Saturday, October 28, 2006

I think it's a fit!

well, I finally got to a computer. I'll update what Ben wrote last.
We've now had a whole week here, and we feel very welcomed by the
missionary community. We are, right now, eating popcorn (with our
choice of flavour) and about to watch a movie, for Friday night movie
night. We're really not suffering.

We've had three days of English lessons so far, and after today's
lesson I have that wonderful good class "high". I teach at the
hospital, in what is the lobby area in the OR building. There are 12
beginning students, mostly nurses and hospital admin, who are just a
blast. Today we learned the alphabet, and they actually sang the
alphabet song with me. It was great.

I also have a one on one lesson everyday with a advanced students,
named Benjamin. It's great to talk with a local who can explain local
things to me.

I also have the great, "I did laundry" feeling, as I figured out how
to use our very manual washing machine, and we know hove clean clothes
after wearing dirty ones for quite a few days.

The hopital staff has figured out how technical savvy Ben is, and
they're putting him to work, trying to figure out some of the
hospital's machines. (he manages to find an 'on' switch that others
couldn't seem to find)

I'm sure Ben has said it, but the weather here is fantastic, never too
hot, and a lightning show almost every day.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Well, we`ve gotten a chance to see a bit of the city here, and have
really enjoyed how nice everyone is here. What little portuguese we
thought we had learned now seems quite insignificant, and we´re
realizing what a battle we have ahead of us in learning enough to get
by without someone to translate for us.

I´ve seen the hospital, which just actually opened last week, and has
its OR opening this coming week~... pending successful instalation of
the backup autostart system for the generator. The power frequently
goes out (sometimes due to lightning strikes, but usually because it`s
been cut). This dry season was quite dry, and there isn`t enough
water in the hydroelectric system to provide more power. It`s pretty
much impossible to predict, though, as to when you`ll get your 4 or so
hours of power for the day. Fortunately, we do have a generator,
though, and have even managed to puzzle out a system in how to use it
occasionally, when we need to get our refridgerator below room
temperature for a while.

On friday, I sat in on a whole ream of consultations with patients,
and consistantly had my little anatomical and physiological knowledge
tested by an ever educational Dr. Foster. I´ve been finding myself
longing for the textbooks carefully hidden away in boxes back in
Canada - even though their weight would have been quite prohibitive.
Oh, well, I´ll see what medical books I can borrow from downstairs to
satisfy my curiosity\poor recall. Even though it`s only been the one
day in the hospital so far, I´m fairly certain that I definately want
to go into medicine (if there had been any doubt). I can´t wait until
the OR is functional, and I can hopefully see\help with some

Julia will be teaching English at either one of or both the hospital
and the seminary with Peggy, a friend of the Fosters, visiting from
Toronto. At this point, we don´t know exactly who at the hospital she
will be teaching (nurses, guards, maintenance...), so she may have to
brush up on a little medical vocab herself.

It`s been a good thing that she`s had the past 4 years to get
desensitized to gory\detailed discussions about injuries and
operations, because there are pretty much no holds barred over the
tables here, when doctors get together. I love it, and she seems to
be surviving remarkably well.

The guesthouse we have is quite spacious, by our Japanese standards,
though we will be likely sharing with another STA (from TWU,
apparently) in November. There`s still plenty of room for that, with
another bedroom still spare.

Below us live 2 American doctors (one who has finished his residency
already in surgery, and the other who still needs to finish hers.
It`s been great getting to know them, and their help has been

We´re a short 10 minute walk away from Dr. Foster´s house, and about 5
minutes from the church (in Portuguese, of course). We´ve also met
Dr. Collins (an opthomological surgeon), whom I believe we read about
in a book that a friend of Julia`s lent us in Botswanna, - God,
Medicine & Miracles, by Dr. Daniel Fountain. It was quite an
interesting read, written by a doctor who lived in the Congo for
years, and worked with Dr. Collins there too.

Oh, well. More later - I`m running out of time here!


Friday, October 20, 2006

We've made it!

After much time, in transit and waiting for transiting, we've finally
made it to Lubango, Angola. It'll be nice to get doing what we came
here for, and we're both eager to get at it tomorrow. It's quite
amazing seeing the huge difference between the countries that we've
seen - Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola are all quite different
in terms of people, development, sanitation, and weather. The weather
here is much cooler, which is quite nice. We'll do a more thorough
update when we can get some time in a internet cafe in town.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We're Off!

So, we're off as of tomorrow morning 9 AM to play hopscotch all the
way to Angola. We're both eager to get on with things, now that we've
had some time to relax (& get used to the heat).

Monday, October 16, 2006

On to the next Adventure

We're back in Gabarone, and will leave on Wednesday for Angola, arriving on Thursday.
Victoria Falls was great. What I love about the falls is that you cannot capture it in a picture.. it's too big. You cannot recreate a virtual experience of it.. you can only stand at the edge, looking across the gorge and see the thundering water pounding down, only to hit with such force that it sprays back up in a wonderful, refreshing mist. We had a close encounter with a family of baboons, as one of the younger ones got too close to us and starting crying out, the big pappa baboon saw me as the potential danger and charged at me, making me back up as I bowled over another visitor. I was almost shaking, it came at such a shock. The pappa baboon seemed satisfied, and we had no other problems, but needless to say we walked back and took a different route to find the exit!

That was our only animal issue. Otherwise animals were pretty non agressive and docile. We faced "agressive selling" in the market in Victoria Falls. Ben and I tag-teamed, and were able to get what we wanted for fair prices. I won't say what we got.. cause Christmas is coming.. tee hee.

Not sure when we can update again, but it will be from Angola.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Having a great time..

Hi everyone, well, we still can't show you pictures, but that doesn't mean we haven't taken some amazing shots. We're in Kasane, near the Chobe National Park. We left Gabarone on Oct. 3rd, and went to Maun where we had an overnight mokoro ride. We didn't realize that there would be a walking safari in the intinerary, so were were unprepared with our flip flops and brightly coloured shirts! We saw some zebra and gnu though. Otherwise uneventful we left Maun and went to Nata where we took a quad bike tour near the big pans. (they don't let the quads actually on the protected pans) but it was fun to do donuts on the flat areas! So now we're here, and yesterday we went on a morning game drive and saw a lepard, lots of bushbuck, baboons, a couple crocks, and a heard of elephants bathing in mud. In the afternoon we went on a game cruise and saw a bunch of hippos, cape bufallo, a mother crock laying on her eggs, and a ton of elephants. We were lucky enough to be sitting on the front of the boat, and so were about 3 meters away from elephants sometimes!

Tomorrow we head off to Vic Falls, and then it's back to Gabarone to get ready for Angola. It seems kinda funny to do all this playing before we get to work, but we've been able to get over our jet lag, get accustomed to the heat.. well, I am. Ben seems to have "northern blood" in that, he's having trouble in the heat.. at least there are pools where we are staying! (He also is very aware that the pools would not stand to Langley standards.. that's what you get for being a life guard for so long!)
All this spare time we have also makes us antsy to get to work. It's been 2.5 months since we've had a regualr work schedule, and we're looking forward to contributing to something again!

Thanks for your comments, and hope you Canadians had a great Thanksgiving!