Roller Coaster

Today was quite a roller coaster.  Quite excited by the news yesterday that the Director General “agreed to approve” the study, I stayed up until 3:00 am printing 25 surveys for delivery to leaders at 3 hospitals over the course of a day (it took 17 minutes to print each 42-page packet and I already used almost all the cartridges I bought).  I was determined not to leave the MOHSW this morning without my approval letter signed by the DG, but of course, the best laid plans…

Rather than wasting another day waiting in Maseru for a letter, I made the decision to drive out to the hospitals to at least explain the research in person (which is usually more effective than by phone or by e-mail) so that the surveys could then be dropped off later in the week along with the MOHSW approval letter.

On the way to the first hospital, we got pulled over at a routine traffic stop by a cop who seemed to purposefully lure Elena into gliding through the stop sign and pulling over to the side of the road rather than coming to a full stop at the stop sign before pulling over.  She threatened to arrest Elena unless we gave her R200.  I love Lesotho so much, but at this moment, I felt like I was in a completely different place than in the country I have come to call my home away from home.  The cop had no problem admitting that it was a bribe and that it was illegal (her words), but insisted nonetheless.  How is this not considered mugging?  I felt (and still feel) like a victim.  Supposedly bribes are more common in other parts of the region, so perhaps this was our training for our post-Lesotho travels.

At our second hospital stop, I was able to reunite with many of the Leribe-based LeBoHA staff and it was such a joy to see friendly, sympathetic faces.  We went out for a traditional lunch with Phil Elkin and Sandy Phoenix, who gave us warm hugs, great conversation, and just made us feel a whole lot better overall.

On the way to the third hospital.  I got a call.  The approval letter was signed and ready for me to pick up!!!  By the end of the day, I had scheduled 2 of the 4 focus groups and delivered 6 surveys, 4 of which are likely to be completed next week.  And I conduct two of my key informant interviews tomorrow.  So with just a few adjustments to schedule, it looks like I may actually get the data I need in Lesotho after all (though I’m not completely sure this ride is over yet).

Can you tell that I'm a bit excited about the letter?

Can you tell that I'm a bit excited about the letter?


Sarah posted on June 3, 2010 at 9:03 am

I love reading your blog!!! That is crazy about the cop and GREAT about the letter!!!! 🙂

carolyn posted on June 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Halleluiah!!! Congratulations!! … can’t believe this is only the beginning of the journey… 🙂

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