Clinic in Padier, Women at the Well
I took my run along the back roads behind the compound and saw many women easing themselves out in the open field, now totally devoid of vegetation except for dry stalks of grass and sorghum. Most families still do not have latrines, personnel hygiene is difficult to maintain and there are no private bathrooms at least from what I could see.
We have to fetch our mobile clinic paraphernalia from the Mirmir PHCC as well as the staff to help us run the clinic at Padier which is about fifteen minutes away. William the CHW remained behind in Mirmir to see the patients there. The sun was getting searing hot and there were precious little shades in this village. Yesterday the Chief promised to help us set up the clinic but he did not so Johnson picked the best shade afforded by two Neem trees. Soon the villagers appeared and we started our clinic. The flies were fierce and aggressive today, swarming around the women’s coverings, their children, eyes noses, mouths and any open wounds. There were roaming cows and goats around leaving dungs and droppings which disintegrated and were great feeding grounds for the flies. It would be absolutely impossible to get rid of the flies totally. The people here are absolutely impoverished, tattered and filthy clothes, plenty of bare feet and I have not seen them eat anything yet except from what they could find from the fruit trees. The boy we took to Leer for his rabies shots yesterday was fed some glucose biscuits and a bottle of cow’s milk and the flies competed mightily with him.
The same afflictions seen in the Koch County were presented here. Many pregnant women came to see Bonnie. The clouds became dark and threatening around noon and it seemed that rain was coming our way. Johnson was optimistic that we could beat it but we did not. We made a hasty retreat into our cruiser while the local staff ran to some tukuls to have some cow’s milk or yogurt. It was a very torrential rain with heavy winds and lasted for an hour. Big pools of water collected in the clayey soil. Finally it stopped and we set up the clinic again and spent another hour and half seeing the rest of the patients. By the time we finished packing up and headed towards Leer it was almost five. The roads were slick and the potholes were pools of muddy water. A convoy of trucks from Juba lined up as workers filled the mud and pools with some sandy soil, our land cruiser was able to weave around them and moved on. We had the second meal of the day, our lunch at six in the evening. Women are always the fetchers of water here and everywhere in Africa. They do it the first thing in the morning and throughout the day, carrying five gallon Gerry can on their heads. This morning I saw a tall Nuer women carrying one on her head another in her hand. Men are never seen at the borehole or the water pump except to ask for a drink of water (as Jesus did) or as in Bentui they haul water on donkey carts to sell it to the merchants in town. Women are the mules here carrying large loads of logs, reeds, straws, bags of maize or sorghum all on their heads walking long distances, beside hauling water, caring for the children, cooking and repairing their compounds. Children, mostly girls, would help and walk beside their mothers. I don’t see a lot of men doing these chores; if they did at all they would do them with the help of the donkeys or wheel barrows. On our way to Mirmir, some UNIDO personnel traveled with us and they told us the appalling newsbreak of a seventy-nine-year-old Commissioner in one of the Equatorial States, who just married a seventeen-year-old girl. It was said that the relatives were very happy but did anyone bother to interview the poor young lady who very likely was not given a choice!