Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gaborone, Botswana: Sick as a dog far from home

It’s been two days since the last entry. Monday we worked on the website contents. I managed to interview some of the staff, take their pictures and write their bios. Everyone was quite excited to have pictures taken. It was a bit chaotic today because one of the students was absent from school for several days was located about 600kms from home. Likeleli’s (fashion design teacher) dad passed away in Lesotho and there was a small prayer service for her. She’ll be leaving tomorrow to go back for the funeral. I left the centre about 4:30 feeling like someone gave me a sound whipping. I went to bed really early and spent the night with what felt like a high grade fever.
Yesterday I woke up and felt like I was hit by a large truck so I decided that I should see a doctor in case it was something serious. I called the WUCS office and they directed me to the Capitol Medical Centre. Dr Shams-Razaghi was very professional and polite. He said that I might have caught a virus or a bacteria from travelling or maybe when I arrived here. One of my house mates was sick last weekend and it sounds like the same thing. He gave me some antibiotics and a pain relief meds. I had the prescription filled and walked home from the pharmacy which was only about 5 or 7 minutes from my house but it was one of the longest walks I think I ever made and I’ve done half marathons. Buying a heater yesterday also helped because it’s no fun to have a fever when the temperature in the house is only about 5C at nights. Hard to keep warm.
Tuesday night was spent mostly with bouts of chills and fever with showers in between. The last of the fever was about 5am today. It’s now about 6:30pm and the fever is back but not as bad as yesterday. I was a bit worried about the medical over here so I was glad I invested in extra health coverage for the trip. I’d hate to be sick here without benefit of a health plan. Fortunately Botswana has a good health care system and the Dr could see me within an hour of calling. Kathrine and Jayanthi called to make sure I was doing okay and to ask if I needed anything. When I’m feeling crummy, I like to be alone.
I went in to work a bit later than usual today although no one was expecting me. Magalika said she was going to surprise me with a visit but I beat her to it. They are all so very thoughtful.
I spent part of the day working on the website content and taking more pictures of student groups. I also took some pictures of various flower arrangements done be students so we can also put those on the website. We are hoping to market them to the general public. Maggie (the floral design teacher) had an order for three large arrangements for a funeral. She had to spend part of the day running around to various florist shops to find fresh flowers. They were expensive because they were retail. The centre usually buys the flowers directly from South Africa but because this is a long weekend, they decided not to place a big order because Monday and Tuesday are holidays and the flowers may not keep that long.
Part of what we hope to do with the website is to let people know that the centre does catering, has a student run restaurant and anyone can custom order flower arrangements. I’ve been taking pictures of the arrangements and I have to say they’re comparable to the best I’ve seen anywhere. Priya is sizing them to put on the website. I showed Jayanthi how to do the data entry in the in the database that I created and she was working on that today. Things are coming together.
Kathy retuned to WUSC today but I haven’t had a chance to meet her yet. She is planning a trip to Johannesburg from Saturday to Tuesday and I said I would go if I’m feeling up to it. I’ve heard various estimates from 3-6 hours. Does Mapquest work here too? If anyone knows the exact distance, email me and let me know before Friday evening – my time which is GMT+2. I have no computer access on the weekends. Sunset happens so quickly here. It seems that it’s light and then suddenly it’s dark. There doesn’t seem to be any twilight. I lived about 5° N of the Equator where day turns into night pretty quickly and I’ve lived in Winnipeg where the sun sets at 10pm in the summer. The difference is remarkable. I wonder if it’s the same in the summer? I’m going to have to check when I go home.
Tomorrow I’ll take some Maple Leaf pins I brought from Canada. I got them from the Department of Culture and Heritage. Well I didn’t get them myself. That was one of the tasks that my husband Robin did for me while I was frantically trying to pack and get ready.
Today I talked to my parents on Skype for FREE. Yes it’s actually FREE. For those of you who are paying astronomical cell phone rates or for family who are getting ripped off from phone cards back home, you should try this. Skype to skype is totally free anywhere in the world. There is a bit of a delay sometimes but you can work that out during the conversation. It’s easy enough to download and use. My parents who have never used a computer are now using it and they were pretty excited when they could actually talk to me. Sharm (my daughter) set it up for them. They even have a hotmail address. That’s a total endorsement of lifelong learning. I also talked to Sharm but didn’t get to talk to Sahana (my younger granddaughter) because she was watching the cartoon “Dora”. Now I just have to convince Sunita and Subhadra (my other daughters) to download the program so I can talk to Izabel (my older granddaughter) who misses me and won’t be satisfied to talk to her Auntie Sharm. This blog may seem a bit unorthodox with me writing about my family but that’s part of the experience – missing them and trying to find creative ways to keep in touch so the stay doesn’t seem so lonely. That’s the difficult part of being so far away. You can’t just jump on a plane and be there in two or three hours. I’m going to have some supper and do some light reading. All together a full day for someone not feeling well.

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