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Senegal 2010

Day 4: Wednesday, April 7th
We had 5 surgeries today. They all had some kind of complication or discovery that extended the length of the surgery and we ended up staying in the OR late and had to cut some of our lectures. We went an African Art exhibition, which was fantastic and ate at the restaurant there. It was delicious to have Thioff (fish), fried plantains, rice, bouf (beef) among others. Serengie Gaye, the head urologist and coordinator of these trips gave us farewell before leaving on business. We also ate with the other head urologist residents and physicians from the host hospital. Their hospitalilty is amazing!
Day 5: Thursday, April 8th
We had 7 surgeries. Afterwards we went with Mohamed to his house. He showed us traditional Senegal life and to an authentic place to eat. We played with his cute 4 year-old son, Abdullah. It was interesting walking the streets. There were hundreds of people just walking the streets for no apparent reason except to visit. Imagine that, strolling and appreciating friends and family!! Its wonderful to see this and the way real Senegalese live! Julie and Nate went and had their hair braided, the power went out and they finished their braids under cell phone light. How adaptable are they! Their hair looks awesome.
Day 6: Friday, April 9th
Final surgeries performed today. They all went well. More surgeries. Final Surgeries. Went to dinner at the beach overlooking the ocean
Day 7: Saturday, April 10th
Day 8: Sunday, April 11th
Story Time
THE BUTTER STORY: We went to dinner at this fancy French restaurant. This was day one when we were getting used to the idea of the language barrier. Here’s the script:
Nate: “Excuse me, where’s the bathroom?”
Waiter: “Excuse moi?”
Nate: “Where is the bathroom?”

Waiter: “Excuse moi?”
Nate: “Bathroom? Bathroom?”
Waiter: Quickly exits room with haste
Nate: Leaves room frustrated and tries to find restroom on his own
Enter Waiter: Leaves a plate of butter in Nate’s place.
Ha ha ha! The waiter thought he was saying Butter instead of bathroom. For the rest of the trip we would ask “Where’s the butter?” when we needed to find the bathroom. Oh language faux pas, why are you so hilarious?
THE STICK STORY: I was abruptly awoken this morning at 2 am by a stick being poked into my side. Well, actually, that is what they tell me. I can’t remember a thing. Apparently, Gaayana came home last night and couldn’t get me to wake up to open the door (or so she claims, I deny everything). Here is the story according to Gaayana with Igor as witness. They arrived back at the hotel after the traditional African dancing at 1:30 am where I was asleep in our room.
Gayanna: Knocks on door. No answer. Calls my name through open window slats. No answer. Starts yelling my name. No answer.
Enter security guard who also starts yelling my name and running his flashlights along the wood slats on the door in attempt to awaken the sleeping giant.
Gaayana then went to get Igor: “I can’t wake up Stacie”
Igor: thinking to himself that people can’t sleep through that unless in Phase 1 anesthesia. He rapa tap taps on the door
Gaayana: “Stacie!!!”
Igor: “Shhhh, you’ll wake everyone” (however he soon was yelling and slamming the door eventually)
Security came by again. More knocking and yelling. They went to the back window of the hotel on the opposite side of the room of my bed.
Gaayana: “Should we throw a stone through a hole in the screen?”
Igor: “NO!”
Gayanna: Not at her head! At the floor
Security guard: Exits with haste
Igor: “Okay, the way I see it, you have two options. You can sleep in my room, I have a second bed…however there may be some funny questions in the morning from the team….or you can sleep with the security guard” Gaayana begins to panic
Enter security guard (to Gaayana’s relief because now she doesn’t have to decide on which guy to sleep with). The giant stick is approximately 8 feet long. He sticks it through hole in the screen window, across the room over Gaayanas bed and begins slapping my bed and laughing so hard the stick is all over the place.
Gaayana: “Don’t hit her head”
Security Guard: pokes stacie’s side
Stacie: “WHAT?!!!? Oh, Hi guys, do you need me to open the door? Here I come”
The rest of the trip was defined by the retelling of this story over and over and the amazement that I don’t recall this or the conversation I had with Gayanna that night.
I deny everything.
It’s a conspiracy.
I swear I’m a light sleeper.
Day 9: Monday, April 12th
We woke up this morning and took a nice, slow relaxing morning and early afternoon shopping, swimming, walking around, taking naps and going to the beach. Eat your heart out! We then began our drive to Dakar which was much shorter this time. We picked up some purchased items and headed to the airport. It’s always hard to say goodbye. Sarah kept thinking of excuses as to why she couldn’t go home. She’s a real trooper. We just spent 10 days in a hot, humid, culturally different country with many toilets without toilet seats, showers without warm water, water that is undrinkable, and a language barrier, however the 16 year-old girl on our trip is trying to come up with reasons not to leave. I feel this is good testimony to why we do these trips. Many friends and family members of mine consider these previous listed reasons first and foremost when I say I am going again, however the real purpose and enriching experience blocks out that list. Besides, it’s more of an adventure with those things. I don’t necessarily see them as negatives against the trip. “Everything is an adventure”….even going to the restroom.
We caught a late night flight into Paris and then to home.
Day 10: Tuesday, April 13th
I’m currently sitting in NY JFK airport reflecting on our trip as I wait for my connecting flight to Salt Lake City. I just sat on a toilet seat for the heck of it (heck: a word common to native Utahans to replace the expletive version). I also just drank 5 diet cokes, just cause. It’s nice to reflect on our wonderful experience that has, once again, put everything into perspective. Transitioning home can be a challenge: My 5 diet cokes came in 5 separate refilled glasses instead of just refilling one glass, the lady next to me complained about the table wobbling, someone just gave me the ‘ewwww’ look for putting my purse next to the dirty sink, the news is talking about making it illegal to panhandle and how much of a ‘burden’ panhandlers are on our society. It’s almost more difficult to come back to hear and see such things that are so minor compared to the disparity I witnessed. I always try not to be cynical. I try to just keep things in perspective and appreciate my job, my life, my country as well as respect and admire cultures different from my own and remember that just because there are very different cultural experiences, it is not “weird” it is just “different”.
The Senegal trip was wonderful. The effects of our efforts on the patients were great, but the effect that the patients, their family, our hosts and their country had on us are deep and everlasting. I am grateful for the perspective and education and I am more appreciative of the relationships we created and intensified. Can’t wait to go again next year.

