Another action packed week. I had meant to write something earlier but technology has been playing up and also life has been very full.
Yesterday was Independence Day and for the last few days more and more Zambian flags and banners have been appearing everywhere- we actually spent the day a bit out of town through the drying landscape at a beautiful area called Monkey Pools. Here a small river has been dammed and pools made for swimming under the trees. The water was wonderfully cool though Zambian friends thought it far too chilly. There were huge dragonflies and bright scarlet smaller ones, butterflies of all colours, purple water lilies and fleetingly a flash of a brilliant kingfisher. We ended the day in a busy Ethiopian restaurant full of Independence Day revellers where the food was delicious- so it is not all work!
The groups at Chainama went very well this week - with us realising from the recorded observations that we needed to be a bit more pro-active in explaining the importance of fuller descriptions of the art work itself. There were some really interesting and positive reactions from the patients. One gentleman being "overwhelmed" by what he found in the room. Trainees are showing real insight as to how they can see the approach being useful in different situations. Another session with the Trainee Clinical officers on Tuesday afternoon - a smaller group as some on practical placements and some interesting feedback though it is of its nature a much less in depth training. The walk across the hospital to the College was not so overwhelmingly hot this week!
In Chainama this year we are quite rightly being expected by management to justify the value of our training.
The group at UTH brought some very interesting case work to the supervision group and the discussion was very general with group members showing real insights into the process. As well we did some interesting work on enabling stories to emerge in the experiential work. We had two half days this week with the 1sr year neuro-psychology Masters students. A lot of them come from a special education back ground which added a new dimension to the work and lead to some interesting discussion. This again is a very short introduction and I think some of them were disappointed they were not at this stage receiving the full practice based module.
We are learning a lot from the trainees about the systems here and how issues of child abuse and "defilement" are approached and managed. We are always trying to keep our approach as open and responsive as possible which necessitates endless rewriting material and thinking on the hoof!
Lesley has been following up research support and on Friday after treating ourselves to a leisurely lunch we set off to a meeting with the director of MHUNZA ( Mental Health Users Network Zambia). Sylvester Katontoka. We have met before and he is a mercurial character with a burning passion for the cause. He has been and is involved in Government and International level negotiations, representing the service users. We ended up, after an interesting taxi ride, meeting him near where he is staying as currently he is only getting round with the aid of crutches. It was a useful if far- ranging discussion and we have his support and co-operation for any feasibility work we can get funded.
So Friday found us pretty exhausted but pleased! During the week friends staying here had come to supper and a couple of evening saw us sharing a beer of two. The purple of the jacarandas has been gradually replaced by the staggering brilliance of Flame Trees and though the ground is getting drier and drier the range of blossoms is still amazing and the scent of the Frangipani is wonderful. The tree next to where I am sitting is hung with still small hard mangoes. I don't think they will ripen before we leave sadly but I am really hoping to be here long enough after the rains start to see the changes that will bring.