Mathare Valley Slums

About Mathare valley Slums. These two blogs provide more information about the Mathare Valley Slum which I visited last week as a guest of MSF. MSF recruit their community workers from the slums. Alphonse and Juma escorted our group through the slum for two hours. Perhaps because we were all wearing MSF tee shirts,… Continue reading Mathare Valley Slums


London has its distinctive red, double decker RouteMaster buses; Manzini has white Toyota kombis with bizarre names; Nairobi has multi-coloured buses extravagantly decorated with popular film and rock stars. Some look like regular luxury coaches, but others have been built from the ground up, using purloined Isuzu truck engines, with a more customised appearance and… Continue reading Matatus

Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν

“Good grief, Ian, you look terrible. You’ll be frightening the patients!” said my supervisor. Just to be helpful, my translator chipped in, “Yes, they think they will catch something from you. I blame this cold on you.” I don’t spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. When I shave in the morning, the… Continue reading Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν


Perhaps it is because I am in touch with my feminine side, I rather like shopping. I particularly enjoy rummaging through African markets. In Bradt’s Travel Guide to Swaziland, the market in Manzini features in the “Swaziland in Colour” section. I just had to take a look. Saturday morning at 8am, I set off to… Continue reading Shopping

General Practice, but not as you’d know it

A day in the life of Matsapha Comprehensive Health Care Clinic. The day didn’t start well. The King’s motorcade drove through Manzini at 7am, the start of rush hour, causing traffic chaos. We were late being picked up by the driver, and it took longer than usual to get to the clinic. The last patient… Continue reading General Practice, but not as you’d know it

Buganu Revisited

Two weeks after the Marula festival in Northern Swaziland at Ebuhleni, there was a second sitting in Eastern Swaziland at Hlane. Two colleagues joined me to witness the action. We managed to get lost a few times, but managed to arrive just as the action was happening.


The young man needed to be physically examined. He stripped off his shirt to demonstrate various abrasions, lacerations and bruises as proof of his having been assaulted. The problem for me was that these injuries did not appear to have been sustained at the same time. Some appeared to be recent, within a few days,… Continue reading Patients