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September 2015 – First few days in Blantyre

Well we’ve arrived, a bit muddled and tired but all the hold luggage is safely with us which was one of my worries.   We’ve been tested for Ebola (passed!) had our fingerprints and iris recognition taken so clearly we won’t be able to get away with any mischief!

The guesthouse at the Beit Cure Hospital is very basic and rather reminds me of when I was a student.   Everyone staying is very friendly but the kitchen cupboards need reorganising, the fridge badly needs sorting and cleaning and there are loads of empty beer bottles that need returning!   Would I seem too bossy / motherly if I tidy it up over the weekend?
There are 3 large plastic dustbins in the kitchen which I assumed was for recycling but no, they are full of tap water in case the supply goes again. Apparently recycling is not a hot topic in Malawi although to be fair they charge for plastic bags, and what has amused me most of all – the single beds in the room opposite  are ex hospital beds! Obviously they just have a different interpretation.
13.9.15 S&D
Little did we realise how vital the candle would be, we just thought it was for romance!
We spend Friday orienting ourselves and finding where we need to be on Monday.Whilst looking for Chikhu, a pharmacist, in the hospital we are a bit taken aback that at visiting time,12 noon until 2 pm, the families pour in bearing baskets of food in order to feed the patients, it’s the same in the evening.   However much one moans about hospital catering in the UK at least we get fed and food brought by visitors are generally treats, not basics.
The good news is that we get sorted out with local mobile phone connection – it’s much easier to call people as the internet is very variable.
 And I’ve got a full day on Monday with 3 meetings organised.
  • 09.00 am – Head of Pharmacy – to see how I can help them develop ward pharmacy.
  • 12.30 pm – Head of School of Pharmacy – to arrange to give some lectures on clinical pharmacy and how they could develop the role in Malawi
  • 02.00 pm – Leaders at the Kamuzu Nursing College and the consultants at Queens ( as I’ve now learnt to call Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital). – to discuss monitoring and reporting back the progress of nurses our club has supported to be trained to care for sick children.
IF we are fortunate to be successful with the Quadrennial Bid, this will be essential.
The bad news is that over the weekend at various points we either have no power, or no water, and on Sunday we have neither all day.
I’m sending this from the car park outside Beit Cure Hospital as for some reason that is the wifi hotspot!
13.9.15  S
WIFI hotspot Malawi style!