On Wednesday we went with some of the nurses on a women’s health outreach to a nearby village. After waiting around for some time (had to collect some tea and self evident; a spare tyre) we set off. Drove west (I think?) on small roads. Beautiful scenery along the way consisting of lakes, rivers and hills with field after field of beans, corn and tea bushes. Everywhere people where making bricks out of the sand/clay, piling them up roadside. Seems like a lot of hard, dirty work.
We got to the health centre where some 50 women were waiting. After introducing the outsiders, the nurses had health education. They talked about cervical cancer screening and family planning. Afterward the women interested in getting screened registered and lined up. Quite a lot of women wanted the screening. We had a chance to observe the screening. It was really difficult to see what they were looking for, not being familiar with what a normal cervix looks like… But very interesting! Felt a bit odd not being able to communicate with the women and not knowing if the nurses asked if the women were okay with us being in the room. Not so sure about how I would feel about having a stranger (with whom I’ve got no common language) looking up my vag trying to spot abnormalities… It seemed to us like the women here are quite shy when it comes to their vaginas but not at all bothered by showing their breasts. Also, breastfeeding is not an issue here. Women are feeding their babies wherever, whenever. Different from Sweden and very refreshing to see.
After hanging around more women we’re finding that is it a lot easier to talk to them than to the men. Seems to be less misunderstandings and less uncomfortable silences. The men we’ve spoken to seem more eager to explain things to us or teach us what they know, preferably twice even if we’ve already said we got it the first time.
The nurses we’ve met so far all seem to have a profound knowledge and are teaching us a lot (including some very tricky medical terms…).
On Friday we had planned to do interviews with two nurses. We where there at 9.30, as agreed. When we came to the women’s clinic there was only one nurse working, and there were loads of patients waiting, so we couldn’t interview that nurse. We decided to try to get in contact with the other nurse that we were supposed to interview but she was apparently off duty. Anyway we decided to stay and wait around the hospital to see if maybe we would get the chance to interview at least one nurse. After three hours of waiting while children screamed Mzungu (white person) like thousands of times we got to interview both nurses. Lucky day!
Friday evening was all about transcribing the interviews, eating noodles, drinking tea and trying to cure a cold. Meaning Linda sat bent over a pot of hot water trying to get back to breathing less like Darth Vader.
Also, last night there was an amazing sky full of stars, it looks very different from here. Positively beautiful.