A Clinic, in Africa


Mozambican Street Art

Ziggy and I are doing the roof with paper thin corrugated iron, the wind is howling and the sheets are being flung around. Vaughn is not interested, just get the job done. The inevitable happens. Ziggy get hurt, the wind blew a sheet off the roof and he grabbed for it, it sliced his thumb to the bone. There was a lot of blood. I got the first aid kit out and put a pressure bandage on. He needed more than my basic first aid skills. I asked where the hospital was. I found out Mozal runs a clinic a few short kilometers up the road. I tell Ziggy to hang in there and I will go and get a bakkie’s keys from Jay or Vaughn. I tell them what happened and Vaughn is pissed off, he does not give a damn about his worker that is hurt, he actually refuses to give me the keys. He reckons Ziggy should just carry on working.

I get pissed off. Always a bad thing, I tell him off and just take the keys, collect Ziggy and head out. The clinic is not bad looking, a surprise. It consists of a small building with two consulting rooms. It has a neat garden and a long waiting bench under a veranda. It costs 1 Metica to join the queue. (R0.30.)  We get to the front and go into the consulting room with a sister, the doctor is in the other one. Problem is this sister is very young and she is very nervous. She is a black lady so hard to see if she went pale as she undressed my crude dressing, but her hands started shaking. The consulting room consists of a bunk covered with foam, no clean sheet of paper or clothe, the wall that it is up against has all sorts of stains I do not want to think about. Ziggy does not go that way, he is lead to a small three legged stool, a dirt bin half full of other stained stuff I also don’t want to think about is put under his hand. He is dripping blood. Next to the stool is a table with the usual patch up tools, except no sterilizing basin, no hot water even. This is bad. The very nervous, young sister, threads a curved needle, I know these things. I have seen the local anesthetic bottles and syringes but she proceeds to push the needle through the skin. Ziggy is moaning in pain, and definitely a shade or two lighter that his usual colour. I tell Ziggy to ask her for an injection first! He translates, the poor girl forgot!

Must be the worst fumbling job I have ever seen with a needle and syringe follows. She also wants to start sewing immediately. Again I get Ziggy to tell her to wait a few moments for the bloody stuff to work. He translates. She seems grateful for the advice. It got worse. The poor untrained girl, and Ziggy, suffers through putting in three of the 5 needed stitches, she has never done this before, of  that, I am sure. Even with the injection, Ziggy stops her from trying to do the last two. I help her bandage the wound. It cost 10 Metica. (R3.00.)  We get back on site and Vaughn does not even come to see if Ziggy is ok. Jay takes the keys and says we better finish the roof on time. I have no time for my cousin and his wife, maybe even before this incident but definitely after.

Extract from the soon to be published: The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief II.

You may purchase a full copy of Part II HERE

Nosce te ipsum

View the Mexican Horse Thief’s Page

Short Story





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