Saturday, 24 December 2011

23rd December 2011

As I reached for the chicken food bowl this morning, I stopped myself just in time to realise that the black blanket covering the bowl was actually thousands of very large ants- all of whom I am sure had enormous biting capacity. I had a flash back from a scene in the Poisonwood Bible (set in the Congo), where the villagers had to run to the river to escape the killer ants that were marching through eating everything and everyone in sight. Mental note to self; put glasses on before touching anything in the kitchen.
Undeterred by the ant invasion, after breakfast I set to finishing a funding application that I am working on with Camilla. It is due in on 6th December and we are hopeful that we may be successful. You never know though so we shall just keep our fingers crossed. The bid is to secure funding to set up further training within the communities for health extension workers and nurses to deliver antenatal care. At the end of the day, we still only see around 20-30% of women during the antenatal period. Whilst I have been scanning women in the health centres, I see women at 36 weeks pregnant and this is the first time they have ever spoken to a health care worker. So the idea of the bid is to not only provide more training but to also support the community workers (voluntary workers) to encourage women to attend the antenatal clinics.

I also had Jaba here at the house with me as I wanted to give him his weekly bath. Here’s a couple of photos of him – the first one has a slightly festive feel to it in that I covered him in a red knitted blanket – well, it was an attempt to make him Father Christmas.

This evening we entertained the five boys from the orphanage, having invited them for a showing of Harry Potter and a pizza. So we rigged up a projector and showed the film on our wall. We don’t quite have surround sound but the BOSE speakers that we brought with us are amazing and you sort of feel like you are in the cinema. I started off by giving them popcorn, cooked with the Ghee that I brought out here and some local sugar. Then they watched half of the film before they got the pizza. They then opened one advent calendar chocolate each and settled down for the rest of the film. I finished off the evening with a cup of hot chocolate each – I don’t think they have ever had this before but they drank it with great enthusiasm.

At 8pm, they wander back to the orphanage, presumably not missed by anyone. I did ask them if they were allowed to stay out and they looked at me as if I was a little mad – they said they would normally get back by 7,8,9 or whenever and that this was just fine. Mind you, since the woman who looks after the house they live in is the very same one that previously asked Camilla to take her 2 year old baby from her and look after her, I think I am inclined to believe the boys when they say it won’t matter what time they get in. I also asked them what time they were fed because I didn’t want them to be provided with food but then eat at our house. They tell me that they have bread in the morning, then injera (the wet flannel pancake thing that is eaten everywhere and tastes pretty disgusting) with some lentils for lunch and then bread in the evening. So I think I am safe to feed them evening times as a bread roll can be used the next day – or perhaps they eat it when they return. They certainly eat everything with enormous enthusiasm when they are here.

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