Day 9: Separation Anxiety

Do any of you know what it’s like to be in purgatory? Okay, fair, maybe that time at the DMV where the clerk actually scolded you for using your phone when the signs CLEARLY say not to, resulting in you having to sit in abject silence for the next hour, was pretty bad. No question about that. Now imagine that exact same type of situation, only now add a one way mirror where you can see into a back room where the off duty employees are having a party just because. Sounds mildly frustrating right? Well, that basically encapsulates our experiences after the team was forced to break up for the day.

I, the one and only Griffin “bear” Fox, was conscripted to accompany the Ebola team on a surveying outing, while Grace, Jessica, and Michael were off to another clinic. While the Ebola team’s work is remarkably important and will undoubtedly save countless lives, the process to arrive at such an end turned out to be a little boring. My day consisted of walking from house to house with my two handlers (aka people actually on the team) and sitting quietly in the background while they conducted their survey. This lasted for about seven hours. Thankfully, I remembered to bring some books. Unfortunately, one of those was The State and Revolution by Lenin. I finished it, but in the process remembered why I don’t like reading Lenin.

It was by no means a bad day on my part. The fact that I finally got to see what went into the Ebola team’s project was great, just a little dry after the first hour. Fortunately, the others were just at another ol’ clinic visit. I wouldn’t be missing anything. (dramatic foreshadowing fades into the ether)

[Fade to black]

[Open to Grace, Jessica, and Micael at the Masangbo clinic]
Splash! Gush! Splish!
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Screamed the woman, lying uncomfortably on the delivery table.
The gang made it to Masangbo just in time.

Soon after arriving at the clinic, before they had even set up and commenced interviews, as per standard procedure, they heard the woman in the delivery room. This is what we’ve been preparing for. Rushing over the nurses, they asked whether they were allowed in to see if the mother would be willing to let them film the birth. Upon receiving the go ahead Grace and Jessica approached the mother and asked for the required consent. She agreed. Time for the shots of a lifetime!

[Cut to Griffin walking to yet another house while it pours, dampening his books just enough to make reading a challenge]

[Cut back to the delivery room with Grace and Jessica]

Not long after they started forming, the two intrepid filmmakers heard the cries of a new baby entering this beautiful world. Still filming diligently, the nurses then proceed to cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. I can’t say with certainty what happened next given that the video cut out here and that I was probably swatting flies and children away at the time, but they got the shots that mattered.

After we had all returned from the field and briefly caught each other up we headed up to the office of Solomon, a CHAMPS worker and CHO surgeon. So, basically, a remarkable man with a wealth of knowledge and experience relevant to our project. He didn’t disappoint. The interview went well and we managed to get some nice sound clips despite the rain loudly interrupting halfway through. Additional gratitude must also be extended to Solomon because along with sitting down for an interview with us he has also been our primary point of contact for everyone we could have ever wanted to meet with. We would have literally three interviews if it were not for this man. Thank you, Solomon!

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