Wednesday 12 Jan 11 - Wednesday 12 Jan 11
View AuSLMAT on sammyhez's travel map.
Still feeling rubbish, and the rain is still bucketing down as we sit on our rock hard mattresses in Arugam Bay.
On Dr. Bronwyn and Dr. Hans’ advice, I forced myself to eat some dry cereal and a piece of toast before we got on the bus to go to Panama. No, not the South American country, but a small town just north of Pottuvil, where we were due to do our first ever east coast clinic. The road to Panama is a scenic one, with lagoons on both sides of the raised road.
But would we make it? We had barely gone ten minutes before we encountered our first stretch of real flooding (which has now killed 23 and displaced an estimated 300,000) in a prolonged stretch of fairly fast-flowing, knee-high water. After some exploration, we decided it probably wouldn’t be safe for the bus to cross, as it could potentially get water in its engine and be grounded for life. As we were considering phoning to apologise for our absence and turning back to the hotel, local medical guru Dr. Arul’s jeep came along.
That it was a jeep that arrived was particularly fortuitous. Eight people could fit into one load, and so the doctors (at least those who didn’t wimp out, not naming anyone!) and pharmacy staff went on the first crossing before the vehicle turned back for the others. Later, the truck with all the medication managed to get over, allowing us to start distributing drugs.
I didn’t really feel up to it, and spent the second half of the clinic lying down on one of the hospital beds before we packed up and left early – it had not stopped raining all afternoon and we were concerned about floodwaters potentially rising.
I continued my extended rest before meeting upstairs with the adults for drinks and nibbles followed by a very nice chicken dinner. My appetite has gone a little along with my health, but I’m hoping both will return soon, maybe with some good weather! (That might be asking a bit much.)
We’ve decided to cut short our Arugam Bay adventure, because of the bad weather, and move on to Embilipitiya tomorrow.