Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Yesterday was another one of those incredible days where so much happens it's difficult to wrap your head around.

After I got off shift at 8am, I helped my team leader honor 4 Seabees (Navy) who built a giant store room for the Red Cross office right of our canteen. We presented them each with Red Cross coins and a huge helping of thanks.

Then it was off to change and head to the Korean Hospital. When I arrived I sat down at the nurses station and they were excited to see me because apparently at 12:30 they were going to have a female Afghan doctor speak to the female patients about malnutrition. I originally had no intention of staying that late in the day (my night) but I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I ended up spending the morning sitting in with an American OBGYN doctor who was volunteering her time at the hospital. Of the women she saw, most of them had had between 6 and 12 pregnancies and had lost between 1 and 3 children. They came in for a variety of reasons, but the doctor confirmed, most commonly the women came about relatively normal bodily ailments which seemed suspicious because of their lack of health education.

The women had traveled from all over the country to visit this hospital, one girl's visit ending in tears because she had been seperated from her family at the security check point and her family was holding her CT scans and medications. The doctor could not diagnose her without her paperwork and she was told to return next Wednesday. They girl told us through an interpreter she had traveled from about 3 hours away with her aunt and uncle and did not think her father would give her permission to return next week.

At 12pm everyone breaks for lunch and all the women patients and hosptial staff eat lunch together. At 12:30 two female interpreters who work on the base came over to do a seminar on malnutrition. They are both Afghan-American and volunteer their time at the hospital. After the seminar (which was in Dhari- I didn't catch a word :-) the interpreters, the director of the Korean Hosptial and I sat down and chatted about ways we might develop a women's program for the hospital. It was one of the most rewarding experiences perhaps almost ever in my life.

After our meeting, I got back to my Bhut around 2pm and managed to catch some sleep until 8pm when I had to get up for my next shift. On the way to the office we took our first "Incoming" of the deployment. I initially crouched behind a T-wall for protection, but when it seemed safe enough I went to the office to meet my co-worker. The base-wide "Incoming" announcments continued for about 30 mins before we got the "All-Clear". At that point we did a team accountability check and then the shift began!

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