So in our second week, Ashley and I have decided to learn Liberian English. After meeting the people from the Liberian Fistula Project on Monday morning, they told us that the patients probably wouldn’t understand us. I felt bad that we would possibly appear as intruders to them, unable to communicate.

We drove out to a rural hospital and were greeted by welcome signs. We went to the operating room and were given scrubs to put on. After adding face masks, booties and hair shields, we went into the O.R. where a woman with a fistula had just been given a spinal block. Then the surgeon showed us what the fistula was and we watched the entire repair standing behind him.

It was pretty incredible to watch and certainly wasn’t something you would have access to in the States. It was hot though and I had to leave at the end because I thought I might pass out. Then we assisted with an exam of a new patient, in which I accidently handled urine without gloves, oops. After that there was one more surgery performed and we headed back to the house.

Today we visited the Fistula Rehabilitation Center and were treated to a big presentation of the work that was being done by the organization. The survivers also did a skit for us about how people get fistulas (mostly obstetric for girls 11-20). We had a tour of their buildings and got to see all of the stations where the girls were learning a trade. The saddest thing was an 8 year old girl who had been raped a year ago and had a fistula as a result.

Tomorrow the doctor and nurse with us will go out and do more surgeries. Kathi will go with them to hold the patients hands as they have their operations, since they are awake the whole time. Ashley and I are going back to the Lott Carey school to work on a couple of project planning things.

Overall things have gone well – we are well fed, rested, healthy and safe. It rained like crazy last night, the first rain since we got here. We found out also that our flight on Sunday is back on so we should be home Monday night, as promised. Thanks for checking in!

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