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Friday, April 3, 2015

April Fools was no joke!

Wednesday, April 1

Wednesday was April Fools day, but it turned out to be no joke. I started the day with a brisk 17 minute walk down the mountainside into the valley for clinic at Clare Valley. Sister Allen was doing an asthma clinic and the staff nurse was seeing babies for immunizations. Once we were in the valley the ever-present breeze disappeared and it was quite hot in clinic. Again, most of the clinic is open air such as the waiting area. We were in a small exam room that luckily had a working fan! Even for SVG it was a warm day in the upper 80s.
Just part of my commute to clinic
 For the asthma clinic there is a long form to ask questions, get the history, determine asthma triggers, etc. It was three sides of legal sized paper and very comprehensive. In clinic this day we saw three children and their mother/stepmother. The woman, who was several years younger than I am, has 4 children and 2 stepchildren. And half of them have asthma requiring inhalers. Sr Allen was able to take a lot of time with each patient and really get the details of history and current asthma situation. It was far more comprehensive than our clinics have time for in the US. We also spent a lot of time teaching and I had fun being silly and demonstrating for the kids the correct way to use the inhalers. A couple of them were basically swallowing the medicine. :)
A lot of the medicines here are similar, but just a bit different
The clinics here seem very supportive of breastfeeding and the Barrouallie clinic even had a sign that said 'No bottlefeeding in waiting area'. The mom Wednesday was still breastfeeding her 19 month old. I think it is terrific this is encouraged and that mothers feel comfortable breastfeeding right in the waiting area and such.

There is so much I don't think I have mentioned yet. I will try to recap a little. They have nursing assistants here, but they call them LPNs. They seem to be a cross between an NA and LPN we would have. They do dressing changes (most clinics have hours for this on Mon, Wed and Fri), some assessment of patients, home visits and seem to have a comprehensive education (18 months long), but do not do skills like Foley catheter placement. The RNs do a 3 year program. For both programs they are paid to go to school! The RN program seems to be a hybrid of our Diploma programs and BSN. The nurses get a certificate however when they pass their final exams and can practice. Each year of school they spend more time in the hospital working and then still have class days. The RNs wear all white with a white cap, but can choose pants or a skirt. I am so glad we don't have to wear white!

After clinic Wednesday, Sr Allen and I ran some errands including taking some reports to her supervisor. She also had to get ready for exams she was administering on Thursday. After this she took me shopping for an umbrella (why did I not bring mine!!! The sun! I'm melting!) and some food to take with me to Bequia. I am in Bequia in large part because they have a lot going on for Easter weekend. There is a regatta with multiple races, gospel music, games like the maypole and more. I will also be going to clinic some with Shamin and Sister Glynn.
Office building and palm trees
After our errands she took me to the wharf to catch the 4pm ferry. I was able to put my suitcase in a baggage holding area and just carry around my food and bookbag. The ferry seating is all open air, but much of it is covered. I chose a spot in the middle facing the rear so I would be sheltered from much of the wind. This spot also gave me a terrific view of a sad occurrence. I noticed some smoke that looked unusual and then began to smell plastic and other smells. It turns out a house in Kingstown had caught fire. Some locals on the ferry found out no one was home and they had to break down the door. By the time the small fire truck arrived with their slender hose, three houses had caught fire and were ruined. It's hard to think of people with so little losing it all.
My ferry overlooking another ferry.

Midsize cruise ship in port

Kingstown - see how steep??

Hmmm, that smoke doesn't look right

Quickly out of control

At least two houses burning here. Some of the roofs are plastic and I could smell it.

The harbor got very smoky.

The fire was getting under control as we set sail.
 The fire shook me up a bit, but I was glad to see it was under control before I left. The journey from Saint Vincent mainland to Bequia took under an hour and the seas were calm.
Follow the fenceline and see how steep the road is!

You might recognize the rock on the right. I took a pic from the other side on the weekend.

This is the entire airport and runway.


De plane! De plane!

Everywhere you look you see beauty. There are so many small islands and pretty boats.

Port Elizabeth, Bequia

I found the Black Pearl! But no sign of Johnny Depp.
There is much more I want to say and post, but with this slow, spotty internet it takes a long time to post pictures. I will sign off for now with my first sunset in Bequia. This is the view from Shamin's apartment. Lovely!


  1. Wow! Except for the fire, this is so lovely. In a way, your posts remind me of what I have read and seen in "Call the Midwife", though the setting was environmentally quite different (do you know the story?). Thank you so much for letting your friends stateside get a glimpse of your fascinating time. I'll bet most if not all of the people you meet are super nice with lovely sing-song voices!

    1. I love Call the Midwife! What a great series! The maternity situation is actually not far from that show! Almost all deliveries are done by nurses in a remote clinic. I am glad you are enjoying reading. I do find the speech here quite lyrical!

  2. I'm glad you know about "Call the Midwife". We love both the series and the books. The true story is remarkable. I'm so glad that you have been blogging!