Day 20: Thursday 1st November:
Today while Tagisia remained at MIA; to wash, cook, blog etc, the rest of the team experienced the horror & reality of a public hospital in a 3rd world country. Michele & Kathie were in the operating theatre where they observed practices that could only be described as akin to being out of the Crimean war! For instance; surgical instruments being handled by ungloved hands, a needle stick injury then the same needle being inserted into a patient, children being literally dumped into a cot and left post-operatively following a tonsillectomy, without any observations/monitoring. Corinna; being a wound specialist, on the other hand was taken to the burns unit, which she described as being a torture chamber. Appalling infected burns on patients who were subjected to daily dressings with minimal analgesia on board. Dressing trolleys being re-used and no basic hand-washing between patients. The list goes on! She spent 11/2 hours with one particular burns patient – a small boy- gently de-briding his burns while singing/lulling to him. He gradually stopped screaming and calmed down as he realized that she was out to hurt him. His mother later told Corinna that she was “from God”. Many cups of tea and debriefing later, Corinna, Michele and Kathie were able to share their experiences albeit tearfully. The MIA children soon put smiles on their faces during worship time with their many antics and wonderful singing!
Day 21: Friday 2nd November:
Enjoyed a lovely day! We went to Pondamali and received a delightful, warm welcome from the children as they sang a special song for us. They were all so touched and grateful for the school supplies Michele had purchased for the school and we left enough money to supply the school with a month’s supplies of food for the children (Kathie’s church will maintain this as an on-going project). During discussions with lovely Pastor Williams, it was agreed that we would return next Tuesday and assess the children/staff at school. After lunch in town, we picked up our order at Care Chemist and purchased items for the care packages – for the Women’s prison. Michele, Corinna and Kathie in particular had fun choosing items to include in the children’s packs. Finally returned for MIA with all our boxes and bags around 4pm. Two visitors to MIA2 had brought with them various medications to donate to Kenya Health (apparently a Dr who’d previously joined a K.H. team, had arranged itJ) Checked on a couple of the orphans to see if they were improving and they were. Mary received a phone call from the prison to inform us that they’d double-booked tomorrow so we won’t be needed until Sunday. Have chosen to join the orphans and walk down to East African orphanage to join them for church.
Day 22: Saturday 3rd November:
All slept in this morning – aaah! East African orphanage has outgrown their little chapel so they met in the dining hall for church service. Ralph Spinks (“Dad”) shared an encouraging message on Psalms 46. Very timely especially in light of what Corinna, Michele and Kathie had endured on Thursday at the local hospital. Another scrumptious lunch with Mary, Lillian shared before Tagisia, Lillian, Mary and Helen joined Cyrus in the afternoon to pay our respects to Naomi’s husband. Naomi – a teacher who had supported us on previous trips as an interpreter- had died due to complications post child birth on Thursday night, leaving behind 3 daughters. Returned to MIA, to join the orphans in singing, movie night and cuppas as a team.
Day 23: Sunday 4th November: Prison clinic
Today’s clinic progressed smoothly without a hitch! We had a really great day, saw 232 inmates and children (0-4year olds are allowed to remain with their mothers). The care packs were gratefully received by all and Madame Suzanne was happy for our service. Usual complaints seen plus alot of stress-related ailments noted. One inmate had been beaten 3 days prior to being incarcerated; she had obvious broken hand, bite marks and was in quite a lot of pain. All appreciated the kindnesses shown. A few inmates will require follow-up, which was added to the ever growing list handed over to Rosemary. Lillian left earlier today to travel to Nairobi where she’ll be completing training in palliative care. A very late lunch in town before returning to MIA, all happy at how the day had run.
Day 24: Monday 5th November: Molly’s orphanage
What a lovely morning! Mary took the team to Kenana knitters: a very worthy community project that is empowering local women. We all spent a little too much (especially Kathie, but I won’t tell lol) A little birdie told us that our esteemed leader Lyle Burgoyne’s birthday is today (and he didn’t even tell us!)As it was much too late for us to call Australia, we all sang Happy Birthday ‘to him’ while travelling to Molly’s orphanage in the afternoon J It is a lovely children’s home which cares for 37 children. One case stood out: a young boy with cataracts! Besides this: lots of ear infections and x2 cases of giardia. We also met with Anisha (from Play Kenya) there who is keen for us to visit a particular school she frequents as part of her work. The only problem is that it’s at Magoon (Zipporah’s district) Discussed at length but in the end decided not to ‘step on any toes’. Rosemary is off to Kijabe tomorrow to acquire quotes for two children on our growing surgical list.
