Saturday, March 8, 2014

Seeing More of Africa

 A few weeks ago if you had asked me how much of Africa I had traveled to the answer would be 2 countries (Kenya and Uganda). Since then that number has doubled as I have been able to spend some time in Tanzania and Cameroon.
Tanzania was a holiday. In my last post I talked about the visitors I had, they invited me to accompany them to Zanzibar, an Island of Tanzania for a holiday. This was a welcome vacation and I enjoyed the history of stone town, snorkeling, for the first but definitely not the last time, swimming, and getting some sun. This was also a great time to catch up with mom and dad and the other visitors without the stresses of everyday life or a pager calling me away. The trip ended with a little stress because as the plane landed in Nairobi a fellow had a seizure, I helped him out and then gathered my stuff and got off the plane. I knew good-byes would be at the airport but we did not realize they would be right on the tarmac. I had to board a bus to head to the baggage area and mom and dad went the other way to catch their flight back to Canada. We hugged and shed some tears on the tarmac and I unfortunately missed a few good-byes as some of my visitors has already headed into the terminal. I guess this prevented a long drawn out good-bye but it was tough. However I am so fortunate to have friends and family who enjoy travel and came all the way to see me.

relaxing at the coast

Cameroon is a trip for work, I am writing this now between writing a protocol for sputum induction and preparing a lecture on V/Q mismatch. I have been here for 1 week, out of a total of 3, working at a hospital called Mbingo. Mbingo is a mission hospital that is growing. They are in the process of opening an ICU and asked if I was willing to come out to help with some education. I have enjoyed the time here and getting to know the culture in this part of Africa. I have been teaching my students Swahili as I keep accidently speaking it so I have decided to teach them a word a day here's what we got so far:
Sawa – ok
Asante – thank you
Karibu – (you're) welcome
Habari za Asubuhi – good morning

Here in Cameroon they speak French or pidgin english so that is awesome. I have no clue what is being said. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences in the cultures of east and west Africa. I have had a chance to eat fou fou and jema jema (not sure about spelling) which is their version of ugali and sukuma wiki which in English is corn mush and greens. These are the staple foods in both places and are similar. There are parts of the culture that are different in Kenya, I have learned,  when visiting someone it is impolite to leave without them releasing you first; here in Cameroon it is like Canada where if you are leaving you say thank-you and go. I am looking forward to getting to know the people here better.

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