Monday, September 21, 2009
So, one of the most amusing anecdotes I have from the past few weeks is this:
There's a woman with a child waiting in the queue at the clinic. I ask her for her baby's card number (we number the new borns, believe me, it makes it a lot easier to find their number rather than their name), and she says "571." I look through the baby files, no 571. I look at the chart that has all of the numbers, it stops in the 550s. I explain to her in a mixture of hand signals and broken Xhosa that no such file exists. "What's your baby's name," I ask, ready to write down whatever I hear. She looks at me for a moment, just a slight pause, but it's too long. She shrugs, and walks out.
That was surreal.
I ask myself why that would happen, knowing that I will never get the answer and that I don't want to know it. There are a lot of things that go on over here and I feel that way, a lot of questions to be asked. Why is the free condom container always filled, no one ever taking them out. Why don't some of the TB patients come in as regularly as they should, if at all, especially for free medical aid. Why are the fatality folders so thick. Why this, why that. These questions, let alone the possible answers, can drive one to total disillusionment quickly.
My solution? Thick skin and the knowledge what little bit that does get done to help people around here really does count for something. The pre-school allows me to hear the songs of happy and confident children and this lets me know that things do get better, and that God doesn't ignore any of his children.
In happier news, I've become popular with some of the local dogs, as I've provided them with dog treats. At first they just sniffed them, or thought I was going to hit them as I approached them with an outstretched arm with some weird looking small thing that doesn't smell like garbage, and thus couldn't have been food. Some learned quickly, others must think that I'm poisoning their canine comrades as they avoid me and the treats I throw at them with such stern rigour.
Also, I got to head to Coffee Bay, on the Wild Coast this weekend. Spectacular, you see the images above. It's pretty undeveloped, quiet, and small. It seemed like the last place on earth in some ways, though it certainly isn't.
Well, I feel I've said enough for now, expect another entry this week though, as I try to get better at doing this whole blogging thing consistently.