Between teaching and jet lag, the team is also finding time to explore their new surroundings in Hargeisa. Here team leader Dr Lisbet Hanson tells us about a shopping outing with the fabulous, and very popular, host extraordinaire Edna Adan:
“Tonight Edna took us to the market to buy “her daughters” dresses (Katya, Thao [Ed’s note – Thao is Dr Jeanty’s wife, who has travelled to Somaliland with the team], myself). That is, she bought fabric and now a seamstress will make them for us.
We picked out our own color and pattern of fabric, then Edna bartered until she was happy with the price. She also bought slips to match that purposely hang below the hem of the dress, with a bit of lace resting on the foot.
Everywhere we go, people call out her name and greet her. A police man stopped traffic to find her a parking place. Clearly she is a living legend, loved and appreciated by her country. When paying for upholstery fabric she proudly demonstrated how she could pay for it using her cell phone. No need for cash or credit cards here, which is a good thing as there are no banks in Somaliland and $20 is a huge wad of several 100,000 shillings. One needs a small suitcase to just carry it around! At dinner with other visiting ex pats she sits at the head of table telling stories from her life. It is a very personal, living history of the struggles she and her country have faced. And the struggles are many. Education is not mandatory. The literacy rate is up to approximately 30% since the war, not high enough. Women can vote and hold office. There is progress but certainly much work to do. You sense it when Edna walks briskly down the streets or hospital corridor. She is determined, her life has a purpose. Yet, she claims she has gained so much more than she has given. It is an amazing experience to be here learning from her.
Tonight I am correcting the Gynecology Pre-Test and preparing the Competency List for the course participants. It was geat working with the NanoMaxx Ultrasound system today, a first for me. I love the images and minimum of knobs, it is easily portable and easy to teach beginners on. And the expressions on the faces of the students when it “clicks” and they grasp what they can do – priceless!”