With the school in Sam about a mile away from where we are staying and with a second work site back in Doumandzou (about ten miles away) we have had access to a truck and a driver to move people and material, to run errands and then to keep our work team functioning. That has meant taking workers and children to the hospital in Mitzic (about 25 miles away), to the gendarmerie that is here in Sam and to the bus in Mitzic to go to Libreville.
This week we took Floriant, our driver, to the hospital as he had a serious bout with what he thought was worms at first and fever, but then was probably malaria. The common treatment is what people here call a “perfusion” that consists of injecting a bag of medical solution into the bloodstream. After about $50 of medicine, we left Floriant in the hospital on a gurney with a needle in his arm attached to a drip solution. A day later he was on his third perfusion and feeling well enough to leave the next day.
The rest of the day was running errands in Mitzic. Not your typical errands. First came money. There’s no bank or ATM but you can use your telephone account to get money. A small entrepreneur can set up a booth and distribute money to customers for a transaction fee. Of course they have to have money and a phone signal, so we went to about four different ones to finally get money.
Next came purchase of more aluminum roofing. We needed about 4 pieces of five meter roofing. Three different small hardware stores and we found matching pieces. How we were going to strap those on the roof of our pick-up was to be determined later.
Did I mention that one of passengers owned a small buvette that had run out of beer? She had about 12 empty cases and a couple of large plastic jugs to fill with kerosene for lighting her home and bar.
A few grocery items, a stop at a small restaurant for lunch (beef and rice for Christian and an omelette for me,) a check-in with Christian’s family (4 small children), then back to the hardware store to figure out how to tie on the five meter roof pieces. Fortunately, there were strips of rubber, ripped from old tire inner tubes) and we laid the roofing over the cab of the pick-up and the twelve cases of beer and kerosene in the bed of the truck. On the hour and a half ride back to Sam, we only had to stop once to adjust and secure the roofing.
We arrived after dark, and unloaded the roofing, and continued on to Doumandzou where we unloaded the beer and the biggest sack of rice in the world for Nguema’s family (our principal worker over there.)
A quick bite with Dick and Joan, Paul and Pooh and heard their adventure story of spotting a green mamba on the rafters above the world map mural (photo below). Pooh said she screamed while Joan, the biologist, ran for her camera. Paul later saw the snake on the road, about a yard and half long.
After the 30 minute ride back to Sam, I learned that Mary had fallen and twisted her ankle. (A day later and she’s better, back to work, with a slight limp.)
Just another day.
Update, March 31: Floriant out of hospital and back with us in Sam!