As someone once sang, it’s been a long strange trip. Right now I'm sitting in an Internet cafe in Nairobi, Kenya! The plane rides were murder, but it feels good to be back in Africa. I can’t wait to begin work. I think we have a great team and I hope we can do some good while we’re here. Tomorrow morn we’re headed for Sudan.
The other three doctors flew in from Zurich, Switzerland. Their flight took about 8 1/2 hours, mine was about 8. My plane was less than half full and I had a whole row to myself. Right now they are as dirty and jaded as I am. They said Zurich is a grand site to see, a beautiful place. I'm thinking of flying out of there next time I come to Africa…but I won’t go there with you on that right now. I love you!
When we arrived at Nairobi, we were stopped as the custom officials looked at the drugs and medical equipment we're carrying. Lucky enough one of the local doctors awaiting our arrival came on the scene just in time and we managed to talk our way through the checkpoint. We have two nurses accompanying us and both come from the states. For the one this is her first trip to Africa, for the other she recently spent time in Tanzania and should be a big help. The two seem to really be bonding which is good.
Tonight, we’re all goin to dinner together as we wait for our last team member who'll be arriving by plane in a few hours. The team, once all together, will consist of four foreign doctors, two local doctors, two nurses and two civilians.
I'm drinking raspberry tea and eating homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies as I write this. One of the nurses brought her teapot so we'll be able to have fresh tea each day.
I took a walk around Nairobi today and bought a shell necklace made by a local shopkeeper. I think I‘m getting a tan already from the sunlight; I’ll need to be careful and use the sunscreen. The people of Kenya are very nice to me. Most speak English, so we understand each other, which makes life easier.
Well, the big adventure starts at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow. We fly to Sudan to Akobo, along the border of Ethiopia. The people there really need our help. Our lead doctor said we could see between 1,000 and 2,000 patients a day. We expect to see lots of AIDS, malnutrition, abuse, etc. We'll have some refugees from Darfur as well.
I won't be able to communicate again for a week because we'll be in Sudan and the area does not have access to the Internet and my phone probably won’t work either. Sorry, I know I told you I would have access, but apparently that was wrong information. But I will have a chance to call and get on the Internet on days they take me out of the area and bring me to a city for a rest.
I ‘m heading back to my room in a few minutes. I really need to use the jacks. I need to take advantage of that while I can. I ‘m gonna take a nice long bath, put on clean clothes and eat a nice dinner with the team and we’ll have a great craic tonight. Then I’ll come back to my room, turn in early for a good nights sleep and try to spend as much time in the scratcher as I can. Tomorrow night, I'll be sleeping in a tent, on an air mattress, havin eaten a meal-ready-to-eat and, hopefully, had tea. We'll get water from a well, which will be boiled and filtered so hopefully we'll stay well. Even though it sounds rough, it is luxury living compared to how our patients are living.
I already miss you terribly. Yet, as much as I miss you, it’s good being here and I am ready to get to work. I feel as though I belong here. Working in Africa makes everything so real and what we do really impacts peoples' lives. It's why I became a doctor.
Know that I love you. You have my heart fella. I’ll be looking towards my four-day hollier and you coming to visit me. As much as you worry for me, know that I will be thinking of you and worrying when you go back to sea.