Written Sunday, June 30
First day of working in the hospital and first weekend in Diriamba: both a success.
So we got to work at 8 am, and the first person we met was the adorable front desk lady named Veronica. She was so helpful and went to get Sor. Sonya. Sonya is a nun who is in charge of admin stuff (did I mention that our hospital is half run by nuns?). She took us around the hospital for kind of half of a tour while Harold (Head Technician/Only Technician) cleaned the maintenance room. Then Sonya dropped us off in the supply closet with a lady who talked 99 mph about her grandchild who had just been born, and someone that she knew that lived in America, and 9/11 and lord knows what else. I understood 50% at the most. And 25% of that was hand motions. Then Harold was finally done and then actually just wanted us to work in a different room. So he lead us up to a random table near the admin offices and just brought us equipment one at a time. The first was a centrifuge. He plugged it in and turned it on and it shook and spun all over the table because it was off balance. But Charlotte and I, being the eager beavers that we are, dove in and took it apart immediately. Through much testing and running through ideas, the test tubes were different weights and that was the problem. So user error, which is the most common problem, but it took a while for us to slow down enough to realize that.
Either way, it counts as a fix! Then we were given an autoclave and OH BOY. Basically we are NOT even CLOSE to skilled enough to fix this. It’s full of water so we can’t open the door. But the reservoir is empty so we can’t run it either. Basically the water gets trapped in the chamber so when you open it water rushes out. But after Harold cleans the pipes it works a few times and then it’s back to the regular problem. So we emailed someone in America who gives autoclave advice. Yes, those apparently exist. And we are hoping to hear back from them tomorrow. We played the “I’m volunteering in a third world country” card, so hopefully that helped too.
Then we left for our lunch break, which is an hour long. We had no idea what’s in Diriamba. So we begin walking aimlessly and find “Taco El Reloj” and eat there. Then we swung by a bread store for desert. To give you an idea of our meal: I had two tacos for a total of 30 cordobas, then a cupcake and a bottle of coke for a total of 22 cordobas. So for 52 cordobas, aka $2.12, I had lunch, desert and a drink. In America, the bottle of coke alone would be that much almost.
Come to find out later, our host family actually provides us lunch daily. So we had our lunch for dinner. Which was this AMAZING potato salad served over lettuce with rolled up bologna in it. Our family loves bologna.
After lunch we went back to the hospital and took some inventory. We really only covered the maternity ward so far, but that was a job in itself. They apparently have 4+ babies born daily and only one working infant warmer, one working phototherapy light and no working incubators. The rest of the equipment in the room is broken and just taking up space. Not for long though, if Charlotte and I can do anything about it! #CharlotteAndHannahSavingBabies
Then Saturday we met up with two fellow EWHers who are stationed about a 30 min bus ride from us. So we met for pizza and then headed out to the beach. It’s going to be so great having them nearby to hang out. I love Charlotte to pieces, but I know that we will both be ready for some new faces after spending every moment together.
Sunday (today) we did nothing. Charlotte slept half the day and I read a book and a half. I finished the last half “Gone Girl” and then read all of “Lucy in the Sky”. Both were FANTASTIC and had crazy plot twists and endings. My fave. And that about sums up our entire day. Besides eating and going to the supermarket to buy toilet paper and lollipops.
And tomorrow starts our first full week! No, literally the first full week of the entire program. Even last month when we were taking classes, we had Fridays off of class to go visit hospitals. This will be a five-day streak of trying to fix as much as we can! Here goes nothing…..