Some of the young folks whose parents follow my blog like pictures of animals. Here are a couple of pictures of baby lambs that have been born to the sheep owned by my friend Prosper. Sheep seem to have lambs any time of year rather than there being a time of year that is lambing season, like spring time in the US. The one with the black face was born back in April and the all white one that prosper is holding was just born in October.
These same friends and neighbors, Prosper and Martine, also have a new member of the family. I happened to be working at the Maternity center helping with weighing babies the day he was born so I got this picture of him when he was about three hours old. All of the babies are born missing a lot of their color. Their skin darkens after a week or so. A good thing, too, with the sun they have to live under all their lives!
Here he is again, at two months old, big, and healthy!
Peace Corps always says the health and safety of the volunteers is their first priority. In keeping with this, all volunteers get a full medical checkup after a year of service, to make sure everything is OK. At the end of August I had my medical exams and all is well. I had my mammogram plus sonogram and, at least from the reading of the Burkinabè Doctor, there is no problem there, thank goodness. I understand they will be sent to the US for a second opinion, however. My TB test was negative, although I was a bit worried they would not be able to read it because the nurse nicked a blood vessel and the area was bruised. All she had to do was run her finger over the place and see that there was no bump to know that there was no reaction. I have gained weight and the doctor is happy, because I lost a lot when I good food poisoning last year. I want to quit gaining, however, so I guess there will be fewer pancakes for breakfast and other goodies for a while.
Another standard part of the medical checkup is a dental exam and cleaning. They have a different way to take dental X-rays than my dentist in Cleveland uses. There is a small, flat square thing that is connected to a computer that they put in your mouth. As they zap it with X-rays the information goes to the computer where the dentist can check it out. Another volunteer told me her dentist uses it in the states, but another said her dentist thought the resolution was not a good as with the old bite-wing X-rays. The tooth cleaning session with the dentist was also a bit different. They clean with an electrically driven instrument and water under pressure. I am not sure if it vibrates or rotates, but it was not too bad. Over all I found it a little less painful than the metal pick they use at home, but there were a couple of “shocks” that felt like I must have an exposed nerve at the gum line. The continuous spray of water in the mouth made me gag a few times, too. They did not find any cavities, however.
I did have to get new glasses because the gold plating (or paint?) on the ones I brought from America had worn off and I am allergic to the nickel, like you find in cheap earrings. I think it may have been the sunscreen and bug repellant I always put on every day that removed whatever was covering the underlying metal. In any case I started to get red sore spots on my nose where the frames sometimes touch my face, just like the reaction I get in my ears to cheap ear rings. The visit to the eye Doctor was quite similar to what you might experience in the US, and I did get a new prescription. When I told the optician I wanted trifocals, he said it is not possible. They only make progressive lenses here. Ugh! They give such a limited field of view that I find them really annoying. I learned that there are different qualities of glass that can be used and, if you pay a premium price, you can get a larger field of view. Thank goodness Peace Corps willing to pay for the better ones. With these glasses here is distortion in about half of the lense. If you look through the wrong part of the lenses the world is not just out of focus, but moving as you turn your head. After a few days your brain gets trained not to look there, but I also find it annoying to have to turn my head to keep the print in focus when I am reading. I am looking forward to being able to get trifocals when I get home.