Posted by: joan49 | November 22, 2011

Mobile Medical Clinics

Training at a mobile clinic

We are focusing a lot of training on the midwives and prenatal/postnatal health.  We are trying to start monthly well-baby clinics in each of the villages where the babies are brought and weighed, immunized, the mothers are checked out, and information is given on nutrition, health, and normal growth milestones.  The clinics are technically required by the government but are not being done now, and in most places were never done, even before the tsunami hit.

House Building 101 –  Choosing Colors

Having seen family and friends in the states build or remodel homes, I’m aware of the care and time that goes in to selecting paint colors and bathroom tiles, etc.  I have no personal experience with this, mind you, but have also seen the reality shows for remodeling and it looks fairly time intensive.  Fortunately for me, selecting tiles and paint in an underdeveloped country on an even more underdeveloped island, has the benefit of only taking a few minutes as there is a minimal selection to choose from and exactly matching styles or patterns is not really considered all that important or even necessary.  I actually ended up having to go to Padang, the nearest big city on the mainland by a 12-hr boat ride, to pick the colors because almost everything in Sikakap was out of stock anyway.   Looking for bathroom tiles, I went to the biggest store in Padang with supposedly the best tiles selection…and found  they had exactly two floor tile colors to choose from: blue or green, and if I wanted textured tiles so as not to slip and fall, there was only one choice of pattern in each color.  Being partial to blue, I was saddened to discover there were no matching wall tiles in the entire store unless I wanted a completely different geometric pattern than the one choice available for the floor tiles.  So green it was.  There was only one choice for wall tiles that supposedly matched the green floors, but it was hard to tell because the lighting in the store wasn’t good.  Both had different shades of green mixed in and I couldn’t really tell how similar the shades actually were, but the shop clerk assured me they did and there was no more discussion because they wanted to close up and go home.

Lugging my boxes of hopefully matching tiles, next on my list was the porcelain squat pot Indonesians use instead of western toilets.  I found a store that sold a green one, but there wasn’t one on display to look at (apparently it was only at their warehouse), but with no other options, I bought it sight unseen and to this day (the bathroom hasn’t been done yet) am hoping it matches with at least one of the other shades.  Turns out it won’t be a big deal if it doesn’t.  The foreman of my 3-man construction team took it upon himself to buy my bathroom door (which is made of plastic to protect it from getting wet.  Indonesians don’t shower, by the way, they just fill a cistern with water, stand in the middle of the bathroom, and use a plastic scoop to dump it on themselves, so the walls and door can get wet).  Anyway, without us having discussed it first, he bought a blue door – with a large picture of cartoon goldfish in the middle – so who knows, maybe the as-of-yet-unseen porcelain squat will match with that, if not with any other color in the bathroom.

I’ll let you know…



  1. The bathroom sounds very colorful! I think it is amazing that you are building your own place. Love those squat toilets. They are available in the U.S. now. It is a much more physiologically healthy way to “go”.

  2. Karen, I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am also praying that you will have all you need for your house. Being color blind I was amused at the green and blue choices you were making ( or not making). All the best to you! Jim

  3. Karen – Thanks for the updates on your housing adventures…they are entertaining! As for the training with the midwives – I praise God for you and the fact that he has you there…hopefully senseless deaths like the one you shared will lessen. My heart just aches hearing of these things. My thoughts are with you and the people!

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