We got word on Friday that K would be okay, and two of our nurses went in the Friday we got the all clear.
I was instructed to wait until Saturday morning shift, and head in then. I was excited to get back to work, It was now Friday, and I hadn’t worked since Monday night. Plus being trapped in the house was starting to give everyone a bit of cabin fever.
On Friday, I noticed that there was something wrong with my left foot. The top of my foot had a open blister/sore about the size of a half dollar. It was very painful to touch, and any sort of pressure on it, and the pain would become nearly unbearable.
But, I came here to work, not to sit in a house. So I went in for my shift at the ETU. Even putting my socks and shoes on quite painful, but I sucked it up and headed in. We still had a moderate patient load of around 13 or 14, and I’m sure they could have used my help.
Working in the ETU was painful., The gum boots rubbed against the wound constantly when I walked, I didn’t want to get a bigger size due to the possibility of tripping on something and ripping my suit. So I toughed it out and went in and did my shift. After little more than an hour in the ETU I was limping, and as we watched the last of the IV fluids finish administering I hobbled out to doff.
The doctors took a look at it, and determined it was either a spider bite, or I had killed a Nairobi fly in my sleep, and then put on shoes and socks. The rubbing irritated it and led to the wound.
However I was told that I can’t work in the ETU itself until it heals. I was to wear flip flops and avoid irritation.
One day back in the ETU and this thing set me back a few more days.
So after 6 hours of work, I was sent back to the guest house.
Three days of sitting around and doing nothing awaited me. I did what I could to keep my self entertained, movies, some games, went on a couple short walks. But not being able to wear shoes was a hindrance.
I did go into the little town near here with some of the IMC staff. We walked through the market, and picked up a few needed supplies.
The market itself was much fuller than the previous time I had been there, sellers hawked their goods as you passed. You were also hit by a unique smell of dirt, humans, fresh fruit, and unrefrigerated meat and fish that assaulted you as you first walked in.
Underwear, and fruit sellers were next to each other. Women sold cooking oil from empty water bottles. Fresh and cooked fish dominated another section of the market. Chicken burned black, and forest deer sat on another shelf. The crowds surged in this part of the market, having to turn side ways to head any deeper you were passed by small boys with bags of plastic water.
“Wata, Wata, Wata,” They shouted.
We made our way through the block long market, and emerged next to the street. I had bought a bottle of BBQ sauce for 200 dollars (about $2 American) and refilled the minutes on our wifi hotspot.
We all decided to go get something to eat, and asked our driver to take us to his favorite restaurant. The restaurant was a few blocks away. Like all establishments it had a chlorine 0.05% tank outside for us to wash our hands with before we headed inside. It was small, maybe a dozen tables all together with red and white checkerboard table cloths, and concrete floors.
The five us sat there and ordered, and were handed our very own bag of water to drink for the meal.
I had Goat soup and a side of fufu.What’s fufu you ask? It’s a ball of dough essentially. It has no real flavor, and just acts as a mass that fills up your gut.
The African peppers made the whole soup incredibly spicy, I had to take breaks after a few bites. The fufu itself was flavorless and simply acted as filler. The goat was well cooked, but freshly slaughtered, Some of the pieces were the goats actual skin, and completely inedible
The whole meal cost around $5 American dollars. They often don’t have cash registers, and instead just have a bucket where they keep all of the money.
After that we left, the driver knew of a fresh fruit stand that wasn’t too far away from the ETU.
We headed out down the bumpy road. The “not to far” fruit stand ended up being nearly a 40 minute drive past the ETU and consisted of several stalls along the side of the street.
I bought a pineapple, a papaya, and 80 dollars worth of Bananas (Liberian dollars, but I never thought I’d get the chance in my life to say I bought 80 dollars worth of Bananas)
They also had a bowl of live grubs for sale there.
i contemplated eating them, but didn’t have anything to wash them down with.
If anything so I could quote the Lion Kings, “Slimy yet satisfying.” line
We headed back towards our housing and went our separate ways. I waited another day before trying to head back to the ETU. I’ve slowly managed to get back into the hot zone. Each time spending a bit more time in the PPE and gum boots. The foot is healed now, and we have roughly three days left before heading home. All in all, the foot, and K being sick knocked me out of action for nearly a week. During that time our census went from 35 to 12. Now it’s down to about eight.
Only a few more days left, and I’ll be back to the shining Capital of Monrovia, with it’s paved road and and street sign.