My first week in Freetown has been spent at the VSO offices where I have been having my In Country Orientation. I have met the whole team and Francess who works as an administrator here has been showing me around and getting me sorted. I now have a sim card and have sorted out a bank account and seen the VSO doctor. I have also been having Krio sessions with a Reverend which has been useful. In Makeni they speak both Krio and Temne so hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to speak both.
On my first day here I visited the Department of Health. It is a large building which also contains the Dept for agriculture and food and Dept of Land. It was very busy and there were quite a few internationals working there from various different NGOs and I met various heads of departments.
While I was there I met another British doctor who is here with VSO. He is a public health registrar who is here on a fellowship working in the Department of Health. He gets paid his British wages which means that when he gives advice about washing machines I have to realise this advice is not for me and so I filter some of the stuff he tells me. However he does tell me the best places to eat in Freetown, which may come in useful next time I am here. Having heard his perspectives on life in Freetown it will be interesting to see how they differ from my time in Makeni.
For those of you who have asked about the food situation for a vegetarian like me it has not been too bad. The restaurants all seem to have veggies options. Falafel wraps are on all the menus which I assume is the Lebanese influence. There are also many supermarkets however somethings are more expensive than they are at home, like cheese, which I suppose is understandable. I am looking forward to cooking my own food once I move to my new home. This will be a surprise to those of you who know I cannot cook to save my life but the vegetables I see when I drive past the market stalls look very enticing.
I was supposed to go to Makeni before the end of my first week however it has been delayed due to problems finding accommodation so now I will be going next week. I was really looking forward to going and getting settled in so I am rather disappointed however these things happen and this will give me time to catch up on my appraisal and do some reading on obstetrics and tropical medicine. It has been a while.