When I called she was out for a walk with some of the other Partners In Health nurses around the Yengema Airport which is located near the Diamond Hotel where the PIH staff stays.
Though once the main airport that served the diamond district of Kono and one of the busiest airports in the country, Yengema Airport has been shut down by the Ebola epidemic and is now, according to Claire, eerily empty and quiet.
Anyway, Claire is doing well and is content with her work tracking Ebola in the jungle area of Kono.
Her days roll along the same routine: At 8 am her driver picks her up at the Diamond Hotel and they take the half-hour ride over treacherously broken and pot-holed roads to her 12-bed clinic, which is not a building but a set of tents and tarps set up in a clearing in the jungle. They have a generator to light the clinic at night but there's no electricity during the day. Their drinking water is pre-packaged while the rest of the water used in the clinic is brought in by workers who get it and carry it over from a nearby pump.
As there is no refrigeration Claire packs the patients' lab work in boxes and gives the boxes to the clinic courier who bungee-cords them to his motorcycle then transports them to the National Hospital in Koidu Town, an hour and a half away.
Claire runs the clinic now and supervises three kind and hard-working young Sierra Leonean nurses as well the rest of the clinic staff, the driver, the courier, the water bringers, the chlorine-sprayers, the cleaners. An Indian Partners In Health doctor has also been coming to the clinic to help for the past few days.
Her workday ends at 6pm at which time her driver returns her to the Diamond Hotel while the Sierra Leonean nurses stay at the clinic to care for the patients overnight. Back at the hotel Claire will have dinner and meet up with the other PIH doctors and nurses who've also returned from their clinics.
Claire has to suit up in her Ebola gear several times a day when she goes into the hot zone to treat the patients. I asked Claire how it is being suited up in Ebola gear in the 90 degree temperatures. "Intense," was her response.
She did have a funny weather story, though I guess what you find funny about it depends on whether you see it from the American or Sierra Leonean point of view.
So anyway, it's a humid 90 degrees there and the Americans are sweltering (even when they're not in their Ebola gear). The Sierra Leoneans, however, are freezing and are wearing their coats because 90 degrees is winter for them. They talk about how they're looking forward to the warmer weather when it gets back up to a comfy 102 degrees.
And here are these American doctors and nurses walking around outside with no coats and sweating, even!
[For a similar story see the post from 1/29/2014, "A Tale Of Two Winters] 8)
Everyone have a wonderful weekend!