Another week has gone by and it is time to post.
On Monday, DJ, Tim, Holly and I went to Bagram to see the US hospital. It took us over 6 hours to get there, even though it is only a 15 minute flight. We left early in the morning to catch a shuttle to KAIA (Kabul Afghanistan International Airport.) This isn’t like catching an airport shuttle in the states though. We ride on this shuttle in full battle rattle. It is about a 20 min ride to KAIA. We left before breakfast, so we had breakfast at KAIA. We checked in 2 hours before our flight, which was a Canadian C-130. When it was finally time to board, nothing could be carried on. We have to check everything and they put it on a pallet. When it was time for us to leave, we taxied out, and then got held for at least an hour. Our 15 min flight took us 2 hours. Once we finally arrived in Bagram, we had to wait on a bus to take us to the terminal, and then wait in the terminal until they released us. By the time we collected our bags and walked to the hospital, it was well after lunch. I don’t think I will ever complain about how long it takes to fly once I get back to the states. We spent the afternoon touring the hospital and talking with our respective peers so we could set up some specific training for our Afghan mentees. There is already a 2-week training program established at Bagram, but it is generic. We each wanted to set up specific training. 2 weeks is too long for the OT nurses to be gone from Kabul. We are already short staffed. I am trying to set up only a week of training, all of which will be spent in the OR. After supper, we spent some time at the USO, and then went to our rooms. We had temporary lodging near the hospital. We had to be back at the Bagram terminal before 0430 for our return flight. That was another “fun-filled” trip. It was a 6-hour trip to return to NKC. Our flight was on-time, but the 3-hour before flight check-in only adds to the experience. Once we got back to KAIA, we had to wait about 90 mins before we could catch the shuttle back to NKC. It was a 30-hour trip, for 3 hours of work. Needless to say, we all took a nap on Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday and Thursday were regular days of mentoring. I discussed with the nurses about rotating through the training program in Bagram. They all want to go for a week. I hope to be able to go with them the first time or two to help with the training and make sure it is appropriate based on their needs. I have been working with the nurses for 4 months now so I have a good idea of where their individual skills are.
Thursday is our training day in the OT. We work on one or two of the basic nursing core competencies, then have a meal of bolani. It is a tradition for the nurses and housekeepers to have bolani each Thursday before lunch.
I am sure you have all heard by now that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has boycotted the elections so Karzi has been declared the presidential election winner. It is interesting to hear the nurses talk about it. They worry about whether or not if their way of life is going to improve or not and if all the corruption in the government will be stopped. I won’t jump up on my soapbox, but I hope the international community can put enough pressure on the current Afghan government to help them make sweeping reforms and changes. The Afghans need to experience something besides war and corruption in their lives.
I haven’t had a chance to download any pictures yet, but will post them in the next few days…