05 October 2011

The day my dance moves were legit.


Highlight of today:  getting my dance moves affirmed by loud, clapping, cheering children. 

As we sat on the steps of the clinic awaiting our ride, 7 or 8 children started inching closer to us.  The bravest boys would run out, do some dance moves, and then run back to the pack of children standing by some bushes.  They continued to have more complex dance moves until they became mini-break dancers.  Frances and I felt compelled to do something.  We moved our shoulders a bit, that got them laughing.  But we needed a super-cool dance move to impress them.  I stood up and immediately the children retreated a bit but stood their ground when they saw my next move.  Against my better judgment, I held one foot in my hand, put the other hand on the back of my head, and moved my knee and elbow closer and farther,  essentially doing the “White boy hop on one foot…”

The crowd went wild.  Children clapped and cheered. 

When I sat down several children tried to copy my sweet moves.

Frances and I tried to think of other dance moves that could cross cultures.  We thought of the shopping cart, the q-tip, the sprinkler, but the kids wouldn’t understand any of them.

We finally did the Macarena in sync.  They thought that was pretty cool, but nothing was as hilarious as the white boy hop thing.

I can't find the name of that dance move.  If anyone can tell me the name (I've seen it called the "Charlie Brown" but I don't think that's correct) I'll give them 500 when I get home and I'll give them a shout-out in my next blog post.



We improved our Bimba speaking.  Our good friend, M, is in front of half of our new words.  They need to be more creative here with the letter words start with.  And one of the words we learned has a silent L at the beginning, so it sounds like it starts with an M.

We have the hardest time with spelling here because in America all vowels have 2 sounds: long sounds and short sounds.  And I’m pretty bad at differentiating between the long and short sounds.  Here, vowels make the same sound every time they’re used, just like in Spanish.  “Ah, eeh, ee, oh, oooh…” which Frances and I usually follow with “el borro sabe mas que tu” because that’s what we learned in Spanish class.

We also learned the correct response to “Mulishani” isn’t “weno” it’s “Bweno” which looks like it should sound like “bueno,” the word for good in Spanish.  But you say it like “bwe-know”

We’re pretty tired of getting laughed at because we can’t spell.

I have to remember to be nicer next time I meet someone who doesn’t speak English very well.

The rest of our day was pretty similar to last Tuesday and Thursday.  We sat in with Rose and watched her see patients, then we assessed the mothers in Antenatal clinic.  One of the mothers has a breech baby and had to be referred to the hospital for delivery. 


We wish we could buy them a Doppler so they could hear the baby’s heartbeat legitimately.

We learned more about malaria.  Which would have been great before we tried to teach the pregnant mothers about it today.  We learned that Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for 90% of the malaria here.  It’s the only kind they have tests for but it’s the only one that’s super dangerous.  Plasmodium vivax, ovale, and malariae aren't as bad. 

According to Alam, the only mosquito that carries falciparum is the female Anopheles mosquito and it likes to live indoors best.  They like to feed at night, which is why sleeping under treated mosquito nets is good.  I wonder if many people here can afford them?

Malaria is the top killer in Zambia.  It is the number 1 reason why children under 5 die.

From a preventable infectious disease.

[malaria picture: falciparium is the circle with a dot and the others are the moon under a microscope]


After two bites of rotten potatoes and chicken, we’ve resorted to using our freezer as a refrigerator because our fridge doesn’t keep things cold.  {As an aside, I think fridge shouldn’t be spelled with a d because there’s not one in refrigerator.  I’m not sure we got that one right, English.  At least Bimba and Lamba don’t put many silent letters in things.}

We didn't have internet again because the rain moved in.  People here are thinking that rainy season has begun early.  Which means bugs and sickness.

I'm praying that these are just a few days worth of rain and not a beginning to rainy season.

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