It's "Mr. Cole"

Trip Start Jan 02, 2009
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Trip End Mar 22, 2009


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Flag of Sierra Leone  ,
Thursday, January 22, 2009

So yet another week has gone by in Bo, and finally we have internet again, so here's what's been happening.

Our garden was eaten by goats.  Well, just the corn, but it's still pretty frustrating.  We're not sure who the goats belong to, but they definitely belong to someone, since one has a rope around it's neck.  There are a number of goats around the hospital, but most are tied to something.  Having asked around, we think they may belong to the dentist, who I think we should take to the Paramout Chief, but apparently this is a moot point, since we are Poomoi (Mende for "white/forigener"), and also because in most of West Africa, goats only need to be tied in the rainy season.  The corn is coming back, but the problem is still out there, and threatening them with a machette didn't seem to work real well, so if anyone has any ideas, please share.

I've been doing quite a few days of teaching this week, and so I'm officially known around town as Mr. Cole now.  This is also a bit of a nickname, since "Cole" sounds very much like "cold" in Krio, and I have been very much in the minority of people here enjoying the winter nights here (meaning low of 65F, I feel great, the locals are wearing ski jackets and fleece hats).  My lone CPR manikin and I have now faced down 238 students, give or take, and I've offically taught CPR to more people here than I have in the US.  Februarys challenge will be to teach everyone to wash their hands before handling a patient.

Our social lives have been pretty quiet, since the foundation has only two cars, which have their own schedules to follow, not to mention limited fuel (it's $4 a gallon everywhere here, the price is fixed by the government), and also the fact that there is little to do in Bo, despite it being a "village" of several hundred thousand people.  The event of the week was the Obama inauguration.  We were invited to watch at the home of our landlord, Mr. Idriss, which was nice since TV is a rarity in Sierra Leone.  Radio is quite common, and as we traveled to the house, people lined the streets and clustered around cars, listening to updates from the BBC.  There was a pretty good crowd at the Idriss home, and we snacked on peanuts, popcorn, pumpkin seeds, and a box of cookies, which we brought, opened, and never saw again.  It was a unique experience watching the inauguration from an African nation, as a guest in the home of a Muslim family.  Everyone had their own expectations and doubts as we watched, but there was an overarching sense of good will, and a certain amount of satisfaction watching the proceedings.  As we returned to the guest house, we saw people celebrating in the streets, cheering while hanging out of cars, and dancing next to speakers on top of passing vans.  I couldn't help but smile as we passed, knowing that the world was sharing in our celebration.  How can America not have hope for the future, when so much of it is coming to us from the rest of the world?
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