Saturday, August 14, 2010

Common Knowledge.

Some days teaching is a blast. Some days... not so much.

I've been teaching our health workers to count fetal heart tones and take pulses. Simple stuff, Right? I thought so. But it isn't getting through. Today I asked one of them to count a woman's respiratory rate for 15 seconds. But after waiting a good minute he still wasn't done. I figured he was just losing count and restarting. Then I thought... maybe he thinks he needs to count 50 seconds not 15.

I asked, "You know you only need to count 15 seconds right?" Yes. He says. He understands... only 15 seconds. So he does it and comes up with 75. What?

I tell him that's impossible. She'd be hyperventilating. So I ask him... you do know what 15 seconds means, Right? He just cocks his head to the right and looks at me.

Then I grab the clock and point out 5... 10... and 15 seconds on it. Then the lights turn on! OOOOHHHHHHH!!!!!! So that's 15 seconds!

Huh?

Then he proceeded to count for 10 seconds. I showed him again. 5... 10... 15.... Let's try again. By the third time he got it.

I'm not saying he isn't smart. He's one of our best health workers. I'm saying, I have to remember that what I think is common knowledge isn't here. I keep forgetting that.

Most of the women I treat don't know how to read let alone what month it is. Many of the health workers we are training have only gone up to the 5th grade in school. They are very smart men... just not educated in the same what as I was. Sigh.

Lord may I have patience to train them properly and always remember that common knowledge isn't always so common in Sudan.