Kofi is the man of the hour. He had worked hard to get the Trojan Horse virus first isolated and then deleted. He even found the Word document I was working on at the time I had been invaded by the Wireless-born access, even if it had not been used during the duration of my trip. I have had exactly zero internet access or email reading during this trip since there is no way I could complete the second week’s stories in time nor even Spell Check the completed texts of the first week in time to put it into any reply as an attachment. And, since I would be unlikely to do anything about any urgent messages in another part of the world, I had not made the pilgrimage to either the Saweid HQ or an internet café across the busy street from the Khartoum University Guest House to access emails as the rest of the gang did several times per day.
Julie discovered interference in the schedule for June, since we had planned to go directly from Malawi to Rwanda in June/July with a number of students signed up for accompanying me. It seems that now she is excited instead by the connections that Ron Sconyers had made for a PFP Gala in the middle of the time we would have been in Malawi getting Jeff Sachs as the keynoter and putting on the big party just when we would be abroad, using Stephen Katz’s photo of Julie and a patient as the cover logo of the Gala. So that will change the timing there at least for her, and it will also mean that my later June and early July suggested SHARP program for this summer is in the middle of the timing for the mission previously planned for that time frame. It seems that I am doing the trips that cost me money and skipping the ones that pay me. But, all of that will have to be worked out at a different time and place, and right now, I could not even complete the process of downloading the pictures and text form the completed Philippine mission which was the one we were working on at the time before our packing party the week before departure for Sudan.
Now, we had planned to make a single DVD with the images, text and videos of the Philippine missions in one folder and the same sequence for the Sudan mission in a second folder, then burn both to a single DVD—that process got interrupted, even the editing and delisting of the raw picture files from the photo cards, from the virus that incapacitated the laptop. So, as the last three days records of events were accumulating as history but not recorded in real time, I shunted to try to type up at least one day of the IDP Camps in re-typing using Julie’s laptop and Word program. So, Kofi found the original that was aborted even though un-
1spell-checked, and I have no account for five days and two accounts for a single day! He has further edited out the pictures to the degree we can get them into a file despite many scores of pictures being named the same number as others and therefore one would delete the other. For a first approximation, including the read-by-title only chapters describing a full day and the other fuller descriptions being a garble of un-spellchecked text, the Sudan file is also now burned to the DVD that had started with eh completed file on the Philipinhes-07.
So, after the intensity of the final departure farewells with TV interviews for all concerned at the time of the departure to bracket with that which was seen at arrival, we have gone forward with a backlog of text and image editing to be done—but at least Kofi managed to get the laptop debugged to be able to do some of this, enroute to the degree that I can find a source for recharging the battery. That recharging was done for the battery in the computer if not in me as we arrived in Cairo from the two and a half hour flight from Khartoum. Julie had a bug about going out and seeing the town, which I explained might be somewhat limited in sightseeing since it would be between one and four AM that they could see it, and both John Lazarus and Aida Taye have problems with their foreign passports and the green cards that would be violated for them to enter another country. So, I was planning to stay with them as Hassan and Julie, met by his cousin in Egypt, would enter the country and see what they could see as we would stake out the carry-on baggage and Kofi completed the download of the Philippine and Sudan mission into Julie’s DVD burner. Kofi and Aida are also studying for their biochemistry and physiology exams immediately upon their return on Friday.
What we did not count on was the complications inherent in the fact that two of our party were now outside in the city while we were the ones to see that the bags were checked through to their destination and we were the ones without the bag claim tags. The two outsiders would then be coming in to fly without any checked in baggage if we re-tagged them, and that would subject them to highly special scrutiny. Further, I was annoyed, since I am putting on over ten hours in the air on my purchased tickets on the NW/KLM/Sky Team which were said to be accredited to my frequent flyer number but were not so that the whole process is said to be perfectible by turning in the original boarding passes and trying to get credit in retrospect—a process that is always talked about and has NEVER worked for me, most spectacularly as I lost as many as a half dozen round trips across the Pacific on Philippine Air.
So, we were entertained during the attempt at a fitful sleep in the transit lounge in Cairo by getting up several times to identify, claim, re-tag and send ahead the bags that were ours and those of our three colleagues who are out seeing the sights of Cairo in the middle of the night.
What it means is that the simple passage from here to there and back again is never simple; and to have a record of it in a typed up legible text that is organized in your hands, and supported by edited logs of images and video clips is not only not easy, it is nearly always bordering on the impossible, and requires heroic efforts at rescue each and every excursion. This time, it was further complicated by the incapacitation of the laptop by an invading virus so that I could not process the download of the daily data. I had passed around the tape recorder at which this group was both wiling and adept. In the E-Learning Symposium in Soba University a fellow from Leeds university was describing a digital voice recorder that he had purchased for less than a hundred pounds sterling, which records voice digitally to a thumb drive which one can then
2plug into the USB port and attach it to a Power Point program or to an email or any other item in which it might be inserted, and in Leeds they call these voice messages “Prof Casts.” If I had that wonder link, I might be able to put the excited voices from the scene or the ambient sound of the hysteric frenzy of the rapturous dervish dancers twirling into the night of the first day of the twelve day celebration of the Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday—you could get the sights and sounds of the dervish dancers as I was in among them in what passes for Eid Fitr and Christmas and Easter in South Africa’s Transvaal!
