Lilongwe bus station and Old Town have largely been cleared of traders. No more thronging press of people!! Hopefully fewer pickpockets and outright theives, but someone still tried to nick my katundu.
You can still rely on curios sellers to lie about their names, and to speak passable English, and to help you out for a few kwacha. I paid one of the guys to escort me through the bus station which had been utter madness in the past. I was astonished at how it had changed, and the guy put me on the right minibus to get to Blantyre. And then I had to find my own way. And here I am.
It’s gorgeous. In some ways, it has changed a lot, but not in others. There’s a pizza place in Chitakale that does lovely thin-crust wood-fired (obviously) pizzas. You can have your choice of Coke or Fanta, or for a couple of Kwacha extra someone will run next-door and buy you a beer. There’s a paved road from Mulanje Boma up the side of the mountain, leading to a posh hotel, Kara O Mula. The sunsets are spectacular, but the likely superb view down to the Boma is blocked by the enormous trees-not a complain, as trees are getting rarer. Apparently they are building a swimming pool as well.
Emmy works at tourism Mulanje, above the pizza place. Miriam has become such a lovely big girl, from being a babe in arms.
The Mulanje Golf Club has a small pool which, when I went, may as well have been my own private pool.
Here at the hospital. The operating theatre is incredible. Everything you need: Light, AC, a basic table that raises and tilts and splits, whatever. A small supply of suture material. Very basic anaesthesia: spinal (bupivacaine) or ketamine.
I assisted at a C-section, a couple of TAH’s and some open evacuations of TOAs. I was present but not scrubbed for an emergency C-section on Saturday evening. I have to thank Joey in Montreal, the peds resident who helped me through NICU, because I was handed a blue baby from thick meconium and a nurse and I had to resuscitate him. I could hear Joey’s voice saying “Suction, suction. Ok, good, now we have to stimulate the baby.” Calmly, quietly.
I can’t feel a heartbeat.
Bag, chest compressions.
And suddenly, the baby pinks up. I have a heartbeat! He’s breathing!
He didn’t cry until later that evening but now he’s perfect, crying and moving and sucking.
Scared the life out of me, little guy.
Last night I was rounding with the doc in the labour ward. Two young ladies had come in but had not yet been assessed. One looked very familiar.
And she looked at me and frowned and said my name.
It was Alicia, a young lady who was a student of mine for three years while I was here in the past.
And she had a boy.