January 21 – Kossuka, 2:01pm
Yesterday morning Emily came with me to baby weighing and ended up leaving atound 3:30pm, just in time to find out that there was going to be a CoGes meeting! Finally! I went and sat around and started pulling data from the monthly reports for 2010 that Sylvie gave me, but nothing actually got going until after 5pm. One CoGes member is going to come take me to meet some people tomorrow, but otherwise I didn't really get to ask for much help, which was disappointing. They asked if I had plans for sensiblizing for the month, and I explained that at this point I haven't the foggiest what I should be working on, but could use some ideas. Nothing further was said. Oy.
And then to this morning. I finally washed my hair and “bathed”, and I can't wait to clean my house and go to the market tomorrow. I went to the CSPS and sat in on CPN's (Consultation Pre-Natal)– one woman came in and was about to go behind the curtain when said she was bleeding. We took her into the birthing room and Salmata explained that she was having an abortion. We got her on the birthing bed and she looked pretty full term to me, and then the midwife said that actually, she's giving birth right now! She barely has time to put on her gloves and get a bucket of soapy water ready for the used instruments before this woman, with barely a sigh, is pushing out her baby. It was pretty intense, and the baby actually looked stuck for a good few minutes, but all of a sudden the head was out and it started screaming like crazy. Despite how skinny the mother was she gave birth to a very healthy looking 4kg (8.8lbs) baby boy. Salmata guided out the placenta and showed me how to check to see that it was whole. Cool stuff!
We finished the CPNs and I was happy to see a middle school student (age 16) come in for a birth control injection. Salamata and I talked about birth control use in BF and the US (I tried to explain that people generally expect you to use birth control but there's also abstinence only education that leaves some students in the dark about options). I would love to get to sit down and talk to her about it more. We also discussed how people end up working at CSPS's – you need your BAC to become a State Nurse (IDE – Infermier d'Etat) but only to finish terminal (12th grade) to go to nursing school to become a midwife or other level of nurse (at least, I think that's how it works).
I killed my first scorpion! I was sitting, reading in my chair and felt a bug on my arm so I turned to look so I could brush it off, but caught a glimpse of something moving on my wall. I said a few choice curse words very loudly, then grabbed my headlamp and heavy sandal, moved my chair, and smacked it. Thankfully it was just a little bitty one, less than 2 inches. They aren't poisonous but the sting still hurts quite a bit for a couple of hours (as we found out from Bridget in Romongo). I'm glad I sleep under a mosquito net! Overall, my house is relatively bug-free so I should count my blessings. I scraped a few termite tunnels off the wall above my stove today and I occasionally find crickets (dead or alive), but I've only seen a rat outside on my garbage pile once and the cockroaches know to stay in the latrine pit. I ignore the spiders who occasionally show up on my ceiling, although the one that fell on me while I was reading I felt totally justified in killing. I encourage the lizards to come inside and eat whatever they happen to find – in fact, I thought that's what the scorpion was at first. (As of now - Feb 26 - I have yet to see another scorpion, thankfully!)