The New CuisineThere is a lot of activity around the hospital currently. We are in full swing building a new cuisine building. The cuisine is used by family of our patients to stay in - kind of like a Ronald McDonald House - while their family member is receiving care here. They live in a room and cook meals for their family member who is at the hospital.
|A woman cooking a meal in the old cuisine|
The new cuisine will be in a better location, closer to the main gate, allowing for easier and shorter trips to the little shops located outside the hospital compound. These shops are where food (or at least the ingredients to make a meal) is purchased for patients to eat. This new building will have more rooms, since the old cuisine was often full and people would have to sleep in the open 'cooking pavilion' since there wasn't space for them. The rooms will also have electricity since most people have phones to charge. We hope to have the cuisine ready for mid-March.
Cartes De Sejour
We were not permitted to have our visas renewed a few months ago. That meant we had to begin the tedious task of applying for our carte de sejour. This is essentially a residence permit card for non-Togolese living in the country. The process was, and still is, painful. I think we counted up to 17 documents that were required - per person - to finally be able to submit a completed application. It was a scavenger hunt to obtain three required documents to apply for a fourth, save that fourth document for the official application. Proceed to next required document hunt. Christine did a fabulous job coordinating all of that for us. Frankly, I would have given up and come home! I must also thank Ben Ward (another Canadian who has gone through the process before and brilliantly documented everything) for his invaluable assistance!
|Ah, memories of waiting outside this door on the left to finally|
receive our cards
I will be leaving for Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Feb 5th to attend a prosthetic seminar with Zach Greenlee, a surgical PA here at our hospital. We are hoping to learn of the program they use in Honduras to build low-cost prosthetics for leg and foot amputees. In third world countries, the ability to move yourself around is essential to do even basic tasks. There are no accessibility or support networks. Relying on others means less independence, poverty and loss of personal dignity. If we can bring a viable option to our amputation patients to help make their day-to-day life a little less daunting after losing a foot or leg this could be a huge benefit for many here in our region and up at our sister hospital in Mango.
|One of our young amputee patients|
One of the guys in our shop, a carpenter named Togbe, had a nasty moto accident in early December. He broke his tibia and fibula right above the ankle, and those bones protruded out of the skin and scraped on the ground. While he is still in good spirits, this incident has made me painfully aware of what affect a traumatic injury has on a person who is strong and healthy, a great worker yet has a very long term potential for recovery, let alone losing a foot due to the injuries sustained.
|The hole where the bones poked out and some of the|
external hardware used to secure his joint.
|I stuck a Togolese flag in the top of Togbe's|
external hardware to give him a patriotic
|Logan gave Togbe a ride home after the workers|
received their Christmas gifts.
I'm hoping this time in Honduras will put our hospital on a path to getting a prosthetics program started.
And by the way, any orthopods or orthopedic surgeons specializing in foot and ankles who might want to take on a challenging case... Togbe is your guy!
From The Cutting Room Floor...
Here are some pictures with short descriptions, to give you a quick glimpse into life here in West Africa.
|Tires on this truck are worn right through to the inner casing.|
|Almost 30 degrees Celsius, but this kid was |
bundled up for the "chilly" weather.
These next two pictures are from the Port market in Lome. It's really just a massive flea market but some of the stuff for sale was quite amusing. Click on the pictures to zoom in for a look at what treasures are available there.
|Used microwave oven? We can find you several.|
|Coffee trees are in bloom in the valley behind the hospital.|
They smell great, but some fanatics prefer
|Carrying plastic pipe AND driving a moto at the same time.|
That's some skill!
|The easiest way to drive a Citroen is to put it|
on a cart and pull it by hand.
|The mountain behind the hospital is almost obscured from|
view by the harmattan dust blown down from the
|The view from a mountain trail while on a moto ride, again obscured by the|
|Logan, opposite view from the photo above.|
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