Tuesday, 8 January 2008

January 8th, 2008

I awoke this morning very reluctant to partake in this particular Wednesday. I spent three hours last night proofreading Lara’s report on the Community Based Rehabilitation service, and despite being brain-addlingly tired at almost 11.30pm when I went to bed, was unable to sleep. From somewhere in town (although even through ear plugs it could have been next door) blared a country music riff that would play no more than twelve bars, then pause and loop back to the start. The canine choir were well warmed up, and filling in the gaps. The dread of another working day with only me bothering to turn up for the required hours was heavy. More than a few frustrated words about my apathetic colleagues escaped as I limped my way out of bed in the morning.

It was same old, same old. I was there at 8am. The boss turned up (for the second time this year) a quarter after nine, and the other physio only a few minutes prior to him. They wandered off to different corners of the hospital to chat. I went to see patients on the ward. Blah blah blah, poor me, so it went on.

By lunchtime I was threatening to leave early, to make up for the extra time I had put in the previous day. Lara was very encouraging of this, but didn’t stay to hold me to my promise. I ended up staying longer than I should because the boss never came back from whatever mystery mission he disappeared to go undertake at 11.30am. Instead, I stayed and kept doing all of his work (as I have been for the last month, due to his lack of attendance, grrrr), but the appreciative patients were not my only reward.

Billy, the hospital secretary came by the department just as I had finished with what turned out to be my last available patient. He came bearing stationery supplies (even these are exciting at Kilu’ufi Hospital, the budget is so strained), a white envelope, a small pink card, and a flat cardboard parcel. A quick glimpse at the latter showed it to be a book from amazon.com, the lack of which Lara lamented that very morning! The envelope bore some very familiar handwriting, and unfamiliar stamp and postmark with a US address. Billy watched me get teary at the sight of this, and so of course I had to explain it was from my big sister, Erika, who left for New York just before we arrived in the Solomons. (He was, I’ll have you know, very impressed to hear about her PhD and spectacular intellect, and how she is single-handedly responsible for the astronomic growth of her company in America. That’s pretty accurate, I would say.) The pink card was to allow us to collect, for just $18 (why??), THREE parcels at the Auki Post Office!!!

Needless to say, it was a very hurried bike ride home to summon Steve and go to pick up the packages. Thank you so, so much to our wonderful family for transforming my day! Steve’s mum, Pat, was responsible for two of the parcels, and Steve’s sister Leanne sent the very promising looking (i.e. large and it rattles) third box. (My mum is also worthy of a mention, as we received a big envelope from her yesterday.) They’re not really even for me (well, I hear some things are), but I don’t care, the excitement is just as great. We are waiting until after dinner and a much needed shower to open them.

This was a rather unnecessarily detailed way of saying that we appreciate enormously the contact we receive from our friends and family at home. We get excited over e-mails, no matter how short. We get excited over the Christmas cards that have just started to arrive (thanks Sally and Anna!). The ultimate, of course, are the wondrous possibilities contained in a box. Some of the realities of working in this culture are really hitting home at the moment, but we are so encouraged to receive thoughts, words and goodies from home. Thank you all.

Cheers, Kel

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