Some days are good.

Some days are not. You work early and finish late. You have dinner then you go back to the office. It’s what we all do. Then you try to find your friends to go out for a drink but everyone is still at their desks. Tapping away. We are all occupied. The problem with living in your office and not getting paid is that you have nothing to stop you from working late into the night. There is no need to ‘lock up’ and no security guard to kick you out. You don’t have to worry about claiming overtime. But mainly, the overall outcome is judged according to your own standard. If you have no money and no pay grades or promotions to strive towards, then what?
Job satisfaction of course and it makes for an interesting working environment. It means some work harder than ever before, because their motivation is the satisfaction of reaching their own standards. It’s also the need to do something that matters and do it well. As always there are some who do the bare minimum because they aren’t paid; therefore it doesn’t matter. People are funny.
The last few weeks have been busy like that. And the next few will follow suit.
But
Today was a good day and reminded me that I really do have the best job ever!
I got up and put on my scrubs, got my work bag ready and went to the ward. Waved at some intrigued orthopaedic kids as I picked up some supplies. Then I met my translator (Sendra) on the gangway and off we went to the local hospital. Wound care teaching.
Our four nurses were all there waiting for us. We joined the ward round met each patient and heard their story. Then we did a wound care ward round and looked at dressings together and discussed them. Nurse to nurse. Malagasy our only barrier. Sendra our only help.
We took gloves and alcohol gel and they joked that it was Christmas. After doing a few dressings my colleague started teaching about wounds and I found a bucket some water and soap and started scrubbing the instruments we had used. I sat and scrubbed with one of the Malagasy nurses as we talked and laughed about wounds. Nurses together. Sharing and learning. This is what it’s all about.
Then as we parted company we said good bye to all our hospital friends. The lady that is in charge of the toilets, the doctors, the guy at the gate and the tuk-tuk drivers.
After negotiating a price we hopped in to a tuk-tuk and headed back to the ship.
Then I found my self sitting in front of a camera on the dock in my best clothes trying to balance the microphone stuffed down my top. Josh was smiling as I was being interviewed and he did what he does best. It’s great to see that man at work. It’s strangely therapeutic to sit with the coms team and answer questions. Mainly because they are my friends and because the questions they ask are not just because it’s their job but also because they are genuinely interested and so the cameras fade away and you are left with two friends and coffee.

The evening brought cooking with Joycie. Joycie is my Jamaican aunt. She is always in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I watch her in admiration and we share recipes. I help her make fudge and she lets me in on her secrets.

I love how she calls me sweet biscuit and after a busy week at work, cooking with Joycie was just what I needed. Little did I know as well as Jamaican chicken being on the menu, she had also organised a surprise. My friend Chris from Liberia came and taught us both how to cook potato greens- a west African delight. And it was delightful. I asked Joycie if she used potato leaves in Jamaica and she replied “Oh yes honey bunch but we only feed them to the goats”. They Taste pretty good to me!

Scrubbing
Teaching
Malagasy words
Laughing
Tuk-tuks
Jamaican chicken
Liberian veg
With influences and tips from our Ghanaian and Sierra Leone kitchen audience.

Some days are uneventful
Some days are terrible
But,
Some days I think I have the best job in the world.

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