Well sadly this is was our last day in Wau. As mentioned before I think, there has been a bit of a mix up with our flights both to Wau and now in our leaving. There were various reasons for this but some appear to relate to the austerity measures in place here in South Sudan at the moment.
So all packed with bags in the courtyard of DORCAS and hearing a car, we opened the gate to be greeted not by our driver but by Dr Majok who had come to wish us safe travels. It was lovely to see him. We also sent our greetings to Dr Garang through him as Dr Garang is due back in Wau soon to see his family.
The next car was Hassan our driver, packing was quickly done as we had only 5 bags between us instead of the 10 of the outward trip. We drove off only to see another car racing after us, this time it was Dr Marcello! He followed us to the airport and we said our goodbye’s there. Dr Marcello has been very welcoming and we have worked well with him this trip in the temporary absence of Dr Alex.
The checking in was going very smoothly, the bags were all now underweight so no trouble there then Frankie was asked for departure tax (£20 ssp each). Well we had given all our South Sudanese Pounds to pay our bill at DORCAS and so only had dollars! The airport official couldn’t accept dollars so we had a problem. After some asking around we thought we had found a man who would change the money but after a 15 minute wait he came back with a much lower exchange rate than Frankie had originally negotiated. Frankie said ‘no’ to the chap but this left us back at square one. She then had a brainwave and rang DORCAS. Florence duly arrived on the back of a motorbike and changed Frankie enough money for us to leave.
Our departure from Wau was on the same South Supreme Airline plane that we had come in on: an interesting and in some aspects, unnerving flight. This wasn’t helped by a lady in the front of the plane screaming at every little bit of turbulence! We did get a packet of orange cream biscuits each this time instead of the banana creams of the previous flight.
Landing and getting through the airport went without a hitch. Our driver here in Juba met us and took us back to the same hotel, most of us even have the same rooms as before: a bit of an odd feeling! We were all tired from the journey but after a wash and brush up we had a late lunch. While eating we were delighted to see the familiar face of Mark an Anaesthetist from Dorchester. He is here on a fact finding mission, looking to set up a link like ours with Rumbek. Long conversations ensued over the rest of the afternoon.
We did achieve a lot during our brief time in Wau with the surviving sepsis saturday, the continuing work on Maternity and Paeds as well as teaching at the 2 schools of nursing, We feel that we have set some firm foundations with staff and equipment for the new HDU that is being developed in conjunction with THET and the Pharo Foundation. Of course it would have been good to have had 2 weeks in Wau instead of the 1 but time has certainly not been wasted! Time here in Juba is already allocated for meeting with Ministers, report writing and Blog updating! (Sorry that this blog has been a bit hit and miss by the way, our internet has been a challenge so posts have arrived in an odd order!)