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Journals from NUR 398 Health Care in China

2008-01-25 A Day in Tongli

Outside of the city of Suzhou, we visited a small town called Tongli. In Tongli, we saw one of Chinas oldest classical gardens (Master of Net Garden). We also walked around and admired the homes; many are about 400 years old. Tongli is where many people from Shanghai come for a relaxing vacation. Walking along the canals in Tongli, we tried some of the local grub that a lady was selling on the street. It tasted similar to a potato. We also tried a sweet treat called maltose which was more fun to play than to eat. In Tongli, we had the opportunity to visit a village hospital-clinic. This facility serves a community of about 30,000 people. Three doctors (Drs. Wang, Ping and Shu) sat with us and shared information about the population they served. The hospital is considered Level I (lowest level- low tech) and is staffed with a team of 41 people. Though they can't do surgeries (they only wash the wound), we got to see some in-patient rooms as well as a laboratory. We were told that patients can come directly to this hospital or they can be referred by doctors who work in outlying village clinics. We then visited an outlying rural clinic. Rural clinics provide basic care such as regular check-ups and ultrasounds. Most of these rural clinics provide minor treatments 24 hours a day. The hospital and the outlying clinic were both very clean. In the rural clinic, some of us (the braver ones) used the bathroom which consisted of a tile canal that you stand over and a pull string that releases water into the canal to facilitate the disposal of waste! Outside this rural clinic was a basketball court where a number of the village boys were playing. Joslyn and Rochelle decided to join them and the girls were able to score a few points. As they were playing, a number of the villagers came out to watch and laugh. As we were leaving, we all felt more connected to each other. Following our visits, we went to an open market area where most of the villagers purchase their daily food. The market, which was basically several open warehouse buildings (the size of Costco), was filled with people and rows of vegetables and meat. The assortment of vegetable was incredible; we were unable to identify many of them. Of course the Chinese continued to stare at us (were foreigners) but the Chinese children kept us engaged and entertained. They followed us everywhere. When we took their pictures, they would pose and push each other so they would be included in our digital frame. They were thrilled to see their pictures in our digital cameras. In the marketplace, we ate deep fried pancakes. It tasted like bread with parsley and garlic. It was delicious. We ended our fabulous day with a lovely dinner in Suzhou. See the next 4 photos! -Rochelle and Nicole

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