The morning today was a bit of a leisure morning where our drivers took us to the Mercato. It is the largest outdoor market in the world. And large it was.
Without being able to do any google research (Wi/fi is spotty if you haven’t guessed by now) the three of us estimate the size of the market to be as big as Ross Glen, including Taylor and East Glen. Everything from rebar to plastic chairs, to cloths and textiles, to food and between was offered. Our driver advised us to not get out, but to enjoy the scenery from the van. Pickpockets were thick, foreigners are big big targets for mugging and we were all good with that. I was taking some pictures and video from the window, well inside the van, and both the driver and a guy from the street told me to be very careful to hold on to my phone or someone would reach in and snatch it before I knew it was happening. Apparently the belief is that it is ok to rob the foreigners, with zero qualms. Luckily, my ninja reflexes, mixed with my keen acumen of approaching danger had my phone safe even t the end of the drive.
We then went on to visit a local gift shop and pick up a few momentos and it is there Alynne saw her first Ethiopian Downs syndrome baby. The mom was motioning to her that she needed money or food, and so Alynne gave her some as we were parked in the street waiting for the group to reassemble. I also was able to take a photo of a duster/ceremonial thing (?) and decorative item that people here have. It looks like a feather duster, but it is made of real hair. Some people have them hanging in their vehicles, some keep them in their homes. It can be used to keep flies away, to clean, or for ceremonial rituals. I can’t say for certain what those are, but they may or may not involve a sacrificial goat….
Begging is trying to be outlawed as the police are fining the drivers if someone from the van either gives to the beggars, or buys something from a street vendor. People must still be doing it, even though it is illegal, because they are still begging and vending. We then headed to the main coffee shop and were able to buy bags and bags of their local coffee. Months ago I was speaking with some coworkers about the fact I didn’t really care for coffee. Dalton said perhaps it was just that I never had any that I had liked. To be honest, I and’t even considered that there were different type or raw flavours that varied. Well, I have really, really like the coffee here. I have bought some to come home with me, as well as the dishes and coffee pot to make a coffee ceremony for guests. YUM! I have it at every opportunity.
Our next stop was the local textiles and silk factory oasis in the city. When I say oasis, I am not joking. Once the gates closed behind the van, we entered a world that was invisible to the outside world. Even when we were driving down the back alley to get there, we didn’t know we what we would see when we entered. It was lush, leafy, tall tall palm trees, beautiful flowers and the pollution was quickly reduced by all the jungle plants. The first thing to greet us was a rack of silk worm pods and the the threads they used to weave the clothes, bags and scarves that they sold. You can well imagine the items were pricey, and after a few minutes respite in the jungle oasis, we hit the bricks again for the world famished spice hut they have here.
Our first coffee ceremony had us eating fresh bread brushed with Burberry spices, and it was delicious to all of us. It was at this spice hut we were able to buy some to take home for our own personal use. Matt will be quite excited to get our picture of us in front of the hut when I get back.
The afternoon had us returning to the Amengala centre for the medial and dental assessments for the kids and guardians there. It has here I got board certified as a dental surgeon (practically) as I assisted Matt in pulling teeth and running the instruments. Kari had the good fortune to witness a child of about 2 whip down her pants and take a big nasty runny peanut buttery poop on the sidewalk as the other kids and adults alike laughed and pointed. It was soon cleaned up. Right. No, it wasn’t. There was a small shovelful of dirt up on top of it, and voila! Business as usual. I think it might be a while before Kari enjoys peanut butter now…
Lee then had his turn at ripping bones from skulls as there were plenty of rotten teeth to go around. He has the advantage over me now though as he got to administer the intra-oral/mucosal freezing pre filling and I did not. 🙁 There was also one lady who was very scared of the suction tubing I put in her mouth, and there was no convincing her to sit into the suction tube when she first had a mouthful of spit, and so she leaded over the chair and just hoarded it onto the floor. I immediately went into Mom mode and scolded her for her rude behaviour. Who knows what sort of nasty germs she had! It was disgusting. Truly gross. As charming, lovely and delightful as the boy who blew his nose against the wall when he thought no one was looking.
There was another lady who had had an abscess for sooooooo long, that it had created an external fistula. (Tunnel to the outside of her face for those of you not knowing what this is, and wishing to re-enjoy your breakfast.). It was pushing and bleeding as we worked on her teeth, and we were able to flush the hole out from the inside to the outside it was so gross. This being said, there was a young boy who truly complimented Alynne on her beautiful artwork on her tattoo. In doing her research prior to coming, an owl tattoo symbolizes the death of a child. What do you suppose Alynne had on her bicep tattoo…You guess it, a HUGE owl tattoo. She had been covering it initially, but then decided to let it buck, and went without her long sleeves and lo and behold, the children were always wanting to touch and see it. I chose to keep mine covered…lol
One boy who I assisted on three fillings for, came up to me afterwards and said, “You are a very good Doctor! (Insert big grin here on both of our parts)”. I didn’t have it in me to correct him. I will say, all the kids were very grateful for all the care they received, even if it hurt, like fillings or extractions.
When we were driving from the market back to the house, we saw the fountain I had in my dream earlier. Lee decided to stand in a pool of water, strip his pants off and self baptize until two men in long grey trench coats rendered a beating on him like no other. One of the body guards and I were the only two able to help him, but since there was ice on the road, the body guard was useless, never having seen it before. I was able to quickly go across the street and save Lee from certain death as I wrestled one trenchman (not Henchman as ou might think) and twist his arm across behind home while kneeling on his chest like you do when you kill a coyote. These malaria pills are great for dreams!
The house we are at is in the direct flight path of the airport, so huge Dreamliner jets are constantly buzzing overhead, keeping us awake. Next to the Ace dogs killing each other in the night and then howling at their success….
Off to bed now….