Est-ce qu’elle parle seule? Does she talk by herself?
You’re sitting on a mat in a small church building. It’s 43 degrees outside and the pastor’s son has just handed you a small glass of boiling hot, sugary tea. Opposite you a man nods an affirmative response which for once doesn’t need translating. Sat next to him a lady, probably his sister stares into space with wide eyes. Hmm…says the doctor, then the cycle starts again, is she ever violent? Est-ce qu’elle est violente? Hi tidawwis walla?
|Patients waiting at the Health Centre|
|Many patients are brought in in chains|
|The church where Ann also consults|
|With Mariam and Mary after a day at the clinic|
It has been great to be able to be here for a 3 weeks, even though it seemed frustrating to miss even more time at the centre in N’djamena to start off with. I am very glad and thankful that Naomi and Anne were able to spare me at this busy time, I will write more about what’s happening when I get back. It has meant that Mary and Bryan have been able to get an idea of the culture and the care that can be provided before teaching and it has also meant we have been able to see and then follow-up patients and I have seen how they get better. There was one lady in particular who had been repeating the same phrase all day for 6 months. She was insulting people, calling them dogs and donkeys nonstop. We saw her in the first week and adjusted her medicine slightly, the second week she was no better and so we changed it again and then last week I saw her waiting outside, thought I recognised her and suddenly realised who she was. I hadn’t recognised her because she was silent! She shook my hand and greeted me normally. Even with limited resources it’s still possible to really help people!
|A lady arriving at the church in a "rackshaw"|
This experience had made me even surer about wanting to study medicine next year which is good as whilst I have been here I have also been hearing back from the different medical schools that I applied to! I am very excited to have received offers from Liverpool, Bristol and Edinburgh and am really hoping to hear from King’s soon!
|Counting medicines at the church|
Next week will be very different, translating the lessons at the conference from English into French. We did a practice run today, it is extremely tiring. We really hope that the nurses and doctors taking part will understand, be interested and inspired to start helping people with these problems themselves as Ann can’t do all the work by herself. The course will be from Monday to Friday and then we have a 10 hour coach trip back to N’djamena on Saturday, one day before Mary and Bryan’s visas run out! It has been a brilliant opportunity, I’m really glad to have been able to take part in this amazing work.