Nain Statistics

According to a retailer in Nain:

There are approximately 1200 people or less in Nain.

He sells 1/3 the total cigarettes in Nain. His total sales equal $10,000/week.  He sells boxes between $9-12.50.

He sells 357120 cans of pop per year, on average.  That is equal to 124 pallets, 120 cases on a pallet, 24 cans in a case.

He sells $160,000 worth of candy in a three month period.  That is equal to 8 pallets of candy.  Each pallet contains 1200lbs of candy.


Lighten Up and Light.

I am feeling a little under the weather today and I’m taking a day off to rest. Actually the entire team is a little unwell, at least the girls. Typical GI stuff.

I’ve noticed that over the course of my life, especially since starting my international “work” in 2003, people have on occasion told me to “lighten up” about my perspectives on things. I’d like to more closely investigate this. I don’t really mind when people tell me to lighten up, but I would love to understand better what they mean.

For those who know me (well), I’m really content and grateful for the incredible life that I’ve been given. Grateful everyday to this universe. I’ve noticed that for those who know me less well, mostly what they see in me is seriousness. Serious in my work and relationships, not playing very much… being analytical, realistic, pragmatic. (Even though I love to play!) I like to be overly cautious and respectful of any culture I’m visiting; of any new place, new person, or new situation. I feel like through this, I’m showing respect to my fellow human beings. Showing respect to this universe that we’re in.

What does the phrase “lighten up” really mean? To care a little less about what’s happening around me? To worry a little less about inequality and disrespect towards others? To be a little more apathetic about the endeavours in which I’m involved? To let those around me get away with behaviour that I’d rather not be a part of, personally?

Perhaps it just means to smile a little more, to laugh a little more. I love to smile and laugh, actually… of course! (and dance in grocery stores, as my mom can attest to.) Can I not smile and laugh, and still be pragmatic, realistic, respectful of others, careful of my impact… be serious, even? Sometimes I think that people use the term “lighten up” to not try to change my behaviour, but rather, to excuse themselves from their own.

Funnily enough, the basis for yoga is light. Light in your actions, your interactions, your energy, your expression. Creating light, perceiving light, envisioning light. Cultivating light, as I have been doing since starting yoga. Somehow I have to learn how to express this light to those who don’t even know me, while still maintaining the same ethics, caution, respect for those around me. How to do this?

Ego, Expectations and Trees in the Woods.

The trees here are truly incredible. Towering, magestic, weaving wavy paths through the sky. Whenever I feel un-grounded in my time here, I just look at the trees. The trees here feel better than the trees at home. They just seem more powerful and free than our trees. With the exception being trees on the Semiamoo Peninsula in BC. Those trees are just as incredible.

We have run into an ideological barrier in the project. Namely, after screening many of the Upendo HIV Group, and seeing some serious cases, we have come to determine that we are not capable of handling their care. Moreover, we cannot be sure that it is ethical to bring them in for screening, when we cannot fulfill their expectations of care. We don’t have anyone to tell us if our suspected diagnoses are correct; we have no one to instruct us how to go about getting lab tests. We have no charts or files on these patients, or their last medical histories. We have a translator who on occasion, decides not to ask the questions we want her to ask, because she’s tired out (or other reasons). We are in existential crisis as to our reason for being. It doesn’t help that whenever we walk anywhere in town in our scrubs, people say “doktari!” (doctor) and seem to treat us with a lot of respect… stroking our egos for work that we do not feel we are doing.

And so, we do what seems logical: go on safari this weekend and promise each other we won’t talk about work!

This is not entirely true. We are talking nonstop about how to ameliorate this situation. Because we are not learning much, and we are not really contributing much, we are looking into new projects, new ways to contribute, new philosophical foundations and objectives for our time. We are looking for a way to ground ourselves in Arusha. To create the roots for a better project to grow. This is a healthy renewal for MedOutreach and we’re doing our best to make something of the situation. But the safari… we are excited for the moral boost. Pictures to come.

Miss you all, xox Kelly