UA-63899747-1 Back to Liberia Day 7 – Nzinga Harrison, MD
Back to Liberia Day 6
January 15, 2014
Back to Liberia Day 8
January 17, 2014

As many superlatively positive adjectives I used to describe yesterday, I could add one more for today.  It was the first day of clinicals, which I absolutely love.  It literally brings me joy to see students integrating what was learned in the classroom and applying it to patients.   I did case rounds with 11 of the students today – and they did an absolutely phenomenal job.  Two of the students actually identified patients in need of detox – a skill they did not have before this week.  So, it was heartwarming and very special.

After clinical rounds, Peter took us to a waterfall named Kpatawee.  To say it was breathtaking would be an understatement.  Those of you who know me know that I am not at all religious.  That said, you would also know that I am quite spiritual.   It is has always been true that the times I feel God’s presence the most are in the midst of wondrous nature – and that is exactly the experience I had today.  As I stood on the rocks in the middle of the stream with the waterfall crashing down, the midst blowing the freshest air, the sky seeming the clearest blue and the trees all around the greenest green, I became filled with peace and gratitude.  I felt it welling up and had to blink back tears.  I stood with my eyes closed.  I sat with my eyes closed, all the while taking in deep cleansing breaths.  I went to Kpatawee whole, and I came out more than whole.  It was truly glorious.

Well, there’s no good connector that can start this paragraph, so I’ll just jump right in.  When we arrived home from Kpatawee, Nyatta taught me how to back the baby.  For you Americans, that means, using a yard of fabric, or lapa, to strap your baby to your back and carry them around.  I remember my first trip to Liberia, and again this trip, I was amazed at seeing women walk down the street with a baby on their back, something on their head and carry things in both hands.  It just makes so much sense.  In the U.S., we strap the baby to the front.  So, yes, your hands are free, but really, the baby is still in the way of everything you need to do.  With the baby on the back, you have complete freedom to get things done!  It is just another example of how Liberians cut inefficiency from their lives.  So, I learned to back the baby.  My baby was a furry white teddy bear.   Oh, how Nyatta and Caroline laughed and laughed at me while I was learning.  It was great fun.

After that, some hours passed doing work on the computer, and we went to dinner.  Now, there is a dish in Liberia called Pepper Soup.  Considering every food in Liberia is spicy, I have been steering clear of Pepper Soup.  I mean, I can only imagine!   So, we went to a restaurant specifically known for the chicken curry.  But when we arrived, it turns out the only thing the restaurant was serving was…you guessed it… Pepper Soup (it is most common that restaurants prepare one dish per day).  Peter offered to find a different restaurant, but it was already pitch black and I didn’t want to be a bother (plus, since it is winter --85 degrees -- the chance that the next restaurant would be serving Pepper Soup was very high) so I determined that my time had come.   It was time to American-girl up and eat some Pepper Soup.   Would you believe it was delicious?!  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was spicy.  But yuh-huh-mee!!   Peter told me that the further down the bowl I ate, the spicier the soup would become.  Well, I should’ve listened.  As I got closer to the bottom, the last spoon I took literally made my lips go numb.  One spoon too many… isn’t that the story of our lives?! Lol!   Anyhow, the Pepper Soup came with cow meat in it which was also delicious.  So I count today as a super successful.   And now, I will go to sleep.

Pictures at this link: https://plus.google.com/photos/102428141509725093638/albums/5969611418657330273?authkey=CIeKt6nP9KDJrgE

YouTube video of Kpatawee at this link:  http://youtu.be/DaC56iu1WSs

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