Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What looks like a 15-passenger van, but sounds like a police car?

November 7th, 2011

It’s a Swaziland ambulance.  I have now taken my first, and second, ambulance rides and I expect many more in the future.

I have gotten permission to work at the refugee camp in my community, which is also the primary medical clinic.  Eventually HIV classes and English lessons will be given to residents of the camp but to start Addy and I are volunteering at the clinic one day a week.

Today was our first day and it was super busy.  No appointment necessary and the line wrapped around the waiting room and went outside.  We have been visiting another local clinic (it’s a 3 mile walk away) that is very, very small, and while they are willing to have us, really have no place for us.  The refugee camp clinic is much bigger.  Today we helped out in the “pharmacy.”  We counted out pills, filled liquid medicine bottles, and ointment containers.  The clinic is always very busy on Mondays and the medications go fast so they really needed us there to fill them up.  It was really nice to have some mundane work to do for an entire day.  Most days we have to literally create work for ourselves so it was a pleasant change to actually be told what to do. 

At the end of the day we said our goodbyes and headed out on our walk home, when one of the nurses asked, “You don’t want to ride with us?”  We looked at her puzzled and she points to a van and says, “We take the ambulance.”  We never turn down a free ride so we hopped in and sat on the gurney in the back.  Aside from the gurney and an IV drip thingy I didn’t see any life saving tools.  But it does have a cool red flashing light on top.  I imagine it would be comparable to a 1940’s ambulance.  The whole clinic is very mid-20th century in looks.  Either way the ride saved me a 20-minute walk, and it actually picked Addy and I up a pervious day when it was really rainy and muddy, so in its own way it’s a lifesaver!!

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