Onto blog post number 2, and a lot has happened since my last post. Lily and I finally moved in with our host family in Kurland, which is a small township in Crags. In the house there are four other people: Lien our host mom, Sarah who is Lien’s sister, Diveria our 26 year old host sister, and Nathan our 11 year old host brother.
It turns out Lien runs a Kresh, which is a preschool, at her house so every morning Lily and I eat breakfast to a bunch of little kids running around yelling and sometimes crying. All the kids are usually gone when we return home around 4 so it’s a lot more quiet and relaxing in the afternoon. Since Sarah and Nathan are pretty shy I have not been able to talk to them that much, however, they seem, to be getting more comfortable with us here. Even though Diveria is a few years older than Lily and I we have been spending a lot of time talking and hanging out with her. She even wants to take us out clubbing this Friday from 10 pm – 4 am… Not sure how I feel about it but we will see how it goes. Lily and I have a lot cooked a few things “American” foods for the entire family. We made a delicious bowl of guacamole, something that they have never heard of before. Everyone loved it and it was all gone by that night. We also attempted to cook an apple crisp. However, it did not turn out as we expected. It ended up being fairly dry and lacked flavor. We decided to serve it with vanilla ice cream though which gave it an extra kick. Lily and I hope we have another opportunity to cook so we can actually make a full on American meal and a yummy dessert.
Other than attempting to cook over the past few weeks, Patty and I have also been working together in Kurland. Everyday we shadow a caregiver, Maurie, who is part of the organization Plett Aid. Around 8 in the morning Patty and I show up at the clinic where we usually end up sitting around and waiting until it is time to go. We spend an hour or so walking around Kurland visiting the patients at their houses. Most of the time we are only at the patients house for a few minutes delivering them their medication and then leaving. We usually visit the same patients so they have become more comfortable around Patty and I. One of the mornings Maurie’s patients were all sleeping so we ended up helping out at the clinic. We called in patients to the back room where we weighed them, took their blood pressure, and sometime even did urine tests. Even though we only did this for an hour or so I felt liked I learned a lot about how slow the clinics are and how the patients are constantly waiting. While walking around Kurland with Maurie I felt like I learned a lot about the lifestyle of the people, rather than public health. Even though my two weeks of shadowing Maurie are up I feel like I have observed and learned a lot.
I am left thinking, “How can we be healthy?” Maurie asked Patty and I this question after walking through the “shack” area and pointing out the little girl without shoes playing with the trash that was scattered everywhere and a dog eating throw up on the ground. Patty and I just looked at each other unsure what to respond with.
Work usually ends around 10:30 - 11, which is a lot earlier than I expected but because our town is so small we have to make sure we do not miss the public taxis that only come every 30 minutes or so. We get dropped off in downtown Plett where we eat our lunches and walk around for a bit before meeting with Rebecca and Nelson to get another taxi to the Plett Aid office. At the office we usually will have a seminar on anything related to public health such as “What is Development?” and “How does HIV/Aids spread?” If we don’t have a seminar we work on media projects, plan our IST, hangout, or do our workout video “Insanity.”
Next week I am starting a different type of work, rather than shadowing Maurie in Kurland. I will be working at a drop in clinic for students called Mazazambe. I do not really know much about it but as I learn more I will be sure to keep you all informed.