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May 2015 – A very odd shopping list

I contact the paediatric department and offer the luggage space.   The shopping list they come back with is not at all what I had expected.   Antibiotic and antiviral drugs yes but the rest seems very basic.

  • Digital thermometers, for all staff to carry in a pocket
  • Needles and syringes
  • Urine testing dipstix
  • Some recent editions of the British National Formulary for Children

What shocks me more is the request for scissors, the sort that we would normally throw away after single use for a minor op, they will re-sterilise and use again.

I’m doubtful about the request for potassium permanganate crystals to make up into solution; this can be explosive so I’m not convinced that in these days of heightened security, it’d be a good idea!

They would also like good quality bright clothing for young children.   Malawian mums don’t do pastel shades; I know this from knitting bonnets for prem babies to send out.   Also toys as play therapy.

Bonnets for premature babies
Bonnets for premature babies

Another advantage to Dave coming with me is that he starts to look at the cost of flights to Blantyre.   We’ve agreed we will go in September, which the way things are going from an organisational point of view is probably just as well.   Still it’s good practice for when we take our gap year when I retire.

With help from Blantyre, as I will be working, I am able to book accommodation at the guest house of the CURE hospital next door to QECH.   We are allowed to stay in the double room as we are a married couple, clearly 38 years counts for something.   It looks somewhat basic compared to the lovely lodges but looks very clean and is less than half the price per night.   I hope they provide towels as we certainly won’t have luggage space.

Check out the guesthouse so you can see what I’m letting us in for!