Monday, August 04, 2008

Last leg of our trip

Today was a long day. We started off at the Dept of Health, reviewing our project work with our guests. The Director was very articulate and I could have kissed him. The meeting was very kan eng, meaning that we could 'be ourselves.'

After that, we brought our guests to the hospital, and again the project management committee gave an excellent report. Then again, I worked with them to summarize and evaluate their work - so they all had their reports ready, with statistics and methodology ready.

We visited the training center, where we are funding a training on fracture management, using a trainer from Friendship Hospital. He demonstrated how to apply a cast and asked the students why he was doing certain things, to apply the knowledge that he had just presented in the lecture.

After a quick lunch, we did a village visit with a child who had been injured in a UXO accident in May. A friend of his had found a bombie (cluster bomb) and our patient yelled, "You shouldn't carry it in your pocket - it's dangerous" and had grabbed it out of his hand and threw it under a house. It exploded, seriously injurying our patient. After a month in the hospital, he can walk with crutches and he's been studying a school book so he can rejoin school in the fall; unfortunately, he was out of school for the whole last month of the term so he'll be repeating this year.

I learned on this visit that the boy who picked up the bombie did not know that it was dangerous. He thought that it was a petanque ball (Everyone in Laos is crazy about this game - it's played with stainless steel balls on a sandy court. It's like bocchi).

The low point of our visit was to one district hospital, where the folks really couldn't present a coherent report. I told our guests that next time they visit, this folks will be better.

We ended up the day back in Pakse and a dinner at the floating restaurant on the Mekong.

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