Tuesday, June 15, 2010

tetanus shot and first funeral here

I took 6 children to the clinic last Friday…then realized I didn’t have enough cash on me to take a taxi back to Amani. Luckily, I borrowed money from someone at Amani. After we arrived back at Amani I found out one of the boys, who had just been treated for malaria and who was on antibiotics for an infected toe that had caused him to have a fever of 103.9 the day before, was found upstairs crying with his body rigid while he was clutching at his neck. Additionally, the boy who broke both of his arms had been crying in pain the entire time I was gone. Three of his fingers on his right hand were extremely cold and I was worried that the arm was healing wrong or the circulation was cut off. I decided to bring both boys to the clinic.
After arriving at the clinic, for the second time that day, the doctor gave the boy with the broken arms painkillers and vitamins. He said that the boy with the toe infection would be fine he just needs to stay on antibiotics. I was too scared to leave and I kept asking the doctor about tetanus. Finally I realized he didn’t understand what I was saying so the boy finally said it to the doctor and the doctor finally understood (even though the way he said it sounded the same as the way I said it). The doctor decided a tetanus shot would be a good idea and everything was fine until the nurse asked the boy if he had gotten his needle yet. Of course this child is particularly petrified of needles so when he heard he needed a shot he took off running. The doctor had to help me carry him back into the clinic. I left the room and let the doctor hold him down. After about five minutes he came out…still hysterical…and then took off sprinting down the road. I started freaking out because this child is my responsibility…I started chasing after him and when I caught up I sort of tackled him and dragged him back to the clinic. He refused to talk to me for about five hours after because he was so angry about having to get the needle (he even ignored me when I offered him a soda). He is fine now though and I am happy he got the tetanus shot because it is definitely not worth the risk of saying no the shot and then getting tetanus.
Today, Tuesday, I went to my first funeral in Tanzania. Rovina, the nurse that I work with, lost her father last week. I went to the ceremony with some co-workers…they helped to dress me too. Everyone was wearing bright and colorful kangas…I was wearing a black skirt (I ended up covering it with a kanga though). Rovina’s father had 15 children! The family and many people wear white. Everyone was outside and there were so so so many people. We were standing near a pool table and listening over a microphone (that was working off and on) eventually everyone made lines and walked over to view the body. I wouldn’t exactly call these lines a true line though because everyone was shoving each other and right on top of each other; I was dripping in sweat and feeling extremely claustrophobic. After viewing the body and offering donations, the family went somewhere behind the house to bury the body. Everyone else waited around for an hour or so after which we were able to talk to Rovina and offer our condolences. It was pretty interesting to see but also really sad because Rovina was upset. I would have preferred a wedding to a funeral but you don’t really get to choose things like that I guess (and I also heard weddings are even longer…especially the alcohol-free ones).

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