Lisa's adventures

Joined September 2015
  • Day8


    October 4, 2016 in Central African Republic ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Today was a reminder of where I am. It started as every other day = wake up at 6am, start at 7:40. Give medication and supplies to nursing staff, follow ward round, understand nothing of what is happening, panic that the job is too hard with the language difficulty, lunch. Teach the nurses to give parcetamol when the child has a fever, give nurses coartem for malaria, then the international pharmacist arrived.

    He waved and said we have to leave, so I went to the staff room to get my bag then all the international staff and a Muslim patient were transported to the clinic (I work at the paediactric complex, the clinic is a 2 min walk from the house). Apparently someone shot a national guard, then, I think, 2 Muslim were shot. I quick backstory: the fighting was between the Seleka – Muslims and the Anti-Balaka the Christian group, it stopped 1 year ago. The body of one of the people who was shot arrived at the hospital (paediatric complex). Apparently the security situation can change quickly here, so we were taken home just in case the fighting came to the hospital.

    Now we are all just chilling at home, drinking beer and trying to connect to the rubbish internet. Tomorrow they will tell us if we can return to work.
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  • Day88

    day 14: 0 km

    September 27, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    To sick to continue, bit devastated that i could not continue, but arrived at the lovely mercoire and slept for about four days. Second round of antibiotics and good as new!

  • Day1

    Departure day

    September 27, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Im currently sitting at a bar drinking beer, back at the sydney international airport waiting for my flight. This long-haul flight is a bit different thoght, for pretty much anyone who knows me they know that it has been my dream to nurse in africa since i was 15. I was guided on this humanitarian path after a missions trip to thailand and cambodia where i just had the simple though of the unfairness that i have healthcare and they don't. Since then i have done several course (maybe too many? i cant help myself) learnt French and everything i could think of to make myself useful in these less advantaged countries. Now I'm sitting here on a stool, on the outside i look calm and slightly bored. on the inside I'm a mix of excitement, disbelief that after 12 years, my dream is finally coming true, and fear.

    I don't usually post on FB much, so incase you don't know - im going to nurse in Bangui - Central African Republic for six months, with an italian NGO called Emergency. Im not sure which department i will be working in yet, but they half operate the tertiary paediatric hospital in the capital.

    Im most looking forward to finally going to Africa, in my mind its a scary place - probably just because its so unknown to me yet. And also i have been doing so many case studies and learning about it with my masters and diploma in tropical medicine and public health. So finally the theory will be put into practice. Im most worried about my French, CAR is a Francophone county, and hence i am required to speak French at work. Have i done enough? will i be able to communicate at all? We will see. Sign language also works.

    I'm also starting to reflect on the previous year, and i am most proud of this. It was only 9 months ago that my life was at the lowest point it ever has been. I got overwhelmed with the move to the Netherlands, struggled to make friends, had no money, lost all resilience and my relationship with who i thought was my best friend disintegrated rapidly. I am a traveller and i had never been so lonely in my life. But with the help if family and friends i have put myself back together and i'm back to chasing my dreams! I'm still not 100% but I'm pretty close, and i'm lucky to have a good support network.

    Enough of that: time to PACK!
    I needed to pack everything i need for 6 months, toiletries, medications, entertainment, everything, and being the savvy packer i am, i got it into 21.3 kgs! im sure ill remember things as i board the plane though ;) You can see the photos for packing details. I also needed to pack 'clothes that do not show my femininity' do you know how hard that is when you are a wide hipped, 8F girl? op-shopping helped that that task. I've gotten 4 vaccines, including the yellow fever! and 9 months worth of doxycycline for malaria prophylaxis, a yoga mat and drawing supplies - to use on my 1 day off.

