Friday, December 14, 2007

God Conference

Sitting on the verandah after a long day to and from Busia. The Christmas season is in full swing here so everything is very very busy. The queue of cargo and fuel tanker trucks at the border stretches almost the entire length of the town and traffic is miserable, even more miserable than usual. I dread these days, but must be done as the bank is there and it’s the only major town in the area. An hour and a half over horrible roads there and the same back. A day killed, as far as I’m concerned.

We live at a house at a catholic mission, and there has been a conference going on at the church below us all week, (a “god conference” as Fanette so succinctly put it) and there is a tent holding about 500 people set up and it is full of people praying and singing from morning till night. Preaching fire and brimstone, from the sounds of it, although I can’t understand a word of it it sounds like an olde tyme religious revival. Last night they were at it till 2am, thank god I brought a good supply of earplugs, as they are just down the hill from us. It will go on till Sunday so I’m expecting loud nights every night till then.

People here take their religious very seriously. I like to tease Vincent, our logistician, about it. Today in the car on the way from Busia I asked him if dogs go to heaven. We had an interesting discussion about that. He said that only humans are allowed because we have been given the power to know god. We then got into a discussion about the fact that new species have been discovered since Adam and Eve named every living thing. Also about the fact that there are millions of species and bacteria that A&E wouldn’t have had a microscope to even know existed. According to Vincent, the bible says A&E were able to name even the unseen organisms. I didn’t ask for an explanation. I just like to pick at him, but it doesn’t faze him in the least, there is an explanation for everything in the bible. At least he says he prays for me every night. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Had an extremely infuriating encounter with one of the staff members at one of the health facilities we are working with this morning, to make a long story short he wanted to be paid a per diem plus lunch and transport to go into the field with our IEC teams to “make sure we are spreading the right messages”, despite the fact that the Director of the National Malaria Control Programme has full knowledge of all our activities and we are using materials and messages developed by NMCP. Just a ploy to get some $$ out of us. This after we delivered 1500 RDT kits to his facility to assist them in properly diagnosing malaria and provided two days free training on diagnosis and case management. Everyone wants something, it can be very tiresome.

That’s it for today, hopefully will have energy to write on Sunday.

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