I sincerely apologize for the lack of blog posts, it's been a crazy two weeks! I just arrived back from the third largest village in Botswana, Kanye, which is located about an hour outside of Gabs and where I spent a week with a host family. I have so many pictures to share but first I want to back up a little and talk about Extension 2 clinic where I was working two weeks ago.
Although this clinic didn't have a maternal ward or a child welfare clinic area, I was able to do my first formal interview with the PMTCT Coordinator! Yes, that's rights, I used an informed consent form and everything! During our conversation she explained to me how the Routine HIV Testing (RHT) Program started from the ground up and how the PMTCT aspect is the real success story. For all the responsibility falls on the mother to ensure that her baby is safe and healthy which makes her that much more inclined to adhere to the ARV treatment during her pregnancy. In trying to have women get consistently tested for HIV men stand in the way for full adherence because most of them refuse to get tested themselves saying that they say they aren't "ready" to know their status. Thus, though women are coming in to get tested themselves, if their partner doesn't know their own status, the program isn't able to have any real affect in lowering the rate of new infections because an HIV negative women can still easily be infected if her partner is unaware of his status. Because the PMTCT program is solely between and woman and her child, the transmission rate has dropped to 1% transmission simply because these women understand the importance of preventing the spread of HIV to the next generation--something no man can stand in the way of.
|My group with the OBGYN in the scanning room|
I also got to spend some quality time with some of my nurse friends that I made during my time observing in the HIV-testing and counseling rooms. They would bring me along on their breaks where I met with the rest of my group for tea, coffee, fat cakes, sometimes fries and a lot of freshly made bread and peanut butter. In addition, I received a marriage proposal from one of the male nurses at the clinic. His name was Life, and boy was he full of it! He was quite a source of entertainment for us that week!
Before I get to home stay pictures, the Thursday night before we left for Kanye, my roommates and I went out to celebrate our Motswana roommate Fiji's birthday. From there two of my friends and I met up with another Motswana friend Lera who is incredibly bubbly and energetic. She took us out to a bar called the Cigar Lounge which really turned into a club around midnight. It was quite a night! They played some really fab American music and everyone had a blast. I got to meet some more local Motswanas our age and it was awesome to feel like a part of a scene happening half way around the world from home! All the dancing sure did make me miss Iowa City though.
|The sitting room|
|My little sister Ougafi playing games on my iPad|
|View of the compound area: I lived in my grandmother's house with my sister and cousin. My host mom and her two kids lived in the smaller house towards the back.|
|Bathing with a bucket of water in a tub! Note|
that the water had to be heated in a tea kettle.
|Abigail and I walking around Kanye after Clinicals|
|The waiting area of Mafikhana Clinic|
|My sister Thato taking hot water from the fire to make her bath|
|Walking with freshly cooked (and killed) chicken for dinner!|
|Mma Pearl serving Fat Cakes!|
|Ougafi sitting by the orange trees in the backyard|
|My cousin Kgosi picking oranges|
|Little cousins playing outside at dusk|
|Dancing during a power outage!|
|Traditional wedding decorations at the head table|
|Local wedding reception tent|
|Cooking tons and tons of food|
|Mma Donor and I during my last night in Kanye!|