Parties at the NGO

Tonight there are two (update: three!) new entries, again with a common theme:

26 October – Mulanje Second Visit
16 November – Unexpected Dwangwa
26 December – Christmas at Cape Maclear… well, almost.

The social life at our house in the past two weeks has been absolutely mental, if I may indulge in the colloquial use of the word. Work has also been busy, settling DSC_0468into a rhythm of clinical work and some teaching which, although not excessive, nevertheless exhausts me on an almost daily basis. So that’s why I’m a bit behind on updating my blog! But some new entries tonight, hopefully getting them posted before yet another dinner party takes off here. I am loving it though.

DSC_0418Two weeks ago we met three final-year med students from London, Annie, Becca and Caroline (ABC), who are doing their elective here in Zomba. They’ve been great, and have amplified the already significant social life centred on Noel’s house, where I’m also living. We decided that the house was definitely an “organisation”, and strictly-speaking “non-governmental”, so we are an NGO. Conveniently, this also also stands for “Noel Gareth Organisation”! Movie nights (we occasionally get our hands on a projector), dinners, watching the US inauguration at the local hotel (first TV I’ve seen in four months) has kept us busy. Then the uncle of the previous volunteer living in the house, a friendly eccentric Canadian traveller, has been staying with us for a week while fetching and servicing his car in Zomba.

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Sophie, Danielle and Noel – The Three Australians singing bits of the national anthem Me and (a different) Danielle, who is fetching his car from our house to adventure through most of Africa.

And for the past four days we’ve had the pleasure of two Australian volunteers, Danielle and Sophie, friends of Noel’s, living here also, which obviously meant that we’d have a huge Australia Day party on Monday this week. The party was superb – I didn’t have to do anything, but we had a huge “barbie” with loads of meat (bless the Australians) and our smallish place was filled with 25 people. The people in an expat community like ours are generally outgoing and a bit eccentric, and the atmosphere was excellent.

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Danielle, Annie, Sophie
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Annie and Becca
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Noel with new haircut
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Annie and Sophie admiring.

Despite all this, my thoughts are turning more towards the end of my time here, and I am trying to tie up loose ends and consolidate what I’ve done. No new projects, no new tutorials from now on. Typing up and refining notes and activities for the few tutorials I have organised so far is a fairly time-consuming task, and it is my hope that these notes – tailored for a Malawian setting – will be used in the future by other doctors or nurse tutors. Newer projects which have recently started already are monthly or two-weekly visits to Chiradzulu District Hospital, Ntcheu District Hospital, and the psychiatry ward at Lilongwe Bwaira Hospital. There I’m meeting with psychiatric nurses and general clinical officers, trying to support them, encourage good practice, and identify and attempt to modify poor practice. The challenges are great though, and I’m not sure if I’m actually that effective.

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Caroline and Annie
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They made me do the braai again…

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