    Boarding has started! See you all in 6 months, and stay tuned if you like africa and nursing and stuff :) hopefully I can resist the urge to tell everyone on the plane that I'M GOING TO AFRICA!
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  • Day14

    Day 13: 10km

    July 15, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We had breakfast with the family then set of to find the doctor at the hospital. Happy Bastille Day! Managed to get everything sorted and finally get some antibiotics and pain relief. We stopped in the city for lunch then continued to a campsite just 10km south from the city. We decided to stay in a little tent/tree house as it was not much more expensive than camping. I then had a for hour nap! Felt amazing!

    That night there was a little dance party at the camping, we were liking forward to some karaoke as that is what the program said but the internet was not working. We were easily the oldest there. For the first time ever we decided to lie about our age, we were 20 for the night. A guy asked us and he thought we were 25, so not bad! He was 21. I didn't really like lying about my age, I like being 27, i was thinning if I was 20 then I have not been to Canada or Europe yet, I have not met a lot of my friends yet. I have not studied yet. I don't want to be younger I like what I have done with my life and making myself younger means I have not done it.

    I was actually surprised the youngsters were talking to us and pretty friendly! A few of them were around 20 and working there for two months. We did some dancing and chatting, then we were invited to a guys trailer (classy ei?) And played a drinking game. Michelle is a light weight so was drunk before it began I changed her to juice but she managed to get more wine. After the game I went home but one guy we were talking to stopped to talk ( all in French) he asked me something but I didn't understand, so he showed me. . By touching me a bit and trying to pull me closer.. then I understood what he wanted. No! I don't want that! I am sick and I'm going to bed. I showed him where everyone was but the party had ended so I had to tell him again I'm not interested, no not even interested in kissing him anywhere. I went to bed then he even knocked on my door, I answered to continue saying no leave me alone I'm going to sleep. He finally left and didn't return. I put something over the door ( it's a trap door with no lock) just in case! Weirdo. He had two kids In the tent next to us and was quite young and smoked a lot. Ew. Don't worry mum I can take care of myself ;)
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  • Day13

    Day 12: I don't know 40 something maybe

    July 14, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Last night the rain had stopped so we sat outside in the sun talking and eating. When we went to bed the sky was clear and a dimming blue. But an hour later it started raining again, pretty hard too. It was windy and rainy on and of all night. We left our bikes near the tent which was a bad idea as they has blown over and some of my stuff was wet.

    I have had tonsillitis since the beginning, it was really mild at the start but every morning lately is getting worse and today was no exception. So much pain and discomfort. I was a bit grumpy as i know I have to wait a day or two to see a doctor. Michelle said I was even snoring!!

    We packed up at our usual speed, had a quick soup for breaky and went to the English couple Andrew and Sue's place for coffee, and second breakfast too. They were so nice, we sat outside and talked for a while, they had an amazing view over rolling country side. Then it rained again, so we put our bikes in their shed and went to the lounge room for another coffee.

    We set of around 1pm for Mâcon. I pushed my bike up all the hard hills, I'm just to sick and tired to be bothered biking up then and it gave my bum a nice rest. There were again some awesome down hills! At the cross roads we could go only a few km more to cluny and see a doctor today or another 20 and see one tomorrow. We decided to push on, the rest was down hill anyways with bike paths. There was even an awesome tunnel! As we rolled closer we sent warm showers requests and searched campsites. We made it to the center and had a drink when one called us back!

    Benoit invited us to stay with him and his wife. His parents were also there and surprisingly spoke English. His wife was also quite pregnant, very exciting. They were lovely and let us use their kitchen for dinner and gave us breakfast. The did tell me that all doctors will be close tomorrow due to the Bastille day, so I would have to go to the hospital, or wait until Monday (another 5 days. I don't think so).
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  • Day11

    Day 11: (~37km)

    July 12, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    We did our laundry this morning so left a bit later than usual. And we headed out with no bike track to guide us. The first thing that went wrong was the gps told us to go on a big road, lots of truck traffic so not safe at all, so after a few kms We had to replan our route, north of the highway. This part of the ride was beautiful with tiny villages and farms with adorable little French houses loaded with flowers. The only problem was there was a lack of cafes for us to take a break, but it was not too bad.

