Thank you, everybody who has replied to this blog. Times here recently have been full of uncertainty. Things for me, if I’m honest, have been tough. It has been so frantic with E-Prep (Emergency Preparedness), and everybody being on leave, that time has flown, and I have been completely frenetic. I am hoping to return to the discipline of blogging in order to remind myself, as much as anything else, where I am, and what I’m doing. Now that at least the initial period of the referendum is over, the atmosphere may un-tighten. The singing is back at night, at least, after a lull of several weeks.
But maybe I can rewind a bit, first, to Christmas. I didn’t write, in the end, what actually happened. The run-up to Christmas was insane. We were in the full throes of supply, ordering ‘buffer stocks’ of medicine and logistics, for the hospital, the patients, and us to survive any ‘instability’ which may have occurred over the period. Potentially, we were ready for being cut-off for a month.
I guess I finally stopped for Christmas when I switched off the generator, which may have been on the morning of Christmas Day, after it had been needed overnight for Oxygen. We had already had a plan that it would be nice to go to one of the churches to mark the day, and so we walked in the general direction of drumming and singing, through the scrub on the other side of the airstrip. Church is a huge outdoor affair, it seems, which goes-on all day inside a sorghum-fenced compound, with a big drum, choirs dressed in gowns, with male and female parts who soing and dance, and an ‘MC’ with a megaphone, controlling the activity and prayer. We were ushered-in and, embarrassingly, seated amongst the Elders out-front.
We had gone along simply for personal reasons, and when inevitably called to address the crowd of several hundred people, each of us were very careful to give a neutral and non-political message of goodwill. I was pleased with myself that I was able to deflect the occasion by telling everybody about what my family at home would be doing, and how it would involve being together, eating, and singing. That seemed to go down well, but we were extremely relieved when we were able to duck-out of the seemingly never-ending event, and get out into the bush. It was nice to see a couple of our staff kicking about as we walked back, though, and there was much hugging and backslapping to be done. I never really see my guys out of the workplace.
After that, and a quick walk around the market, which was quiet, we came back, and had a light lunch.