“SWEET OR SAVORY BREAKFAST?”
This question was repeated several score times as the KLM flight attendants came up the aisle awakening the sleeping passengers of the big 777 on approach to AMS. This is a Dutch speaking person mimicking a Brit in the same way as they might refer to “sweet or savory biscuits”—the former being known by you as a “cookie” and the latter as a “cracker.” I chose a “savory breakfast” which is scrambled eggs and a few fried potatoes a bit salty, whereas the “sweet breakfast” is pancakes with syrup. This is yet another example of the divisions made clear by a common language, since I gave my lecture in the Sudan Medical Specialty Boards on the comparison and contrast of the US and UK medical education and certification systems which, of course, was given in alternating American English and British.
One of the nicest things that happened to me was a note passed to me by Aida which was in the form of a scribbled list in a thank you note for teaching them at every step in this long process as intense and exciting as it was in seeing their first patients, always treating each individual non-judgmentally and with concern for their own welfare, and being an inspirational role model to them all. You can believe that I will save this “score card “of a successful mission, and it may be a better snapshot in summary than many of our final posed portraits.
There will be a flurry of email exchanges with all our new friends and official contacts in Sudan for which I should have prepared the ellipses in the record occasioned by computer glitches, so we will have to get busy, even if drowsy, on the coming long (unaccredited to my FF Number!) flights so as to be responsive to their requests and fulfill the promises of a complete report on this very successful expeditor to Sudan in a very busy =schedule at multiple levels, with each of them coming off successfully
SUMMARY VIEW IN TRANSIT
OF THE “WELL-BEGUN” RELATIONSHIPS INITAITED IN THIS PIONEERING MISSION TO THE
“NEW SUDAN” IN MEDICAL AND ECONOMIC
RECONSTRUCTION FOLLOWING THEIR CPA JANUARY 2005
I leave directly from the Sudan return to Toledo to the MMHOF and the medical student medical mission symposium as well as work-in-progress on the doctoral dissertation PIHMQ data gathering. At the coming meeting there will be many questions about joining in on the next mission to Malawi and Rwanda, now subject to some rescheduling, and the next mission to Sudan which this expedition has set up for Khartoum and many other parts of the formerly-
3divided nation, including Blue Nile State, Khordufan, and Darfur for our next mission. In order for that series of next missions to be imitated, the conclusion of this highly successful mission can be reviewed in a very brief summary—probably most appropriately as an educational mission in the brief note just received from Aida Taye.
In rising order in the medical facilities hierarchy in Sudan, we had successful IDP Camp mission and set up local medical students and registrars in such a way as to indigenize a continuation of such mission with sponsors that can supply both medicine and connections for hospitalization should it be needed for special services. Each of the people with special services requirements, such as the woman with Stage III breast cancer or the man with esophageal stricture in MayoFarm Camp, or the wife of Abdul Rahim our driver examined and found to have toxic thyroiditis, or the evaluation of friends and family members for second opinions, such as Ananes’ brother with Cerebral palsy who had never heard of the resources available through the Cheshire House—follow-up continuing therapy was assured by identifying and getting commitments form the referral resource, including the surgical registrars of Soba University Hospital, Ahfahd Faculty of Medicine, Khartoum Teaching Hospital, Gizeera University, the NHIF, and the three orphanages we visited and the Sudan Doctor’s Union, the Sudan Specialty Board, the Pharmaceutical Association and the two Foundations: Gena from the American side and Saweid from the Sudanese side. It is wonderful to hear them coming back with assurance of follow-up plans. In some instances, we may be able to intercept our own referrals, in getting medically treated thyrotoxicosis controlled to be operated later in our coming visit, as in Abdul Rahman’s instance. We can now organize certain supplies that will be needed for the next mission and organize fund risers or contributions in kind before the next “packing party” in Derwood preceding the next visit.
The NGO’s and foundations such as the Cheshire House and the several Rehabilitation Hospitals and all the orphanages and Ana Sudan can be linked for some collaborative support in our next visit.
The government Ministries such as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is hoping to receive a report and plan for our next visit, and we have also touched base with the International Agencies such as WHO and UNHCR for clearance to enter the areas such as the Darfur and Southern troubled areas.
The critical office in the new Federal Unity Government is that of Dr. Tabitha Shokai, Minister of Health who has promised her full support in the collaborative efforts initiated and has accepted the invitation to Washington with her Directors of the MOH divisions in order to coordinate the support from some of the resources in the Washington area hosted by Gena Foundation and the Embassy of Sudan to the USA, with the Ambassador expecting our report and plans for further development of the relationship. Key contact within that will be the GWU Center for African Health and Human Security and a meting with Dr. John (Skip) Williams GWU Provost and VP for Health Affairs.
Our inaugural Medical Mission to the new Federal Sudan has been successful on nearly all these levels thanks to the good will and concerted efforts of a large number of people coming together in a relationship of trust and humanitarian spirit. We do not want to overpromise and
4under deliver. We have little in the way of “stuff” and nothing in the way of a budget; but we can and do offer a relationship with a number of talented people who are wiling to consider the possibilities to address the critical humanitarian and an health problems legacies in Sudan and how we might move from past atrocities toward future hope through concerted cooperation with all sides.
“Gena” means “We have come” and the inaugural linkages have begun.