Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day 232

The Fly Part 2......Sitting in the clinic this week I noticed a few small things flying around my head. At first I thought they were flees, but as the afternoon heat swelled I realized they were the beginning of the flys coming back to Zimbabwe. It started with just two and then by 1 in the afternoon there were about 7. I managed to kill two by slamming my hand down on the table but quickly stopped doing that since it usually scared the patients who seemed to tolerate the mangy things much more than I did. I am consistently impressed with the resiliance of the people I work for, they fight HIV, economic hardship, family tragedy and do not even complain about the flys. I can only hope that their skill of strength rubs off on me in some way.
On a more professional note, a representative from Barcelona is coming on Monday night to discuss with the local authorities the plan to scale up treatment to 20,000 patients. Fortunately, for us there is need for this type of increase but the logistics of it all is a bit scary. As I have said before we are only treating about 2,000 people right now and the increase will be felt most strongly on the already stressed city clinics. Most of the clinics are working with less staff than required, sometimes by as much as 50%. The situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate with regards to the health care infrastructure. This week the junior doctors were on strike, asking for a 700% salary increase (if you recall the >1000% inflation this is really not an outlandish request) which meant that there were practically no doctors in the hospital at all. The situation with the nurses is similar the salary can not compete with inflation and the pastures from surrounding countries just seems to look greener. On a few occasions student nurses have asked my why I left the US to come here to work as a nurse? When your salary does not cover basic food, altruism does not seem as appealing and I try to make up some answer that seems appropriate.
Again, there is a new member in the team. An anthropologist/nurse/guitar player has joined the Tsholotsho team. He has what I would call a mullet with a dread lock in the middle of it, but I think that is fashionable in Europe, and his name is Feran. He seems quite nice, but his level of English makes conversations a bit challenging. I miss you all and love you!!!!!!!Nancy

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