Tuesday, 11 May 2010

My first week in Makeni

I have been 'up country' as it is described in Selonian for a week. The climate is much hotter than Freetown which is on the west coast with atlantic seas. I have been at the Midwifery School since last Wednesday with my first teaching session on the female pelvis with 10 minutes to prepare!
The next day I worked with another midwifery tutor where we did some revision classes for student nurses doing their 'midwifery' module. We did the breast and the male reproductive organ - guess what I had to draw on the board!! Yep you guessed right.
I had a tour of 4 midwifery establishments and the Primary Health Department - which manages health for the Bombali district. Makeni is situated within this district.
Some hospitals are run by religious groups and some by the government. Government hospitals are providing free health care for women who are pregnant or lactating or both and children up to the age of 5. The faith based hospitals at present do not fall into the category of offering free health care - this may have some implications if women prefer to receive free health care in the government hospitals.
My accommodation is temporary and I am going to move to a bigger, cleaner house shortly.
I was woken at 4am by a cockroach hanging off my right wrist. I shone a torch on it and in its fear - it bit me - I have a wound to prove it. I sprayed it with insecticide - but it is not unusual to have 10 dead on the floor in the morning - I spray my room first thing in the morning. But this cockroach must have got into my mozzie net!!
I am learning to barter for goods/food in the markets. They are colourful and sell just about everything if you are prepared to take your time and ignore the crowds. There are really smellie fish markets and I have never seen so many flies!
I also get around using motorbike taxi's and as I have only once - aged 15 - been on the back of a bike - this is a bit of a novelty. I keep telling the drivers to go 'slow slow' but it does'nt make much difference. Still it saves a long hot walk to where I need to get to.
I have met a few other NGO's and VSOers and have been introduced to several other expats - all good fun!


  1. Thanks for the update - it sounds like quite an adventure! All well here. Weather still a bit chilly for May! David Cameron, our local MP here in Witney, is now Prime Minister. Hope you get to move to your new house soon.

    Lots of love, Becky xxxxx

  2. Hi Alice! I don't think I could handle a cockroach on my wrist!! yikes! Hope you got my e-mail about the coverage we got! It was really great news!
    Also, The Practising Midwife contacted me and hope we can do an interview type article with you talking about why you went and reflecting on your experiences...exciting opportunity if you are keen! Let me know what you think. We could do it over e-mail fairly easily I am sure.
    Thanks Alice - enjoy your teaching and drawing on the board!
    Simone Lawson - VSO UK Press