I rearranged my day today so that I could participate in a conference call via skype for a board I’m on at home…I only had to redial 6 times so I have to consider that a success all things considered! I forced myself to take a nap in the afternoon which was nearly impossible considering the ruckus that is this neighborhood at almost any given hour…usually not a problem since I am collapsing at the end of a long day. I went in for the night shift and things were oddly tidy. It turns out there was just one birth today so they spent the day cleaning and straightening up. A few of the midwives were headed up to practice their Kustom Dance performance and I tagged along, wanting to see it. I wound up jumping in and learning the dances with them, it was quite fun and involved the use of brooms (which are thin twigs tied together), a 2 foot tall speaker, and a few doctors as well.
I headed back to the ward after dance lessons were over and showed off my newfound skills to the night crew, who were either quite impressed or quite entertained. Hard to say. I helped out with some of the babies in the nursery, removed an IV from a postpartum mom, talked nice with the new mothers and their families and then sat at the desk with the midwives for a chat.
Suddenly there were noises of groaning and pushing coming from down the corridor. Everyone stood up but I was closest so I did a trot around the doors to see what was going on and there was one of the senior midwives from the day shift in mock-labor. She started jumping and clapping and laughing. I found out later that she regularly pulls pranks after the night shift gets settled in. Apparently she is quite skilled as the midwives told me they fall for it every time.
With everyone settled in we retreated to the lounge to watch TBV (Television Blong Vanuatu aka the local station). We got the news, the sports, and the weather reports punctuated by public service announcements on a variety of topics. Then came on a drama by the local kids community center for the arts, the troubled, the youthful masses yearning for direction and positive influences. It was the perfect combination of Law and Order type mystery and action and sexually transmitted disease/domestic violence education. That’s right, cops and robbers meet “use protection when you sleep with another woman instead of your girlfriend.” I kid you not, that was the plot. It was actually quite compelling television and very well acted. So kudos to the kiddos who are involved in the performance arts instead of trouble! There is the somewhat familiar character trait of yelling at the TV during the program here (familiar if you ever had the distinct privilege of watching TV with my grandmother). I joined in the yammering and vociferously encouraged the teenage girl who had landed a job singing in the local bar to stay home like her parents were begging her to, because all that is out there waiting for her is “Chlamydia Chlamydia, Chlamydia!” This got me approving looks and a slap on the back from the doc.
With only one baby arriving today, in a place that averages 16 per day, tomorrow is bound to be busy busy…and if not, I will grab a broom and practice my kustom dancing : )