A few days later ...
At the entrance of the maze
We finally reach the actual destination of our journey. Although we only have to cover 100 km of roads, it took us six hours - through green wooded mountains and many villages.
The children we see while driving by wave at us cheerfully and aren't afraid to say hello when we get out of the car for a break. We reach our accommodation right at the eastern entrance of Mweso, a small locality of perhaps 20,000 inhabitants.
View over the small locality
The MSF project here covers all Mweso’s health zone: a population of 437,843 inhabitants.
The state hospital is located right next to our huts. It has a completely independent organisational structure from MSF, but we provide financial, logistical and staff support. The buildings belong to the church. Almost 300 employees, including 140 nurses and 14 doctors, treat about 1,200 inpatients and slightly more outpatients per month.
With 240 beds, the hospital is so large that it will certainly take many more days before I stop getting lost in it!
Getting to know one another "en travaillant"
I am received enthusiastically. The team makes an impressive effort to pronounce my name right – "Wolfgang" is no simple name for francophone people.
Firstly, I try to get to know all employees of the operational unit. It takes time for the names to match the faces. But fortunately, the people here speak French quite slowly and with little accent and nobody is annoyed if I have to ask. We try this "en travaillant". The joint work quickly creates points of contact.
The important questions are clarified at first of course...
Am I married? Yes.
What does my wife look like? ... - Thank you, smartphone!
How many children do we have? "Only" three.
And which football club do I support? Nobody here knows Jahn Regensburg, but of course Bayern Munich.
Clement, anaesthetist, and me in our working enviroment.
A new challenge
My tasks in the coming weeks mainly consist of supervision, coaching and training. The expectations of the team overwhelm me, I can feel the strong desire of the colleagues to quickly find the connection to modern anaesthesia, which some have seen in the capital city Kinshasa during their training, but most of them only know from Internet videos.
This will be a challenge that I will continue to report on - next time!