Always in the deep woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is an ancient fear of the unknown and is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. -- Wendell Berry

The TRIP: GUINEA - wonkifong --> MALI - bamako, djenne, douentza, Dogon Country --> Burkina Faso - ouagadougou, bobo-dioulasso, bala, ouagadougou --> GHANA - tamale, mole national park, tamale, yeji, volta lake ferry, akosombo, accra, green turtle lodge, elmina, cape coast, accra, hohoe and wli falls --> TOGO - kpalime, atakpame, lome --> BENIN - cotonu (transport stop) --> NIGER - niamey, tahoua, agadez, camel trek in aiir mtns, niamey --> BENIN (abomey, grand popo, ouidah, ganvie, cotonou) --> CAMEROON (douala, buea, top of Mt Cameroon, limbe, sangelima, yaounde, kribi, douala) --> MAURITANIA (nouakchott, atar, chinguetti, camels into the sahara, terjit, choume, ride the coal train, nouadhibou) --> MOROCCO (western sahara, dakhla, agadir, essaouira, marrakesh, imlil, summit of jebel toubkal, fes, chefchaouen) --> cross the Strait of Gibraltar --> Malaga, Spain --> fly to Geneva, Switzerland --> Les Grangettes, France
Click for a map. Updated April 30, 2007

samedi, septembre 02, 2006

Stitches Out (August 24, 2006)

Since I’m not really a person with a deep interest in medicine, I have rarely given thought to medical practices several decades/a century ago. However, as I clenched my hands today as one, two and finally three stitches were pulled out of my lip/mouth I felt empathy towards those pioneers who unwillingly sacrificed body and mind in the name of medicine.
Maybe it was fitting that the class session prior to the removal of the stitches was First Aid. Since this is the Peace Corps, trips, slips and falls were skipped over for more interesting topics such as emergency tracheametries. All I wanted was for the strings to come out.
After the session, the doctor was ready to take out the stitches. Where? How about in the high school classroom we were sitting in? With what? Well, scissors to cut the stitches were apparently forgotten so a razor blade was brought out. A small group gathered to watch the show and provide moral support while the doctor pulled on the obligatory pair of latex gloves (it is the year 2006 after all).
With tweezers, the end of the string was pulled out a bit and then sawed off with the razor blade. My lip was slowly lifted off my teeth, stretched and then relaxed as the string was cut. The first stitch, located high above my lip, came out without much trouble. The next caused a bit of pain and the third was a bundle of joy. Blood, healed lip skin, etc. had congealed around the stitch. Tug, saw, tug, saw, tug… Bit by bit the stitch was worked free.
“Well, scarring should be minimal. Just clean it all of the time and put antibiotic ointment on it since infection is everywhere,” were the parting words as I left the classroom.
During my walk home, deep seated nausea producing waves of pain emanated from my lip. The look on the faces of passerby’s would have been amusing but I was feeling the anguished look.
Several weeks later: I managed to stay infection free and it looks like there will be little if no scarring!

I put a couple of photographs of the lip on the photo page. Check them out by clicking the link to the right.