1:00am, Juba: I fell asleep reading, and awoke to the smell of smoke. I unplugged my phone and felt the wall for heat. nothing.
1:15am: smell of smoke gets worse.
1:20am: explosion! my light burst, reigning down sparks in the darkness. I fled down the hall to my colleague's room. There is no superintendent, no fire department, no authority around here. And it's the middle of the night. Shoot.
1:25am: still knocking on the door trying to wake him up. Fail. Periodically checking for flames.
1:30am: He wakes up. We go back to the smoke filled room to investigate. He dissects the light. I am terrified. Smoke seeps out into the hallways. I picture the UN officials ablaze in their rooms.
1:45am: Colleague says its a short circuit, and I should go back to sleep. Ha! I stay up to wait for signs of the fire spreading.
2:30am: still waiting for signs of fire.
3:30am: still waiting. Calming down.
9:30am: call from our other colleague, indicating that the only flight out we can take (going to Wau) leaves at 11am. We do not have tickets yet. Can't miss this flight.
9:45am: frantically packing.
10:00am: last minute driver finds us.
10:15am: roll into airport. Wrestle my way to the ticket counter. I hate being pushy. Must be pushy.
11:10: attack of illness. Must use airport bathroom. Gahhhhh. Airport bathroom is hole in ground. Realize too late there is no toilet paper.
11:20am: board plane. African time.
1pm: arrive in Wau. I love it here. It's sort of like an old Hispanic town in the Caribbean- everything is made of red earthy clay consistent with the ground and surroundings. There is a slow pace of life- people and small rickshaws flood the streets to reach their final destinations. There are beautiful low lying trees with red buds, interspersed with clay huts covered by thatched roofs. There is an actual town center (unlike Juba), and a light breeze to counteract this oppressive heat.
To make everything even better, the hospital administration is absolutely wonderful. We met the dentist on the plane ride over, and he got us through the airport logistics and to the hospital, where a meeting convened so we could discuss plans. The staff was so receptive to the idea of trainings and were so excited with the equipment (especially the oxygen concentrator that we lugged all the way from Boston!) So worth the trek. I would love to stay here longer than a short week!