fantasy Island.
My office is right beside the expat compound so I don't see much of what is going in the hospital except when I'm walking through to post jobs or notices and I hear alot of conversation around the table at meals. We have an outpatient clinic, TB clinic, see alot of peopel with kala azar and malaria; there's an operating theatre, maternity ward/clinic, ICU, etc. all in tents or really big tukuls. We go out to the market on Saturdays and then walk along the airstrip for exercise, this takes an hour at the most. If it's cool enough in the evenings we go watch the footbal games (we are the only women there). The South Sudanese are smiling, gracious people surviving under the worst conditions. They line up at water taps with their jerry cans twice a day. The kids are smiling and laughing, wanting to hold your hand as you walk, sometimes a little aggressive. Some stare but once you say hello they answer right back. When some young women were following me, I heard them say ''kuwai'' which is Nuer for white. I said ''yes, I'm kuwai"" and we had a laugh when they realized that I knew they were talking about me. The football league has 9 teams!
|This is the view from my bed.|
This was the most pleasant surprise - it's clean and it doesn't smell..
That's all for now.