Vanda Kujbus

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Gobabis - Excuse me, do you have a lab? part 1

Written by Vanda

Where to start?

After settling on the worms, I start reading the already available literature. Most of them originate from the neighboring countries, Botwsana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.  They mainly describe perparation methods and how good income they provide to rural people, and most importantly, they all agree on one thing – worms coming from remote rural areas have the risk of being infected by dirty puddle water or bad personal hygiene, yet no one has ever done anything against it.

As I am ready to action and change the world, I would like to pick up the topic from where everyone’s knowledge has come to an end – food quality, or to be more precise, hygiene. I share my thoughts with Annette. I can’t decide if she likes the idea or not, her only question is, whether I have access to any sterile labs. Hmm... I’m in the middle of nowhere, I don’t have access even to hot water let alone a lab! But... Challenge accepted!

There happens to be a "department" of the University of Namibia just under the DRFN office, which is rather just a small library, but anyway I decide to try my luck there first. The assistant is very helpful but he can’t help us unfortunately, but directs to the main campus in Windhoek, and can try to knock on their door. Really, this is it? Sounds too easy to be real.

University library under DRFN
inside the university library

On our way back home we randomly run into a blood lab, where I also want to try my chances.

The receptionist looks puzzled but he calls her boss to help me out. Although I think my question is out of their world, he is still very helpful and says that he can’t help me either, but I should try the hospital.

I have to realize again that people are so nice in here. In Hungary, probably they would have rolled their eyes at me before they would kick me out of the place.

Blood lab by night

Gobabis state hospital

Ok, let’s try to find this hospital. We walk for ~20 minutes in the suburbs and again, under direct sun. I think our bodies are so much sunshine and warmth deprived from the alawys-gloomy-Denmark, that they refuse to function in cooler times, demanding  sun and heat.

But at least, if we get heat stroke, we are heading to the right place.
We are getting close, but first we walk by a very fancy church before we reach the hospital. Of course! If even doctors can’t help you, you always have a last resort to go to. Or other way around, first you try to bargain with God, and if you can’t make a deal with him, you try next door.

Fancy church next to the hospital

The hospital, if it wouldn’t have a huge sign saying Gobabis State Hospital, looks no different from the outside than any tiny summer houses in a holiday area. Good, they make you feel like you were on holidays and the only thing you need to do is to sit down and relax. You get better earlier. Smart solution!

Gobabis state hospital

From the inside, it reminds me of a clinic in a smaller city in Hungary, which makes me wonder, if it means that circumstances in Namibia are as good and developed as in Hungary, or if circumstances in Hungary are as bad as in a developing African small town. I let you to decide.

Hospital from the inside
4x4 cars in the hospital

In the garden the same old 4x4 cars greet us, implying it is a very hard job in here to be an ambulance guy.
People are extremely helpful again, but it’s a bit hard to find way among the „go where you see people and turn left” type of directions, but one guard shows mercy on us and takes us directly to the lab door. The lady tells us that unfortunately I can’t just walk in to a lab from the street without any permission.

They can’t give me equipment either, but I will get better chances in Windhoek hospital, where apparently there is also a food lab.

Hmm... I gather more and more reasons to go back to Windhoek and try my luck there, as I was told that there is a big open market, where I can also buy mopane worms, at a place called Katutura, nicely put, the suburbs of Windhoek, not that nicely, the slums.

In our mind’s eyes we are already in Windhoek, when Belinda warns us „nah-uh-uh!, not so fast, Katutura is not safe, you guys will need someone to protect your asses”. Luckily we know Ella in Windhoek, and she agrees to be our fairy godmother and will take a good care of us in the weekend.

Thus all of a sudden I find myself looking for accommodation in there for a night. The cheapest option is renting a plot for a tent at a backpackers’ hostel called Cardboard box (this was the promotion site). Since we have other camping plans as well, we decide to invest into a tent and counting with the fact that it is going to save us some money on the long run.