Monday, February 6, 2012

IST & Hospitals

Sorry about the long delay between posts and lack of pictures. The last few weeks have been hectic. John and I have been at training in Gabs for the last few weeks. We arrived on Jan 22 after taking time to stop and see our host family on the way. Although everyone was not available I really enjoyed spending what time we could with the people available. I guess this means that we will have to make another trip to see them as soon. It is an amazing feeling walking up to the house and having a bunch of kids come running up to me and all want hugs. This is definitely my home village in Botswana. Pearl, my host mom, surprised me with a hat and scarf she knitted. She is working on one for John too. I love my family here.

All in all IST (in service training) was fun and it was great to see everyone! There were many card and board games, swimming, and just hanging out talking. One night a large part of the group went out to a local bar dancing. Apparently John put his dancing shoes on and has a reputation among our group as a smooth dancer. I stayed at the lodge and just hung out playing cards with some of the others. Although it was great fun I wish I could have seen dancer John in action.

Med timeline:

Jan. 22 - At the bus rank in Gabs we had a bit of an overwhelming experience shopping. I felt like I was back in the US with all the choices, bright colors, and people. It is amazing how quickly I have become accustomed to life in Hukuntsi. We were finally boarding the combi (a big van used for public transport) to Mogoditshane and my foot turned on a missing part of a brick in the road. Yup, it’s broken and blew up like a balloon. At one point while sitting in the waiting room I told Nelson (a staff member who drove me to the hospital and has been a great support) that my foot looked pregnant. I got a backslap on the foot, was told not to put any weight on it, and had an appointment made for the following Monday.

Jan. 23 - Nelson brought crutches to training for me (not the underarm crutches we use in the US, but forearm crutches made for people who can put weight on the foot). This is complicated by the hand injury I had in mid December that is not yet healed. So here I am in Botswana checking out the hospitals and on crutches. The regular crutches are not available anywhere in the country. John was kind enough to give me piggy back rides all over the lodge.

Jan. 27 - I got a wheel chair mid day so John did not have to carry me everywhere. Then later that evening John tripped over a rug and put his knee through a pane on the glass door. I was upstairs at the time when Cassie came up to tell me. I thought they were kidding at first since John rarely hurts himself and the irony was high. Haley and Michael stuck with him until a driver took him to the ER and one of our medical officers met him there. After about 5 hrs he was stitched up and good as new although he did pull out a piece of glass yesterday and there is probably more where that came from. Advocates are so important here. The Dr never tried to clean the glass out of his knee. I know in time most of it will hopefully come out but it would have been nice if they had tried to clean it.

Jan. 30 - I had an appt which was long and painful and resulted in the local Dr. suggesting surgery based on my lifestyle and the likelihood of it healing properly without it.

Feb. 1 - US Drs. want to wait 2 wks and x-ray again to see if it is healing properly. I am to go home to Hukuntsi.

Feb. 2 - US Drs. want me to stay in Gabs until the x-ray on the 9th. I moved to a different lodge.

Feb. 5 - John went home to Hukuntsi for a few days and will return on the 8th to go with me to the Dr.

So that is the update here in Botswana. I have to say my PCV friends as well as local friends have been amazingly supportive. My host sister came to the lodge to have dinner with us and has volunteered to help me out whenever needed while John is gone. I also met a couple times with an entrepreneur from Lokgwabi, which it 10K from Hukuntsi, to work on a business plan. She is a very intelligent/diligent young woman who is starting a business that will fill a niche perfectly. It is the little things that keep you going when you are having a bad day or miss home.


  1. Wow, you've really been having a tough patch. Our prayers are with you guys. Hope your Dr. visit is going well.

  2. Wow, I didn't realize the polio crutches were so useless to you! Wow. Reading your blogs always give me so much perspective. I am so proud of you both! How exciting that you are able to make such a difference there, as with the woman starting her business! awesome!

    I'm definitely crossing my fingers on a speedy recovery and sending you lots of good healing energy. I miss you lots and I really love your blog. Even though you are going through such a hard time, I really vibe with your focus on the positive and mentioning the little things that mean so much. And from a psychological perspective, those are strengths that keep you happier and healthier. you rock and you are a rocking inspiration!

    I'm so appreciative you have a host sister!! I wish I was there and able to fill that role! Please tell her thank you so much. I'm sending you all big love, hugs and smooches. xoxoxoxoxox leah