I realize that it has been more than a week since I have updated you and I apologize for that but I have not been feeling well. I started feeling sick last week. I felt like I had a cold and took some over the counter the medicine and cough drops that I had brought from home to help my sore throat and my headache. On Friday, I got worse and had a very difficult time sleeping Friday night. I called Raymond early on Saturday morning requesting that he take me to get some medicine. Raymond was convinced that I had malaria although I told him that I just had a cold and needed some stronger medicine than what I had brought.
Raymond told me that I had to eat my breakfast before we left in case they needed to give me an injection. I started to get a little worried when he started talking of this ‘injection.’ I ate my breakfast and then we got in a cab and drove about five minutes to St Joseph’s Clinic. We were seen by the doctor who said that we were lucky to catch him on a Saturday morning. Raymond informed the doctor that I had been sick a few weeks earlier but I had just ignored it even though he thought it was malaria and now my symptoms had worsened. The doctor took my blood pressure and temperature and then asked what me about my symptoms. Using this information, he informed me that I did in fact have malaria. I was not entirely convinced by this way of determining that I have malaria but everyone else who I have talked to here informed me that it was the correct diagnoses. I am still not 100% convinced but I don’t really know as I have never had malaria before and have nothing to compare it to.
The doctor started writing out a long list of medicines that I would need to take and started talking about this ‘injection.’ I wasn’t too fond of the idea of getting an injection and informed him of this. Raymond told me that the injection would help me get better within a day or two. Raymond had malaria the week prior and had to be hooked up to a drip. I went to visit him on the day he was hooked up to it and I did not want to have to go through that so I finally agreed to take the injection.
I went into the ‘Injection Room’ where the nurse was busy putting together the instruments and medicines needed for the injection. I watched the nurse open the sealed needle pouch which made me feel a little more comfortable about the injection of B 12 that she was getting ready to give me. I pushed up my shirt sleeve but she shook her head and said ‘buttocks.’ Oh joy, I thought.
Now, I wouldn’t call the area where she did the injection my buttocks but rather my lower back. But whatever. It doesn’t really matter because it hurt so much anyways. And it hurt like crazy for the next two days. I spent much of my time in bed, either reading, watching tv, or sleeping. And every time I would get up or get back in bed, the area where I was given the injection hurt a ton. Finally, today (Tuesday) the area stopped hurting and I can sit down and get up without being in pain.
I may be 20 years old but I felt like such a baby when I got the injection. Even though I had agreed to receive the injection, I was still scared and the injection itself was very painful. I burst into tears and laid down on a bench immediately after receiving the injection. Raymond acted like a father towards me, making sure I was okay and taking care of all the paperwork and everything. He brought me back to my room and brought me lunch. He checked on me through out the day and made sure I was okay.
I have been taking a bunch of different medicines which were approved my Raymond’s nurse as well as a family member back home who is a nurse. Between the medications and the fact that I am sick, I have been extremely tired and am trying to take it easy. This is not easy for me as I enjoy being with the children at the orphanage and although I know that I need to take care of myself, I am started to get tired of resting this much.
For those of you who might be worried about my health after reading this, please let me put your fears to rest. I am being taken care of very well and my health has improved much over the last few days. I am taking all my medications and Raymond and practically everyone else I know here is monitoring my health.
Now on to happier things. Its going to be difficult for me to put everything that has happened since my last update in chronological order but I will try to put it in an order that makes sense.
As I think I told you, Sherry, who runs Eyes On Africa sent a ton of sewing kits with the reading glasses I distributed a few weeks ago. Patrick suggested that I take the sewing kits around to various seamstresses but I decided that I wanted to give them to the community members. So on my way to the orphanage one morning, I started giving out the sewing kits. They were just little kits with a few different colored strings, a button or two, a safety pin, and a needle – the kind that hotels often leave out for their customers.
As the sewing kits were in little boxes, I took one out of the box so I could actually show people what I was giving them. I had to explain to many of the people that an identical set of supplies was in the box I gave to them. People smiled and thanked me for this gift. I repeated this exercise two more times before I had given out all of the sewing kits. I had people approach me later that day and the next day requesting a sewing kit but I had to explain to them that I had given them all out. At certain times, I had people crowed all around me, all wanting to make sure that they got whatever I was handing out.
It felt good to hear how appreciative the people were and to know that something so simple could make them so happy. Besides being approached by people requesting sewing kits the next day, I was also approached by people who had received sewing kits and wanted to thank me again.
Last Wednesday, all of the teachers and volunteers had a staff meeting. This was a much needed meeting because changes needed to be put into effect at the orphanage. Two other volunteers who arrived earlier in the week were present at this meeting and got an opportunity to learn more about the structure of the orphanage. The teachers were distributed to different classes as to best serve the children.
My class from last year, now in Class One was assigned to a brand new teacher who is actually at the orphanage to teach French. He moves around the orphanage teaching French to the various classes which leaves me in charge of teaching Class One everything besides French. As Mark, a previous volunteer and the guy heading the project to build the new site arrived earlier this week, we have discussed this issue and realize that the class needs a permanent teacher. As a result of this class not having a permanent teacher, the children are not at the academic level that they should be. I bought each of the children a writing notebook and have been working with them on their English and math skills in attempts of helping them reach the level they should be at.
On Friday, the head teacher of the orphanage, Kennedy and I went around to three different primary schools in Hohoe in an effort to collect syllabuses for the classes at the orphanage. Earlier that week, Raymond and I went to the internet café and spent two hours unsuccessfully searching the internet to find the syllabuses. The government and Office of Education make it very difficult to get ahold of the syllabuses as they only distribute a limited number of copies. Some of the teachers were a little hesitant to let us borrow their syllabi to make copies but eventually, we had collected all of the syllabuses that we needed. We sent them to be copied and then Kennedy and I went to pick up some clothing I had made by a local seamstress. We grabbed a much needed lunch and then headed back to the copy center. They still had a good amount of copying to do and I was not feeling too well so I left Kennedy and took a cab back to my hotel so I could rest. On Monday, upon my return to the orphanage, I was happy to find the syllabuses all bound and ready to be used to help the teachers design their lesson plans.
That’s all for now. I am sure there are lots of things that I have left out but I will add them to my next few updates as I remember.