Thursday, December 8, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Now that my training is all done I think its ok to share my projects and what exactly I’m doing with all the fabulous tax dollars I’m sucking up over here.
Sorry for not sharing sooner, I really want to make sure that I only included projects that I think have a decent chance of success. I also needed to hear from Peace Corps that everything I’m doing is stuff they will support.
So I’m dividing my time between four main areas
My job description lists me as the “Safety and Quality Volunteer,” which means that sit around and think of things the hospital could do to improve our patient care. How to do this?
- I have revamped each flow sheet on the patient chart to minimize documentation, maximize patient care, and provide a more accurate clinical picture of the patient.
- Providing continuing nursing education by facilitating peer-led education talks with morning report
- Trying to get a better lab point of care system donated
- Revising outdated policies
- Beginning a hospital chart audit and data collection system
- Forming a Quality and Safety committee to function after I’m gone
- Wrote a few grants in order to get a youth friendly service center started and the staff trained (think Planned Parenthood in America.) This is my biggest project and the one I am most excited about!
- Hospital staff volunteers will be trained in soap making as an income generating activity and to provide soap to our patients (this one isn’t off the ground yet, and yes, I DO know how to make my own soap now.)
My job description at the University lists me as the “Clinical and Skills Lab Coordinator.” This one has a lot of potential! I’m going to be in charge of the nursing school skills lab and helping run the patient simulations. The rest of the job is sort of what I make of it, but it will involve placing the nursing students with good clinical experiences, monitoring their progress, and evaluating their work. I think I’ll be reading lots and lots of care plans!
I’ve also done a little lecturing, most recently the reproductive system. That one deserves its very own blog post….
Private Hospital in the City
They are opening an ICU, the first that will be to true “western” standards. My job for the past few months has been to train the nurses in Critical Care. There is no such program in the schools, so we were starting at square one here. I helped to form a relationship with the government hospital, which has a high acuity unit that we can train in and observe for learning purposes.
My village chief was kind enough to give me a nice long list of things to do.
- Build them a clean water source. Looking for funding for this now. *
- Find a way to treat their current water source
- Help facilitate their fish farming endeavor (yep, that’s right, I know how to fish farm now as well)
- There’s quite a few more small projects but since I’m not sure they are going to get done I don’t want to list them
Ok, so the fifth area is my house and what I want to do just for me.
- Get chickens
- Get a goat and make goat cheese, but at least just own a goat
- Start a beehive. Just received training on this and it seems totally possible. Not to mention a certain crazy friend is beekeeping in downtown Atlanta, so I always have her as a resource and motivator.
- Build a brick oven to make pizzas in. Hoping special man friend is going to help with this one. Construction isn’t my greatest asset.
- Still working on learning to play guitar and failing miserably
- Make time to read!!
- Possibly learn Chichewa, which I am STILL failing miserably at.
Wish me luck. I’m down to less than 2 years to get all this stuff done; a fact that sends me into a sweaty-palmed panic. I may not sleep until 2013, but at least I’ll be productive!
* You guys knew that eventually I was going to hit you up for money. Well I won’t quite yet, but it’s coming. You’ve been warned.
Monday, September 26, 2011
I should have given a little warning about my current absence from the blog. In my defense, I didn’t do a very good job communicating with anyone about it, including my very own mother who just emailed me the following:
The Peace Corps requires so much official notice when we travel like supervisor signatures, landlord acknowledgement, office approval, blah blah.. I wish they would just generate a nice little official notice we could send out to everyone. Turns out if you aren’t around for a few days in America everyone just thinks you’re working hard, maybe just being a little anti-social. Here, if you’re not good about warning people and go missing you get emails about lions and disease. For the record, I haven’t seen a lion, and I’m pretty sure that because THERE ARE NO MORE LIONS. Ok, the disease scenario is slightly more plausible. I did manage to get mange, which is evidently almost impossible for humans to get, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got another worm, actually, I’m positive I have another worm. I promise I will get around to taking care of it.
