It’s been busy here in Machui but it’s time to get caught up on the last week and a half.
As I continue working the dispensary, I have become painful aware of the poverty here. Many of the patients look at me in distress when I tell them how much their medicine costs and it kills me to see them digging in their pocket for the money. Most of the medicine is between 6,000-10,000 Shillings, which is less than $6-$10 but that is a lot of money here. Often the patients don’t have enough to pay but the doctors are very compassionate and allow them to pay some of it at another time. There have been times though, when patients could only get some of the medicine they needed or just left without anything. I can’t imagine being the doctor who has to deny people medicine, especially if they are seriously sick.
For the past week, it seems like there has been visitors coming every day. Last Thursday, a group of Franciscan Sisters from India who live in Dar es Salaam visited Zanzibar for the weekend. They stayed in the same house as me so I had some neighbors for the night. They only stayed for Daily Mass on Friday and then left that afternoon, so I didn’t get to talk to them much.
On the same Friday those Sisters left, the Provincial Superior for the Precious Blood Sisters came to visit and for a meeting. She is originally from Germany but speaks English and Swahili. Two days after she came a benefactor of the Sisters came from Germany. From what I could gather, he manufactures tile and roofing. He organized and paid for the building of many of the structures in Machui, including the bell for the Church. He has come back to see what else he can do. He only speaks German, so it has been quite interesting having him around. My head is starting to spin with all of these languages! The volunteer from Germany was still traveling when he arrived but luckily one of the Sisters speaks some German or we would have been in trouble.
This past Tuesday and Wednesday I went into town and I think I’m starting to get oriented, but its still confusing. There are apparently street names but I can’t see any sign of them. Also, many of the streets and shops look identical. This makes finding a certain shop especially difficult, which is exactly what I was trying to do. There are five orphan children the Sisters are taking care of and one of them asked me to take a picture of them. I dropped off the pictures to be developed on Tuesday and didn’t even think about remembering where I dropped them off. Since I went into town with different people on Wednesday, we had quite the adventure trying to find the shop again. When I finally had the pictures in my hand I was at the end of my patience. Seeing the Sister’s face when she saw the pictures made all the stress and trouble worth it though.
Thursday, July 1st was the Feast of the Precious Blood, understandably an important day for the Sisters here. To celebrate, we went to the beach. It was a different beach than I went to the first time, but very nice. Unfortunately the waves were very rough and we had trouble swimming. If you weren’t paying attention they would pull you right under the water. The other volunteer and I returned home sunburnt and tired, but happy after a wonderful day.
On Friday I found out that the students’ vacation has been extended and now I’ll only be teaching for two weeks. This was disappointing news, but I know God has a plan. I’m just trying to keep up with whatever He throws at me.