Initial impressions.

Goeie middag!

That’s good afternoon in Afrikaans… one of the 11 national languages of South Africa. I’m just popping in for a quick update on my activities since arriving. I’ll try to do more detailed posts later on. During my first full day here CFHI graciously provided me a guided tour of the Cape Town area. This was not your typical “touristy” tour… but an overview of the history/culture/social issues that previously and currently affect the country. We discussed Apartheid / District 6 / and the “townships” where many of the Cape Town residents live. Although I was aware of the apartheid government and its basic history / I was unaware of the lingering effects. Entire areas of town are still – unofficially – divided by race. District 6 was a black/coloured neighborhood from which all residents were evicted and the entire neighborhood bulldozed to the ground by the apartheid government. The “townships” are areas outside of the city that provide either “formal” (i.e. a real building) or “informal” (i.e. a make-shift dwelling usually made out of sheet or scrap metal). These exist mere kilometers from the beautiful and well maintained downtown area. If you aren’t aware of these topics I suggest giving it a quick google. I have to say it was an eye-opening experience. There is much more to Cape Town than the beautiful ocean/mountain scenery that one sees on TV. There are social issues abound.

Today was my first day in the hospital. I haven’t been so lost since my first day on psychiatry in 3rd year. Oy. Things work differently here. The doctors – however- are brilliant and caring. I’m at Victoria hospital – a public hospital (vs private). It has 50 beds and 4 critical care beds. There are male and female wards with several beds in each. Say goodbye to your private rooms Americans. Here we have curtains with messy paper charts and x-rays on film.

Things I miss: 1. My phone/the internet. 2. My car. 3. My comfort zone.

If you’re wondering about my funny punctuation – the comma on this keyboard is broken.

That’s all for now.

Cheers

Ray

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