The Botswana Ministry of Health aspires to a lofty goal: attain an internationally recognized accreditation for two of its clinics and one hospital. This is the backdrop in which I present:

A Snap Shot Of Xhosa Clinic.

I pass the rail tracks and stock yards leaving the tarred road behind. Just ahead on the right, Xhosa Clinic comes into view through the dust of the passing taxi and donkey cart. It is early but the sun is already unbearably hot. A passerby looks with envy as I push the button on my popup umbrella. Sun umbrellas are everywhere, but not the collapsible kind. I wait for her to ask me for it, or rather for her to tell me to give it to her-but today she passes without comment. Perhaps I’m becoming a fixture and she passes without seeing. One child spots me and a chorus of shouts echo through the tiny neighborhood; “Mma Dana, Mma Dana.” I wave and am reminded that this is the favorite part of my morning ritual and I will miss their competition to decide who I spotted first and therefore received my first wave. Their family home is a shabin (sells the local brew) and there are a few lingering drunks lying about their yard. As I enter the battered gate to the clinic my eyes rest on the recently erected sign announcing Xhosa as a TB clinic and its commitment to “ A World free of TB “. The current infection rate is alarming and on the rise. Before HIV the TB rate was below one percent. Inside I stop to exchange greetings with Rejoice, our security guard. It doesn’t take me long to reach the end of my Setswana niceties. Rejoice, seated in her makeshift chair, is chatting with the lady who will spend her day here selling sweets (candy) peanuts and rolls from her rickety wheelbarrow. On the other side of the fence, directly behind her is another vendor selling almost exactly the same things. His wares hang from plastic bags off the wire of the fence. He fairly often is taken with seizures. Maybe that prompts him to sell near the clinic. Just steps beyond him is a small store. Chickens, people and bare footed children move about inside their high wire fence. Sweets of the same brands and flavours are for sale here as well. No one seems to mind. They share change and visit back and forth with one another throughout the long, hot and dusty day. Overhead –providing shade is a blackberry tree. School children stand on broken chairs to reach the fruit or they bat it with sticks. It’s possible this is breakfast. To the right-under no roof or covering sit the ladies waiting for the midwife. “Dumela BoMma” (“Good morning ladies”-) I say as I pass. “Ah! You are Motswana now Mma Dana “. These few simple phrases bring high praise! “Yes “ I reply “I even drink 5 Roses (tea ) in the heat! They respond with laughter. A van pulls up and begins to unload fresh chips- (french fries). He moves inside to sell directly to the patients seated on backless wooden benches and broken office chairs. This is the triage and waiting area and is at least under a tin roof. It being open front and back to the elements makes for better ventilation and more desirable as a TB clinic site. At least that is how we feel until the rains start. Some of the patients won’t buy from this man selling fresh chips.” He’s a Zim-(from Zimbabwe )they are dirty” I’m told. He looks very clean to me, and fairly prosperous, not to mention ambitious. But I am just a lacoah (white person) so do not know about such things.

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