Sunday, November 30, 2008


Well I'm finally at my destination. Three jumbo-jet rides, a taxi, a night in a mission run guest house, a five hour cessna flight and a ride in a four wheel drive later ... It could have been a lot harder to get here considering I am in the far north-western corner of Zambia.

The mission is a small collection of houses and a largish rambling hospital. There are about 20 ex-pats living here and many Zambians.

The hospital is really good considering the location and the difficulties involved in funding and supplies. It has three wards. Men, women and children. Though interestingly the children's ward is only for kids up until the age of six so there are some very small children in the 'adult' wards. There is an out-patients department, pharmacy and operating theatre. The senior Doctor, John Woodfield from Dunedin, has been here for five years and there is a med reg from Hamilton, who is here for six months. The head matron, Sister Alice from Canada, has been here for twelve years. Rachel runs the maternity ward and she is also a permanent staff member. I share a house with Nikki who is a nurse and she is here for six months.

The rest of the staff are Zambian. There are several registered nurses and many trained nurses (i.e. learned mostly on the job). There are also clinical officers that have practical training and often years of experience but have not been formally trained at a Medical school.

Anyway that's a bit of background. Right now it's Sunday so I've been to church (amazing african harmonies, long rambly sermon that was translated into English but I still couldn't say what the main points were). After this I'm going to pick mangos and maybe eat some/many.

Mmmm mangos ....

Hope everyone is doing well. For those on electives I would love to hear how it's going.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Africa ...

Well here I am. On African soil. Or as close as I can get as I haven't left the terminal building. I'm in transit in Jo'burg, SA. In a few hours I'll get on another plane and fly to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. I have one night there and then another flight in a small plane will take me to Kalene.

So a bit of background. I'm going to work/study in Kalene mission hospital for three months. This is part of my sixth year at Med school.

More info about Kalene can be found at

Well that's it for the first post. I will have internet at Kalene but it is slow and sometimes unpredictable so updates will likely be infrequent.