18 October 2009

Ok, as promised, a quick tour of my staff housing apartment. It's quick because video takes forever to upload if it is too long.

17 October 2009

Botswana Elections

Yesterday Botswana had its 10th election since Independence in 1966. The ruling party, the BDP (Botswana Democratic Party) has always won the elections and that will likely be the case this time too (results are not out yet). But the opposition parties were out in force prior to the elections trying to drum up support for their candidates.

The day before the election I was on my way into town and saw/heard literally dozens of trucks with horns blasting, filled with BDP supporters in red shirts, waiving flags, shouting and singing the praises of their candidate: Ian Khama. Here are pics:

That day, Thursday, was Jane's birthday and we went to the Gaborone Sun Hotel for a champagne birthday toast.
(Me, Nancy, Abigail & Jane)

14 October 2009

I’ve hit the ground running here in Gaborone since landing. Jane, my midwife colleague, and I arrived Saturday afternoon, October 3rd -- and at 8:00am on Monday morning we started work for Bokamoso Private Hospital! Just for the record, I don’t recommend landing in a new country and starting work a day and ½ later – but that’s what we did. Here is a video, after 3 days of travel, of our arrival to the airport.

Here's a video driving from the airport into Gaborone.

Here's a view from the window of my staff housing apartment looking out at other apartments.

Monday, Oct. 5th we attended Orientation with all the medical and administrative staff who are currently hired and here – about 140 people. The docs alone are represented by 20 different countries. We’re quite the little UN – all here to start what everyone agrees is a very ambitious, state-of-the-art hospital in a country and region that has seen nothing like what we’re creating. I’m very inspired by what we are attempting to do: provide an extremely advanced and exceptional set of medical services that don’t exist in the country and do it in the highest-tech environment possible. Some of the high-tech initiatives are: paperless record keeping, virtual consulting with an international medical advisory board, and being a test site for an electronic bedside quality assurance monitoring system. OK, and then there was last Wednesday.

Wednesday there was no internet access at the hospital where all the administrative staff are located and Thursday it was mostly down. So much for high tech.

So what is Botswana like, you ask. Gaborone (called “Gabs” for short) is a very modern city with a few high rises, hotels, international restaurants and little shopping malls that have grocery stores similar to ours in the US. We even went to a Costco-type store last weekend that sells everything from small electronics, kitchenware, food and even Indian spices in bulk bins. The wine is great and it isn’t hard to find a good South African wine for under $10. But the contrast between modern and traditional is apparent everywhere. Driving down the road – in traffic, I might add – there are goats roaming free, women selling bags of oranges and little hard candies at makeshift roadside tables, and as soon as you are off the main driving roads, many of the streets are reddish dirt, not pavement. The past and the future meet in Gaborone.

I’ve seen no black mambas but there are plenty of bugs, especially after it rains which it has done for about ½ the days I’ve been here. Here's one I saw on the wall next to the door to my apartment. This baby was about 5" long. Anyone who can identify what it is wins accolades on my next blog post.

Next blog you'll get a little tour of my 500 sq. ft. staff housing apt!