I love this blog, my place of refuge, reflection and introspection.
I just came from the public pool here in Windhoek:
The pool is in Windhoek and surprisingly today I found out that intravenous drug users exist in my City. On the sides of the pool they are concrete benches that are more or less large steps. People sit and watch the swimmers and at the very top is the building from where the lifeguards observe the pool. I lay on the middle level and on my side with a bottle of ice by my elbow. I decided that today would be a great day to ice my golfer’s elbow when all of a sudden a lady with a City of Windhoek golf shirt came up to me and demanded I tell her what was wrong with my arm. I told her that I had tendonitis and I explained that I acquired it from typing incorrectly at the computer and that ice followed by heat (the steps were very hot from the sun) does me a world of good. She gave me a look suggesting my story was rather incredulous and promptly inspected my elbow, searched my backpack and my little red blood transfusion bag-pouch where my clothes were, opened my mouth wash bottle and smelt the contents. I know mouth wash has alcohol in it and I wondered if she though I was drunk, laying there on my side with a bottle of ice to my elbow on the scorching hot asfalt. But she was not afraid of alcohol: ‘I was just cheking to see if you had injected yourself, because of your response’.
‘Do people inject themselves here at the pool’
‘Yes’ she replied as walked up to the shaded roof of the lifeguard house.
Here I had done a whole study last year looking for information regarding the epidemic of HIV in Windhoek and there was no literature on intravenous drug use in Namibia. The only mention of it in policy documents refers to how it is not considered a problem or a major mode of transmission of HIV in Namibia. Major or minor – as long as at least one person becomes infected via intravenous drugs, then this is a problem. It exists in Windhoek, not necessarily in the dark corners of some alleyway (we don’t have many alleyways by the way), but rather in broad daylight at the public swimming pool, people are known to inject drugs.