    It was getting more and more hilly, lots of ups and really fun downs. Once we were even able to cruise to the next village! Really really nice, but after a while I got tired and sore. Then the weather turned from a bit cool and cloudy, prefect cycling weather, so raining pretty hard, we had another big hill ahead so I checked the map and found the closest camp site i could, and we went right. Stopped under a bridge for a snack and drink hoping the rain would stop. But no. Continued a bit then we saw a restaurant so we had lunch and tea. They were really nice and told us about a camping area even closer! They gave good directions, so we headed back out into the rain. We passed an awesome castle!

    In the tiny town there was a tiny camping area. I asked a guy where it was exactly and he started explaining it then I realised he was English, so we switched :) they helped translate a bit and said we can go anywhere and it's free-with a new amazing toilet block! Best shower yet. The couple invited us over for a coffee or tea In the morning before we set of as they live in the village all summer l. The joys of retirement.
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  • Day10

    Day 9: 104km (73km)

    July 11, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Computer says 104km, Google says 73km
    :( so annoying as it puts my perspective of distance out. But at least i know and maybe I'll find someone who knows how to fix it.

    We left earlier today! 9:30, it was so much cooler! We had a good plan, stop every quarter for a drink. The first one was in a tiny village that we almost thought had no shops! But we found the tiny boulangerie with the locals having a chat. The second stop was in decise, we found a nice restaurant on a harbour just outside of the city so decided to have Sunday lunch. We were so out of place among the well of middle aged and elderly French crowd, two smelly, sweaty Australians. The food was great, Michelle's cocktail was more of a juice though. We were tossing up a nap under a tree or a coffee to keep us going and decided on the coffee.

    We had 37km to go, but didn't find anywhere for our last drink stop so were getting really tired by the end. The last stop was burbon lancey. So happy to finally see the camping sign! I really like that the campsites around here all have an open grass place for cyclists.

    I started to talking to an older woman with gray hair, I asked her , (in French) if she was working alone. I was a bit tired, She looked really confused then I realised and corrected myself, traveling alone! She was, and had been through massive central (=mountains!). I told her we are are to ardeche and it's super hot there, she said wisely, don't worry it will cool down soon. She was right! The next day was cloudy and cool!

    We swam in the pool then watched the soccer with the most annoying children in the world taking and playing. No one scored by full time so we left. And no noise after that so we assumed Portugal won.

    The last photo is my mouth. I think I've had tonsillitis since leaving so Michelle was trying to take a picture of them. Without success
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  • Day9

    Day 8: 60km

    July 10, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    I'm very disappointed to realise my bike computer over estimates our distances, I'm not sure by how much exactly but I'm pretty sure it's happening, so at the end we will have to do a big Google maps plot to find our more accurate distance.

    The tent was at a slight angle last night so Michelle did not sleep very well and today her back was spasming and was painful, so we didn't go too far. The campsite offered breakfast so she loved the bacon and eggs though. I got two small orange juices for the road. I think it was the hottest day so far. The first 2/3 days of the trip were cloudy and a bit cool, but since then it's been all sun! After living in an eternal winter in the Netherlands I'm not used to this, especially cycling through the hottest part of it.

    We saw heaps of locks today, and watched one operate, they are so call and remind me of my relos in England, he taught me all about them :)

    We continued to follow the Loire all the way to the first plaque with 0. Then we found a mini paradise on the river and swam in the lovely water! So relaxing. We had to continue for another few km to get to the campsite. The last bit was tough. Sooo hot, swimmers are really uncomfortable especially when my bum is already sore.

    We have another great view of the city Nevers just across the river from the campsite. We just relaxed when we arrived, set everything up and had lunch/dinner at 5:30/6. Michelle tends to stay up later than I do so she walks around the city or just stays in the campsite. I go to bed around 930 and listen to a book or pod cast for an hour. Last night Michelle went to a theatre acrobat thing that was on in a local park as part of an arts festival, she really liked it despite not understanding anything.
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  • Day8

    Day 7: 93km

    July 9, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    I can't believe it has already been a week. It's gone pretty fast.

