Week 4?! How on earth is it week 4 already?! I'm well over half-way now!
Week 4 went really well, though not quite to plan. The plan was to ring on Tuesday morning, get cheap flights and go to Aitutaki that afternoon. Sadly there were no cheap flights left for last week so Aitutaki is on hold untill we can find some (we'll try again today/tomorrow). Instead we had a quiet week up at the hospital- one of the Paeds consultants was over from the specialist Paeds hospital in Aukland (Starship- isn't that a great name for a children's hospital) to do a specialist clinic and give Dr Dawn a second opinion on a few kids. It ended up being quite quiet as lots of people didn't come in to see the specialist, but those who did were sorted out pretty fast. The week was enlightening as it confirmed my suspicions that despite being an excellent doctor, Dawn is limited by having worked only in Pacific Islands and mostly in the Cooks. She is confident enough with things she sees often but unusual things can throw her and it is very hard for her to keep up to date with the fast developing world of Paeds.
Instead of Aitukati Ali and I finished off our Open Water qualification on Thursday afternoon and Friday last week. Sadly one of the girls who had done the first part of the course with us couldn't complete it as she had developed a tummy bug just after the first dives and her friends took her to the hospital suspecting decompression sickness. Of course we had never been at any real risk of DCS but because she couldn't say no to all the things on the medical form any more she couldn't come diving :(. We had an exam, which both Ali and I got 100% on (apparently only the 4th and 5th people the instructor had seen do so in 800-900) and tried not to be too smug about it especially as the two teacher trainees failed to get the 75% pass mark first time. We got two more much longer Open Water dives and saw even more amazing fish, including some practically tame blue trigger fish who follow the dive boats looking to get fed. We even saw some juvenile Eagle Rays in the harbour while we did our 200m swim test. So now we can go diving anywhere in the world down to 18m with just a buddy- terrifying!
Kathryn arrived on Friday evening and has settled in and is enjoying the sunshine after Aukland's winter. We all went to church yesterday which everyone had told us is an experience we had to have, so we put on our Sunday best and headed to the local church to sit in the tourist section at the back. It was packed, and most of the service was in Cook Islands Maori but the singing was incredible- it was as powerful and emotional as I imagine Gospel worship to be and mostly done in Maori. Then they invited us all to lunch in the church hall where we discovered that many of the Ariki ( Tribal Chiefs) were there and being honoured. It was a lot of fun, if a bit bewildering. Friday had been a public holiday for the Ariki and the whole weekend there were events to celebrate- they kept on pressing us to take left overs so we have lots of left over chicken now!!
My desire to do some good is still there, but I'm just not sure how to channel it- I need to discuss with Dawn about some child health leaflets- I get the impression they would be best if they were also in Maori so I'd need someone to translate.
Love, Jess xxx