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Thursday, April 14, 2011

South Africa redux: medevac

On April 4 I returned to South Africa thinking I was there for a root canal, which cannot be performed in Rwanda. When the dentist (who's worked on Bono!) took a look, it turned out no root canal needed - but he did have to repair some shoddy dental work done in Rwanda. Aside from the dental appointments, it was basically a second vacation to South Africa. I enjoyed many of the same foods, still marvelled at drinknig tap water and taking hot showers with pressure, and brought even more varieties of cheese back to Rwanda at the end of the ten days.

Partly because I'd told them about my vacation in February, I couldn't bring myself to tell my village I'd gone too South Africa to have my tooth problem addressed. People in my village were aware of the problem and knew I was having trouble, for example, eating corn. Their suggestions for this ranged from having the tooth/teeth pulled to theorizing that my wisdom teeth must be coming in (my wisdom teeth are long gone). I just could not figure out how to explain to a village full of extremely poor people, many of whom have never even been to Kigali and whose only recourse for toothaches is rudimentary extraction, that I went to South Africa on an airplane because of a toothache, all expenses paid. The inequalities there boggled my mind.

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