    We had an amazing sleep, in a real bed . So cheap it was only 15 Euro for both of us. We had sent two warm showers requests the night before as well. This days ride was actually really boring. The start was lovely along canals, rivers and cute houses but after the town of belleville ( which had a massive nuclear operation ) it was just weeds on both sides, straight boring path with no tree cover so like 60km in the sun, and no tiny villages to stop or tree cover. At the end we saw a little farm just of the side so wer did stop for a juice and ice cream. The highlight of the day was the farm donkey. We asked him to roll over and he did! Big applause. Then we cheered for him to roll back, and he did! Then he got up and walked away, show was over :)

    We filled the nothingness with half songs as we can never remember the full lyrics and learning French. Once again our bums were really sore at the end! My ankle is getting better just need to be careful.

    When I stop riding for a bit I get light headed and today I needed to lie down, my friend Vincent said it's because in not eating enough so I'm trying to eat more and more. The first time I laid down for a 1 min rest I laid in a bit of a prickly weed patch. After I got up it was still stinging. I had laid in stinging needles. Genius. I'm sweaty, sun screeny and now stinging all over my shoulders.

    We arrived at another campsite as warm showers people never seem to reply. It's a nice small one. We just ditched our stuff and went to the beach on the river. The previously lovely looking sand was actually a mixture of sand mud and pebble, so no where near as inviting. But the water was warm so we went swimming which was prefect after a hot hot day. I still didn't get burnt!! I was wearing a singlet top the last two days but I'll go back to exercise tops from now on as they cover more.

    Best part about this campsite (for me, for Michelle it is probably the bacon and eggs) is that some campers bought their two cats! So awesome! They are young and had loads of fun climbing the trees and playing. They even walked them a bit. My next cat is coming camping :)

    The plaque is all along la loire. We are now at around 25 I think from the beginning of the cycle track, so today we will venture back out to making it up towards the Rhone track. Because it's flatter :)
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  • Day6

    Day 6: 28 km

    July 7, 2016 in France ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Worst day ever, no wait that was still day 1, second worst day. I got up to go to the toilet last night, slightly bumped the pole and SNAP! It broke in half, it's only 1 year old and a pretty good one! Luckily it had a repair metal tube so I had it fixed in 10 min, but I still need to look into insurance.

    We set off from Gien, lovely city, lovely ride along the river. We saw a canal bridge over la Loire which was also engineered by Eiffel. It was bizarre but awesome. After that we continued along a canal, Michelle was a bit ahead of me when I heard something in my back wheel. I breaked but still got thrown forward into my lady bits! After a few minutes of swearing, I checked the bike, a spoke had snapped. Two nice French guys stopped, talked to me and removed the spoke. They said it does not really matter i can ride it.

    I tried to continue but something else was wrong. My gear got stuck in the spokes, that's when I realised the whole wheel had warped. I fiddled to try and fix it, Michelle eventually came back and another two French guys stopped to help. We had the bike upside down, it was rubbing on the side of the frame and the brakes. The guys tried to make it ridable for me and gave some advice. I rode it slowly for about 1 km then the gear got caught again so we pushed it 6 km to a campsite, had lunch, no one was there so we continued to the town, tourist info was closed but it had a sign for bike repair so we walked there. Up hill. It's so hot today, which is lovely but a bit much.

    Now we are waiting for the verdict. This bike repair shop is actually a mechanic. Apparently my bike has a special wheel or maybe he just does not have any here, his French is a bit tricky to understand. Hopefully he can find one, after the first 30min of waiting with no success he is trying again. If he can't find one I don't know what to do. I can't push the bike everywhere. No one knows where a bike repair shop is, anywhere. And neither does Google.

    Omg he found one! Hopefully it's a decent one. ..
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