Owen

(9)

The next day I walk to the health clinic where Kasigo works. The day is sunny and has started to warm up. Even at the early hour men and women have lined up outside the three-room clinic.  Some are squatting on the floor and others are standing — waiting for their turn to be called in.

Kasigo welcomes and tells me that I am to help her manage and plan for the distribution of medicines throughout her jurisdiction.

“Our village has so many health issues,” she says.

“Yes. I read about it,” I say.

“There’s malaria, AIDS, malnutrition, large families,” she continues. “There’s only so much we can do, you know.”

“You’re right. Tell me how I can be of help.”

I spend the rest of the day helping Kasigo take inventory of the medical supplies. A large quantity of mosquito nets is on order and these have to be distributed throughout the village.

While all this is going on I have little time to think of Rachel. I want to know how she is adjusting and what she has to do. I know she is in a village close to Blantyre but don’t know where or how to get in touch with her. There is no telephone in my cottage, and I think it is the same with her.

On my first day off I decide to travel to Blantyre to meet Rachel. Kasigo informs me of my options — share a mini bus, or take the government bus. The latter option is cheaper. The bus depot is crowded, a bit chaotic. Men approach me with in-your-face offers of a ride to Blantyre. I ignore them and go to where the bus is parked. The bus doesn’t leave on time, which I am told later is very common.

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