Forget the football because with only a month to go RACHEL IS COMING HOME. I hope plans for my surprise welcome home party are progressing nicely.
And with just a few weeks to go I have pulled up my socks and am working on finishing everything I've started and everything I haven't yet started (new website I'm looking at you). Ordinarily just the thought of how much I have left to do would bring me out in a sweat, but I’m already sweating, so I don’t even notice, so I am perfectly chilled about it (although not literally because Hot).
Did I mention before that its hot? Well now its major humid too because the rainy season is upon us. And in true late-to-the-party diva stylee it all kicked off with a Great Storm that whipped up so much red dust I couldn't see out the windows and started to wander if I wasn't in Kansas anymore but instead was about to land in Oz/Mars/a dystopian apocalypse. Many buildings across the area had their roofs torn off or completely buckled. But of more note, all my clothes, sheets and towels that were happily drying in the sun got absolutely soaked and covered in mud.
The rains also herald the start of the busiest few months at the clinic. Pretty soon, we'll be seeing people with malaria, and more people with malnutrition, gastroenteritis and respiratory illnesses. This means nearly all units across the clinic will have their hands full with more patients to treat and the ward at full occupation. Fortunately, another doctor is coming out for a few months - taking the total of doctors up to two!
You know they say travel teaches you things? Well, I have learned that in times of peril I clutch my skirts like a Victorian Lady who’s just seen a mouse. Skirt clutching scenarios include:
Great storms with thunder and lightning that is very very frightening and had me considering whether or not to run to my neighbours so I wouldn't face the apocalypse alone.
Wandering round a park with ‘tame’ crocodiles. Apparently they get fed well, so they're not hungry and so they won't eat people.
Hundreds of flying creatures invading the kitchen (and blocking my access to ice cream) and a gecko barring me from escaping outside.
Repeat after me: I will appreciate God’s wondrous creatures. I will appreciate God’s wondrous creatures. I will appreciate God’s wondrous creatures. I will appreci... But surely some of these beasts have been conjured in the fiery pit of Mordor?
In other non Rachel vs Nature news, I am no longer the only toubab in the clinic! I have a fellow foreigner with whom to share my Toubab Tiara with. Meet Anorthe, a student midwife from Germany, who on her very first morning with us, which also happened to be her birthday, helped deliver a baby!
Please pray for her, she is having to live through my extremely experimental cooking. Though I think I’m doing a pretty good job styling like I’m used to life here and know how Gambia works. But there are still plenty* things I am not used to, including:
The abundance of mangoes in Mango season. Currently eating atleast one a day and hoping the yellow/orangeness of it all is topping up my tan (don't tell me this is not how science works, I'm not interested in your facts).
How many people have a daughter / son / wife / husband / father / mother / sister / brother / aunt / uncle etc who died before they were old. Accidents, illness...
Feeling so uneducated. Everyone here seems to speak two or three languages. I only speak one and now a small small* amount of Gambian English.
The difference the rain has made - the dry and dusty landscape is turning a glorious green. I find myself staring in amazement at patches of grass where I've only seen dust. Living water indeed.
Not having a washing machine. Being a fancy toubab my things get handwashed by one of the ladies in the village. But even fancy toubabs have to wash their underwear. May or may not have had to wear my bikini a few times when I've forgotten to do some washing. Also, everything that dries outside has to be ironed to kill any eggs laid in it by mango flies – if not, your body heat hatches the eggs and the larvae burrow into your skin. Am becoming a massive fan of ironed bed sheets (this is what it must be like to be royalty). May or may not have made a massive hole in one of my only three bras when I attempted to iron it (bet this is something Kate and Meghan have never had to deal with).