On Friday after the morning hospital staff meeting, we head to the Hospital Albert Schweitzer's (HAS) PT clinic to speak with Verna, a young PT who hosts a local radio show La Familia each Saturday (similar in style and variety to NPR). We ask him about the prevalence of phantom pain in his patients and about the local nomenclature. He replied that numerous patients have complained of such pain. We also discover “phantom” is the commonly used term. We craft our ad that Verna will present for us on his show asking patients with painful phantom limbs to come for free mirror therapy services at Klinik Hanger. We describe our non-invasive therapy and Verna promises not only to present our information on La Famili but to teach his friends from other areas and share the news with other radio shows as well.
We begin the next day with a more in-depth tour of the hospital and meet several physicians working there. They are supportive of our project and let us know of other amputees staying in the hospital. They also invite us to shadow them and observe surgeries. We hope to fit some time in to do this as it would be a great experience-- there is so much to learn here!
On a break from our responsibilities at the Hospital and clinic, we visit the home of Stephan who shows us the fresh green coffee beans and roasts them for us on a small charcoal grill. We are introduced to his young daughters ages 10 and 6 and even shown their report cards. We ask to see their school later. Meanwhile as the coffee roasts Liz and Nicole have their hair examined and braided by the curious girls. Later we notice the infected toenail of the youngest and their lack of closed toed shoes. We take note to speak with some of the pediatricians we know. and email our colleagues in the US to bring a few extra pairs of shoes when they arrive.
On Sunday we are introduced to the surrounding area by locals with other volunteers at the hospital. We take a tap-tap, the local transportation. Tap-taps are old pick up trucks where people squeeze in the bed of the truck. Its common to see tap-taps with thirty or more people hanging on. On the drive, I notice several non-profit microcredit loan stations. Its pleasing to see that microcredit is available. Something else of note is that all the little stands labeled banks are actually lottery game stands – pas des banques!