I suppose the biggest change is that we moved to Australia.
We're living in rural Western Australia in the region known as the Kimberley.
It is a beautiful little town called Broome. Check it out on Google Earth or at www.ebroome.com
We're working in a little District Hospital about 40 hours a week (which is a big change from the 100 hour work week in SA and the 168hour work week in England!!) We're actually getting a chance to spend time with each other :)
Can you believe that I had to move half-way around the world to get to spend time with my husband!
Broome is quite a seasonal transient town - they have the major tourist season from April to October when the town's population swells from 11000 to 60000. Most people come to Broome and work for a year or two before moving on, so the question we get asked the most is "How long will you be staying?"
Our standard answer now is "Until we're locals" to which the response is a sardonically raised eyebrow ....you're only considered a Broome local if you've lived there more than 20 years!
Amazingly enough - the two biggest problems in Broome are Unemployment and lack of staff!!!
There is a quite a big Aboriginal population here (as compared to the cities) but they're pretty transient too. Our patients are often just on a stop over in Broome whilst on their way elsewhere. The sad thing is we're seeing a lot of 3rd World diseases which we never expected to see in a First world environment. Also drug abuse and alcoholism is rife amongst all he races in this town - a common presentation is PFD (Pissed, fell down), however the incidents of assaults are really not that high... I suppose we expected more due to the alcoholism, but it seems the people prefer to drink themselves into a stupor rather than turning on each other with fists, knives, bottles, bones etc like in SA........
But.... the domestic violence is sad,
the high incidence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is heartbreaking
and rape statistics just deplorable!
There has been a lot of talk about solving the 'Aboriginal Problem' but as yet no solutions exist. The first strategy that the Australians tried was attempting to exterminate them, then they tried assimilating them into the White Australian community...now it seems they're attempting to just throw money at them in the hope that that will solve the problems.... Well Centrelink is pretty busy at the end of the month dishing out the dole - and the liquor store is pretty busy receiving the dole and the hospital and the cops are pretty busy with the end effects.... and the people are lying around in a drunken stupor on the oval whilst their kids sit around, dirty, uneducated and neglected.
When we first came to Aus, we thought that it was pretty sterile and felt that we would have to join 'Aus Doctors for Africa' to make any difference in the world, but it appears that there's plenty work to do right here.