Day 25: Tuesday 6th November: Pondamali school clinic
Lyle rang this morning so we were able to send our belated Birthday wishes. When we left our mud hut, Josheph – a young evangelist who works for MIA – was waiting with a patient who needed treatment. We’re all so glad to be able to return to Pondamali slums to treat the children at the school at least. Pastor Williams was amused that we managed to find our way driving solo (without Mary/Lillian/Rosemary to guide us) Only the 4 of us: Corinna, Michele, Kathie and Tagisia, today, but between us we saw 123 students and staff. Cases that stood out (1) a 7 year old boy with a partially closed fontanelle (2) a young girl with an exhaust burn to her leg, that she sustained a week ago (3) a 3 year old boy with burns from hot porridge the day before. Besides these, we saw the worst cases of ear infections/perforated ear drums at this clinic. It was very hot today in the church where we held the clinic, so we’re hoping that we’ve lost a few kg’s in the process J Afterwards we met Mary in town and she took us to “Molly’s shop” another worthy community project focused at providing women living with HIV, with an income/stability as they sew beautiful bags from local materials. On the way home to MIA, we picked up our last order from Care Chemist, before returning 6.20pm. All weary and eager for an early night as it’ll be a huge day tomorrow.
Day 26: Wednesday 7th November: New Life African school clinic:
Once again, Joseph greeted us first thing in the morning with another patient in need of care (only this time it was after 8am!) Initially we were a little daunted at the thought of assessing+/- treating 600 students plus staff at this particular school. However we were informed by Jane: the headmistress, that there was only 100 children who were actually sick, while 300 required anti-fungal skin cream, so that was a little more do-able. We ended up treating 220 children, adults from the crisis women’s centre (situated on the campus) and staff. Huge day! We saw x2 mumps cases today – which is something, us Australian nurses have not seen in a very long time. Corinna in particular was kept busy with various infected wounds, as most of the children who attend come from nearby slums where hygienic practices are non-existent and water supply scarce. Also saw many cases of chest, eye and ear infections as with other clinics. After clinic we distributed biscuits we’d bought to each child: all 600 of them!
This school operates on a sponsorship program, so each student is supplied with uniforms, school supplies and a meal daily. All the team are very weary today but happy with the outcome. We had our lunch/dinner at 6.30pm, skipped going over to the main house and tucked into bed early!
Day 27: Thursday 8th November:
We’re playing ‘hookie’ today, up early and off to Lake Bogoria. Today was truly one of the highlights of this trip. We’d all been hoping to see “a flamingo or two” instead we were delighted with a magnificent display of colour, beauty and grace as over a million flamingo’s danced across the sky. At the hot springs we enjoyed boiling eggs for our picnic lunch which was fun! This excursion today was very timely as all the team were feeling a little run-down, so this was just the pick-me-up needed! Finally we returned 6.30pm, cooked dinner and then introduced ourselves to x3 overnight visitors to MIA (from Congo and Uganda) on their way to Nairobi. Joined them at the main house with Mary for a cuppa and chat until 11pm. Never a dull moment!
Day 28: Friday 9th November:
What a special day and what a terrific way to wind up our month working together as a team! Michele and Kathie bravely returned to PGH to scrub in/train theatre staff while Corinna and I ran errands and caught up on last minute shopping. Previously Fraha – one of the orphans that Corinna had especially become close to” had given her a ‘birthday wish list’ so Corinna had fun, choosing various items for this.12pm we picked them up and went to Café Guava restaurant for a special pre-birthday lunch for Corinna as she’s leaving tomorrow with Michele for Zanzibar. It is tradition at MIA that anyone who has their birthday is “washed”, so Corinna (and Michele by default) experienced this surprise, much to the delight and participation of all J Later both were found, blow-drying their shoes/watches in time for tomorrow’s travel. After the children had dinner, they sang happy birthday while the birthday cake made by Damaris – the very talented & beautiful MIA cook- was placed in front of Corinna. Quite a few tears of joy shed, yes this is one birthday she will always remember J Corinna & Michele are dreading goodbye’s tomorrow.
Day 29: Saturday 10th November:
Ivan rang early this morning: one of his boys at MIA2 had attempted to carry a heavy pot filled with hot porridge and had sustained burns to his face and chest, narrowly missing his eyeball. So Corinna had the privilege of assessing and dressing one more wound “for the road”. 13 year old Joram will require daily dressings for 3 days at least then a 7 day dressing will be applied before Kathie and Tagisia leave for Australia. Oral antibiotics and analgesia was also issued to the hapless young lad. After biding farewell to Michele and Corinna, Kathie and Tagisia joined Mary, Lillian and orphans from MIA & MIA Nyota, to go to a musical Sabbath program, run at the nearby Rift valley institute. Lunch was at Mary’s again, and it was good to catch up with Lillian again, hearing all that she’d gleaned during the week. The rest of the day we relaxed at the main house: reminiscing over the past four weeks. Movie night tonight with the children and Kathie is having a “pj party” in the “Big girls room” with Mercy, Fraha, Habibi and Diana J just realized today’s date: 10/11/12.