We were on plan E, at least, before anything actually happened. We were to be met and then were to wait. We tried to get cash but the ATMs were empty after the weekend withdrawals and spending. While at the bank our driver called the hotel. When we returned we had to wait again. Lunchtime came and we dared not order food lest we be asked to leave. Eventually we set off for the training venue buying crisps, nuts and apples from roadside vendors while stuck in traffic. We reached the hospital to find that a cooked meal was provided – rice, chips, spinach, mango, goat and fish heads – which all ate enthusiastically around 3pm before anyone would do any work. That was a pleasant surprise – the unexpected meal, not the fish heads.
The training venue was a long single storey building with a single room, all windows and doors instead of a lecture room and four additional breakout session rooms as required. We set tables in the four corners and unpacked the equipment – charts, diagrams, surgical instruments, obstetric forceps, pelvic models, model babies and adults (plastic models), syringes, blood bottles, giving sets, stethoscopes for adult chest and fetal heart, etc, etc. Then we drew up a list of the missing items, from projection screen to bedside screens, felt pens and flip charts to participant handouts and programmes, catheters and condoms, knitted uterus models and velcro placentas, and so on.
Tomorrow we will see what has been found. Meanwhile back at the hotel we rehydrated on Tusker beer and ate grilled chicken – whatever we ordered, chicken came. Was it lost in translation or are they out of fish? Once again it’s a case of ‘order what you want and eat what you get’. It doesn’t take long to lapse back into laissez faire, flexibility and make do and mend!
So, end of day one. We are waiting for our intrepid leader arriving by KLM after missing his flight yesterday. There are various theories why that should have happened but we are clinging to the charitable idea that some security incident delayed his transit through Manchester airport. He has a certain track record for missed flights. Tanzania is his home so he knows the ropes and if he doesn’t show before 11pm we hope he also knows we will have gone to bed.
We’ll start again tomorrow where we left off today, somewhere between plan P and Q I think.