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You can meet the whole world in Equatorial Guinea! Anna Motairek, doctor, Russia

My husband, Dr. Malik and I first came to Equatorial Guinea to work by contract 8 years ago. We never thought about immigrating then. We just planned to treat local people for a couple of years and then return home. After all of us fell ill with malaria I wanted to leave even earlier. Malik suffered especially hard: he had fever every two weeks. After that, however, he had developed such a strong immunity that a single paracetamol tablet taken at first symptoms cured him immediately. We just learnt the nature of the disease: malaria demands respect. You cant be too careless, and you cant be too serious about it either.

To cut a long story short, we stayed and never regretted. The first thing that surprised me a lot and what I was very happy about was our international company. It seemed to me that the whole world gathered here. Our best friends were from Korea, Algeria, France and the USA. All together we went on hiking, spent our leisure time, made parties. Our children grew side by side with their foreign friends. Equatorial Guinea gave us a unique opportunity to interact with the whole world without leaving a single country.

We started working by contract. But as we are doctors I am a pediatrician and my husband is gynecologist our colleagues sent their children and wives to us to be treated. This is how It occurred to us, why not found a private clinic. At the time, the Healthcare Minister was Hustino Obama, who helped us to bring our plan to life. We consider him a godfather of Selena. First this was a small private practice. Then as we build up some fortune we started a great construction. Now we have a bigger establishment already.

Although, the clinic is not luxurious, it is very cozy and you feel here at home. 80% of our patients are permanent and they respect us very much. We can feel it. I know these people need me. Every day opening the clinic I see patients waiting for me. Everyone on the island knows Dr. Malik. Rumors are best aids here. Finance, by the way, is also important. I used to work as a pediatrician at a municipal clinic in Russia and earned just small money. Here we are better-off, even though it often happens so that my husband does not take money for the visit. We try to work for the benefit of these people. For example I am very much for breast feeding. But there is a big trouble with it here. The standards of living in the country have recently gone up. But the local people are still unable to tell bad from good. They drink soda and feed their babies with tinned baby food believing that what they buy for money is by all means better. In past times, only maybe one woman of a hundred did not breastfeed. Now it has changed to the contrary. It is worth noting also that they do not like to say their age. A few years ago as the passports were changed in the country the age was written according to what people said. Even men lied about their age.

In fact, the locals were a pleasant surprise to me they are hospitable and benevolent, educated and informed. They know more about health issues than any other nation in the Western Africa. They surf for the issue on the Internet before they visit a doctor. Well, maybe this is because the locals do not trust doctors much, especially if a doctor is white. That is why it is especially pleasant to realize that we are trusted. Of course there are some who are fussy and cannot decide between traditional medicine and sorcery, the so-called kurandria. I cant say that the latter is nonsense. Of course, there is something in sorcery too, but this is a sealed secret. Some patients do not admit they let blood even under the penalty of death. But this is their space, which we are not going to enter without a knock.

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