Saturday, 12 March 2016

Being Eighty

This is the blog I may not post.
I've been an octogenarian for 22 days now. I never expected to be one -  'three score years and ten' sounded about right. May be it's 70 + VAT now? Mum made it to 81 and Dad scored 86, and they were both Victorians. Dad emerged into 1888 so lasted quite well for a man of his time. Enough of looking back.
 The birthday cards have been taken down and wait on the dining table to be filed. I'm allowed (by me) to re-read them at meal times. Some of the presents have found their way into ShedYellow, where they will inspire me. Some of the bottles are empty and others have been sampled, re-corked, and put into a safe place. The cakes are gone, but their respected memories live on.
 I had not expected so much love would dwell in the world for a grumpy old man ... perhaps you can see why I have doubts about posting this, erm, post thing?
 I love you all.
PS, the clinic has been restocked and the teachers have been paid ...

Monday, 7 March 2016

Chaos theory?

The village has a new clinic building, larger, brighter and just as busy as the old one. There's an ambulance parked out side and a man to drive it waits for the next call. There's no shortage of patients - this clinic caters for half a dozen small villages - several thousand people rely on its services. The nurse in charge is experienced and there's a young Community Health Midwife who works with her. They have a store cupboard to hold medicines, a maternity ward with ample space for four beds and two autoclaves to sterilise instruments. There's a standpipe in the yard to provide fresh water - and the building has been wired for electricity: good work is done here.
 What's the snag? This is Africa! The ambulance stands idle - without the money to buy fuel.
The store cupboard is empty - well, almost empty - a few Paracetamol tablets left. The maternity ward is occupied by a couple of broken bedsteads. The autoclaves are useless because there's no funding to provide for the installation of electricity. Oh, and the standpipe? The last water bill hasn't been paid so the clinic has had to resort to the well which was abandoned a couple of years ago. This is Africa.
Good work is being done: accidents and emergencies are dealt with, births are aided and the young midwife is busy trying to introduce family planning to the families. Oh, and a volunteer lady comes in to clean and tidy the place - she has a hard job because it's still like a building site.
GOES (that's you people!)  has given the ambulance a full tank of fuel, paid the water bill and arranged for the tap to be locked outside office hours to prevent the water supply being used to wash cars). We've asked for quotes for extending the supply pipe and fitting a tap, sink and soak-away so the supply will be inside the building. We arranged the purchase of antibiotics, and other medical necessities. When we've recovered from that we'll investigate the supply of electricity to the building.
We'll also need to seal the floors, especially in the maternity unit ... and get the beds repaired and ...
We've heard that the nurses have completed a 'Well Woman' survey of the village, and invited to men to attend classes about family planning ...