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Senegal 2010 pictures

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Senegal 2010


International Volunteers of Urology Blog Entries Senegal, Africa Team Members: Francis Schneck – Team leader – Urologist Mark Bellinger – Urologist Igor Seminov – Anesthesiologist Gaayana Rha – Urology fellow Julie Palmer – OR circulating nurse Nathaniel Cook – OR scrub tech Sarah Schneck – Trip logistician Stacie Pearce – Recovery room nurse

Day 1: April 4, 2010
Entry by: Stacie Pearce
Hi there everyone, we have arrived safely in Dakar, Senegal. My flight from Salt Lake City to New York City was uneventful except for the holding formation our flight had to endure, thus causing me to have to run to catch the flight to Dakar. Once on that flight we were about to take off and then the pilot announced that there were bags on the plane without the owners onboard…a safety concern….so we turned around so they could take off one or two bags. This was an one hour delay. However, the flight itself was not bad at all. Only eight hours. Not too shabby. We arrived in Senegal at 0500 this morning and was promptly picked up by Mohammed (Jalloh), a good friend and urologist from last year. He brought our equipment to the hospital and brought us to the hotel for breakfast and sleep. Afterward, he picked us up later that evening and took us to Senegalese Wrestling match. I have never seen anything like it! It was their national independence day and was held at a large stadium. They had multiple performances of traditional dancers, fireworks, and Akon, the rapper artist now famous in America showed up to Julie’s excitement. There were three wrestling matches and the wrestlers wear a loin cloth and fetishes. They are blessed and have to do multiple traditional blessings. The matches can last only seconds because the moment the wrestler’s head or four extremities touch the ground the match is over. Afterward we went to Dr. Seringe Gaye’s home and to dinner. It was a wonderful first day to start out our trip in Senegal. Tomorrow we have our clinic to decide what surgeries we will perform and to and set up the operating room.

Day 2: April 5, 2010 Entry by: Stacie Pearce
Today we had a fantastic breakfast at our hotel (I had 5 pastries myself….which would probably explain why my pants ripped already on day 2) and then we went to the Hospital de Grad Yoff to perform clinic and set up the operating room supplies. We saw 28 patients and only four were cancelled due to no shows or surgery deemed uneeded. The parents seemed very appreciative already just to have their children seen. It’s amazing to see what the urologists have been able to do with so few resources. Later in the evening we walked around downtown Dakar and had traditional Ivory Coast dinner. I look forward to starting the OR tomorrow.

Day 3: Tuesday Entry by: Stacie Pearce
Today we had our first surgeries. Much of our day was filled with “Do we have this supply?” “We can jimmy rig this or that” and “how do you say this or that in French?” The team from Senegal is very accommodating and gracious hosts. They are patient with us and happy to learn and teach. I worked in recovery and am always amazed at how tough these kids are.

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