The other day I had to chuckle. I was saying hi to Moses, the guy coming to replace the peds ward nursing assistant. When I greeted him, I gave him a "hi-five." I'd taught him this the day before and told him that's how we greet people. (Working with high-school boys for years teaches you to be super careful about the physical contact so hugs are out, hi-fives are in). Anyway, the woman who was leaving asked what that was about and he said "well, that's how we do it here in the Peds ward." She was mildly offended I hadn't taught her the hi-five greeting. :)
I have learned so much since I came here but this little exchange caused me to pause and see what little touches of "Emily" I see around me. The high-five greeting was one. The other little chuckle I had was when I saw a little kiddo being brought from the OR with an IV in his arm. Here, they are big fans of the scalp IV's. I hate them. It means that you leave the needle in the head of the kid and most kiddos do not enjoy this and tend to move their head a lot. This means that the needle usually slips out or digs into the side of the vein which makes the IV useless. This often happens before they get from the OR (where the IV's are put in) to their bed. Plus I don't know how to put them in. So I always go for the arm. It's a back and forth with the Sierra Leoneans and I and we give each other a hard time about which one is better. I'll admit I did a small dance of joy when I saw a kiddo coming out of the OR with an IV in the arm that I hadn't put in. Victory! :)
The one other area I've seen a "touch of Emily" is the tradition of going away parties. We had a batch of nursing students here and they left last week. In their honor, I made a couple batches of brownies and wrote "Goodbye Nursing Students" on them. They thought it was hilarious. We have a group of Community Health Officer Students here who are leaving next week. Yesterday one of the students came up and told me that when they leave, instead of brownies he would like me to cook them some Jollof Rice instead. I was excited that my little send off tradition had caught on.....now just have to find someone to teach me how to make Jollof Rice.
I have learned so many things since coming here. Everything from the way I think and practice nursing, to the way I think about and view God has been affected by coming here. It's kind of fun to see the tiny ways I'm having an impact here. Hopefully I will have more of an impact than high-fives and going away parties........but I'll start with the little things. :)