So I’ve been in the mountains training for two weeks, then to the city for more training only that was me conducting the training. Then, across the country for a music festival at the beach with special man friend, then back home for a few days, then back across country with special man friend for safari. Here is a visual representation for those of you that didn’t get that the first time.
Sorry its so enormous....
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Gone are the days where I can just hop in my car and drive wherever the wind, or traffic, may take me. It still shocks me how much a car can change you life, change everything about it. I’m proud of myself that I manage to get around without a car, get around quite well actually, and even manage to navigate the public transportation system fairly well.
All my smugness and self-satisfaction got blasted right out the window the other day when I had to haul the puppy, no longer a small puppy, into the city to be seen by the vet. I had put it off getting the immunizations for long enough, possibly leading to his afore mentioned illness.
Simon and I woke up yesterday morning around 4:30, had our breakfast, packed our lunches, and left home around 6:15am with plans to arrive at pre-arranged transport at 7am. It normally takes me 25 minutes to walk there…. turns out, dogs slow you down. Especially dogs that still don’t understand the concept of a leash. Now we’ve been practicing our leash training by prancing around the house with it; we had even graduated to walking around the house with it. Nope, not the same as a 25-minute/75-minute walk. In fairness, he didn’t pull that much. He did however cower and shake uncontrollably every time a chicken came within 10ft; there are no less than 11,23,820,982,309,823,948,203,948 chickens walking around my village. He’s also refuses to walk if there are cars, people, large rocks, holes of any nature, big sticks, and strong breezes.
Over an hour later we arrived at my friend Diane’s house who had graciously agreed to let us ride along with her to the city. How does Simon thank her? By vomiting profusely all over me, the seat, the car floor, her coffee cup, and himself.
As previously agreed, we were dropped off on the street where we could take a public bus to get to the vet’s office. Important point: Many Malawians are terrified of dogs, even 7kg dogs like Simon. They are even less impressed with vomit-covered dogs. Can't say I blame them.
The bus dropped us off in the middle of the market in the largest city in Malawi. It took exactly 0.2 seconds for me to understand that Simon was absolutely, under no circumstances, going to walk through the chaos. So into my arms went the vomit dog; not that it mattered since I was equally covered. Just six blocks to go!!
I suppose I should have expected this, since I’m not the picture of grace and poise normally; but, of course, I fell, crashing to the ground with a shriek, still clutching the dog high in the air so as to avoid crushing him. Skinned both my knees, which started bleeding like slaughtered pigs (believe me if you haven’t seen this in person, its gory).
5.5 blocks, after Simon desecrated a churchyard, and peed on a Malawian’s shoe, I limped into the vet, caked in blood, vomit, and despair.
Simon is now vaccinated.
The vet says I need to return in three weeks for the second round of shots…
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
So I spent a little time looking over this circuitous blog and realized I haven’t ever actually mentioned what it is I’m doing over here. Were you guys just going to let me never say anything?
I’m sure wandering blog passerbies begin to read this and stop, scratch their heads and think “wait just a second, this is the best and brightest from America? Well, to her credit she did figure out how to get an image into a word document, draw on it, export it to a PDF file, and then upload it onto the Internet system comprised of gerbils, wheels, and bits of copper wire. If she can do that she must be doing something outrageously smart and productive.”
Well I’m here to burst your bubble. I made Alex the IT/Engineer guy help me with the spider picture. I took him away from his incredibly busy and important job help me free hand draw a pencil. Thankfully Alex has developed patience and tolerance for me.
Ok, so what am I doing?
Well I’m not going to say quite yet, and here’s why. In three weeks I will FINALLY be done with my orientation phase of this process. I’ve spent the past few months lurking in corners with a chewed up pen and a notepad that Simon peed on asking lots of questions and furtively jotting down such notes as, “man with short tie wants new office” Are new hospital wings expensive? Woman with puff sleeves requests chocolate cake at next training session.”
In three weeks I will give/acquire/be assigned a very important job description complete with my full name, bullet points, and lots of legalish jargon. I promise to dedicate a whole, very adult, blog entry to my very adult job that I’m doing over here. Rest assured, I am working hard over here at more that just Microsoft Draw.