More Pacific adventures July 8 2010 Hi Everyone . We have been enjoying some cooler weather this month. Temperatures have been down to eighty degrees and even cooler in the early morning between 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Maybe down to 75F or so, it is mid-winter after all. Dusk and dawn are still around 6-30 a.m. & p.m. Most of the rain storms are short in duration and in the early morning . We have been more busy than usual this month. Samoa is an ideal environment for viral and fungal infections, warm and damp (high humidity and high temps) We have spent more time in hospital than out of it this month. Hospitals are very basic over here. If you think you will be staying overnight you must remember to take sheets, towels, pillows and pillowcases and have someone bring in meals for you. Unless you come in an ambulance with lights and sirens blaring, you should also take a book or magazine to read, you might have to wait several hours before you even see a doctor, 15 hours is our longest wait so far and then they expected us to spend the rest of the night there, another 9 hours, with the young Elder. We had other missionaries to take care of back at the mission home sick bay, so we had to decline. The disapproving looks were very evident. On the way out we saw each patient had about three or four people sleeping around the beds on the floor. It seems it is the custom to stay and comfort the patient. The wards are all open with curtains hanging between each bed. The beds themselves are very old and worn out, mattresses very thin and hard. We saw a gecko and a mouse sharing a hole in a light fixture in one area. We spent one whole day trying to persuade the young doctors to do an appendectomy on one of our Elders who had classic signs of acute appendicitis except the white blood cells hadn’t changed so they wanted to wait and see. When we had made enough nuisance of ourselves after being there for eleven hours they called the chief surgeon who agreed with our diagnoses and immediately sent him down to the O.R. Afterwards he told us as he brought the bowel out of the abdominal cavity it burst all over the place. That was a near miss, minutes more and the appendix would have perforated and that would have infected his whole bowel. Another Elder has a chronic dislocated shoulder which keeps slipping out and he has to have a general anaesthetic to have it reduced. This has happened several times over the last two weeks. We are trying to have him flown out to New Zealand for corrective surgery. Ingrown toenails are another popular complaint, with jock itch and boils as a follow up. Several guys have been down with high fevers without a focus point, we suspect low grade Dengue fever, but can’t isolate anything. Dog bites are a common complaint luckily we don’t have rabies on the island. One guy had a heavy dose of e.coli luckily we managed to keep it isolated. We celebrated Canada Day this week. I put a large Canadian flag up in the window of our office just prior to July 4th when the real festivities started. We have several Senior Couples here from the States so Saturday night was party night. We had started Saturday with a Primary sports day activity. Being the only Priesthood holder present I got to be the organizer. Have you ever tried to run a three legged race with a 3 foot, seven year old? We all had a great deal of fun, then at noon we were over at the chapel to clean it up ready for Sunday meetings. Guess who had to wet mop the whole chapel area, we have tile floors here. Then home to cook up something for the pot luck Independence Day supper. Thirty Americans and two Canadians, I guess we didn’t stand a chance so we let them have their independence and joined in singing all the anthems and traditional teary eyed songs of Independence days long passed. We had left up the flag and placed a notice under it stating this was “the last remaining Canadian outpost in Samoa” (Our Office). We have American, Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, and many other consulates and embassy’s here in Samoa but no Canadian. I guess we are on our own, probably a cost cutting measure. While at the Hospital the other day we met up with a couple of fourth year Med. students doing an eight week rotation here in Samoa. It seems there are several more, all from the Newcastle (UK) University, School of Medicine, they looked to be in a daze. It must have been a total culture shock for them. England is pretty cosmopolitan but we are 50 years behind the times here, as far as Medicine goes. It was nice to hear the English accents tho’. . We are fighting the battle of the bulge presently; we both need to lose about 15 to 20lbs each. Barbara is in denial of course. The diet here is very challenging, Samoans don’t eat vegetables so we really have to search for and be very creative with our cooking. We have found a green veg called ‘Lau Pele’ but we can’t find any at the Market. We asked at one of the stalls and the lady said in broken English that nobody buys it so they don’t bother to bring it in from their plantations; we asked if she would bring some in for us and she did but because it was a special order, we had to pay the premium price of course. Tara leaves are good too except you have to really boil them well as they have an element that stings the throat badly. Tastes something like spinach and because you have to boil it so well it shrinks so you have to start off with a pot full just to get two portions out of it. We tried to grow squash in the garden and reared a big long stalk with lots of leaves but no blossoms male or female, we did get two but the sun killed them off within two days. Our cucumber plant is looking quite sick too. Guess the volcanic soil is detrimental to their growth. . On the positive side we have four good tomato plants and some strong looking basil plants rearing their pretty heads. The ginger plants are taking up more room than we had planned. The Pineapple, avocado and coconut plants are looking quite healthy too considering we only have about 30 minutes a week to tend them all. . Well we guess that’s it for another month, we send our love to everyone and hope that you are enjoying life as much as we are, especially now that summer has arrived for most of you “Man is that he might have joy” so spread the joy around with those you meet and have a wonderful July. Take good care of yourselves and think positive thoughts.
Lots of love from Samoa, Pat and Barb, Elder and Sister Kelly xxxxxxxx