Hello world!

Well I have officially failed to save Africa overnight.  We missed our first deadline at the end of last week.  It isn’t a huge deal,  but we need to demolish a house to make space for the new building, so we need to take out the electrical, so the residents (of this long condemned building) have to be moved.  The people weren’t contacted soon enough so our electrician was working with the cardiac team (more on that later) when we wanted to take the electrical out.  So someone else will and we’ll catch back up–this time.

Anyway, after two weeks, my everyday live has gotten more figured out.  I am now doing almost all my meals myself (at about a third the cost) and only paying for the meals which a family puts on (good home cooking and great company).  I can make myself dinner for less than a dollar, which isn’t too shabby.  Still on the home front, I have figured out the hot water which makes showers much nicer.  

At work, we have opened the contractor’s bids for the project, and this Thursday, we will see the analysis from our quantity surveyor and pick one to begin construction February 1st.  I get to use the time in between to study the plans (in their entirety, they have only sent me the layout blueprints and not the technical blueprints so far) and ask every question I can think of so that in the future, I’ll be able to answer everyone else’s questions.  Thusfar, I have two basic activities at work asking questions about how systems work, and keeping records of our commitments and asking how the follow up is going.

Asking questions is something I’ve done a lot around here.  Most of the people I hang around with are missionary doctors so they are smart, learned, and apply it to their lives.  After asking a bunch of questions and commenting on this fact a med student friend of mine here said “you’re going to love it here”.


A quick summary of the rest of my week: 

Each weekday I wake up at about 7:00 to work from 8:00-5:00, but with Chai Time (they drink a lot of chai tea around here) in the morning and a long lunch, my official work week isn’t even 40 hours.  After work, there is usually a volleyball game I might go to, or I’ll read, or try to start an online class (I tried “economic growth” from MIT, but the math syntax was too technical to work only off the slides.  Saturday mornings, I volunteer in the infant ICU and get to work with any sick orphans we have.  I fed and cleaned an infant for the first time, and was useful maintaining and cleaning their homemade incubators.  In the afternoon, I try to read and take a class, though this week, I gave some newcomers a tour of the hospital using my new maps.  On Sunday, we have church in the morning (relatively westernized as it it’s only two hours long), then I’ll have lunch with a missionary family, followed by ultimate Frisbee and then coaching “bible quizzing,” a bible familiarity game focusing on a chapter or two at a time.

Uniquely, I got to spend the today in the surgery “theatre” today and saw open heart bypass surgery, an exploratory lacro-something-or-other, and a code.  To hear about these, you will have to go to my blog at toddhelps.wordpress.com which has more of the details of life for me here.  

I’ve attached a picture of me in scrubs that I borrowed to get into the operating rooms.  I felt ridiculous wearing a belt just to carry around my multitool and multimeter, but at least I was able to help a little.

More to come on the blog.



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