Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bienvenue au Congo

We arrived in Pointe Noir, Republic of Congo on August 9th.  Pointe Noir is one of the more developed areas of the country.  Indeed, it has been something of a shock to us to be someone so developed compared to what we are used to in West Africa.  Some telltale signs of development here are: decent roads, much less roadside trash, steel scaffolding instead of bamboo, much nicer vehicles, and greater availability of products (though at insanely high prices).  The development here is not representative of the entire country, though.  There is still a high level of need in rural areas and a lack of general medical infrastructure.  Training of local health care professionals will be a large focus for us during these next 10 months.

It is difficult to believe that we have only been here a bit over a week.  Our arrival and setup have been incredibly smooth.  It feels like we've been here for a month.  The kids are back to a school routine and doing well.  Grace is with her grandma right now and leaves for France next week.  All in all, a decidedly atypical start of a field service; different, but good.

We're looking forward to getting to know our way around Pointe Noir better and looking forward to the Hospital opening after surgical screening on the 28th of August.