Opuwo and Starting Work

Friday morning at 8am sharp the MoHSS driver turned up at the VSO office and we set off to Opuwo via the coast to pick a colleague up. In the end it only took about 13 hours so quite good really, considering.

The last part of the journey was in the dark where cows the size of buses, goats and donkey carts seemed intent on crashing into us (or have us crash into them) at every available opportunity. Luckily the driver knew his cow-avoidance-techniques and we made it safely. Arriving to a packed casualty department late on a Friday night was interesting to say the least. Unique sights, sounds and smells.

Spent the weekend finding my way around Opuwo (took about 10 minutes) with the help of some fellow vols here. It turns out that much of what is on the internet is either out-of-date or simply wrong (who’d have guessed).

There are actually three supermarkets – the Ok which lives up to its name and is ok, a Power Save and the Opuwa Supermarket. Of these the Ok is the only one to have fruit and veg which does indeed only arrive once a week.

There are also three petrol stations, two of which you could probably actually recognise as such. The “famous” 24-hour BP station is right next door to Ok.

On Monday I started work, found no computer on my desk (natch) so it’s lucky I brought the laptop and began trying to understand the hierarchy and bureaucracy of the MoHSS.

Spent the first week mainly trying to find my way around and get a feel for what they want me to do. On Friday we had a visit from the Honorable Minister for Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi. So here less than a week and I’ve already met the Minister (following on from arrival through the diplomatic desk and staying in the VIP suite this definately means I’m going up in the world).

In addition to shaking hands my role was to run the powerpoint slides for our Director and the Principle Medical Officer (PMO) for Opuwo District which I managed to do with less than a dozen or so errors. Success.

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