I was able to discuss the care of these women with the nurse and explain to him what to do if any of them went into early labour.
In Raiheu we were joined by about 50 children (just finishing school) who followed us for the second half of the journey. The village which hosted the SISCa was as picturesque as any I have seen so far – thatched huts, ancient trees and panoramic views. I saw 7 pregnant women (with Silda helping to translate when I got stuck) to whom we were able to give nice long consultations – about 30 minutes each – covering as much education as seemed reasonable. They were mostly seeing a midwife for the first time. There were two breeches and a transverse position and one lady who was almost overdue (by her clinical signs and her guess at when she fell pregnant). I was able to discuss the care of these women with the nurse and explain to him what to do if any of them went into early labour or did not go into labour as the case may be (i.e. get them to hospital quickly). The women made lunch for us but we were pretty dehydrated by the time we got back to the car. I really struggled on the 1km assent right at the end. We learnt a few lessons about being prepared for all conditions and immediately stocked the car with water, dry biscuits, umbrellas and hats when we got home at 19:30. Tomorrow’s hike is 2km longer.
There is also a lot of work to be done on responsibly and effectively handing over those elements of the project that the government will hopefully continue on, such as the ambulance and the library.
The Rotary project we are working on is in its final year this year so there is also a lot of work to be done on responsibly and effectively handing over those elements of the project that the government will hopefully continue on, such as the ambulance and the library. This will be quite a challenge but we continue to have great support from Palms and Rotary. Generally I have been feeling the best I have ever felt about living in Timor and this project. January has been difficult and, as our Palms’ in-country coordinator continues to remind me, we haven’t yet cut down on our ridiculous work hours. I do feel however that we are heading in the right direction. It must seem like not much to people at home but I am constantly amazed that Ben and Silda and I have managed to come up with a program through real consultation with the community with potential to make a small but lasting differences to the attitudes and capacity of the staff and communities.
We have tried to put as much of the Palms philosophy as possible in to a situation which, when we found it this time last year, had not yet been able to achieve the level of relationships and understanding which allow a project to be effective and sustainable. I think my positive feelings have been in part just being more comfortable in my surroundings, in part having Ben around more often and in part because, for the first time, I feel we have a bit of control over what we are doing. Not much, mind you, but that little bit makes a lot of difference.