Friday, September 10, 2010

So much to little connectivity

Greetings to all!  Our internet connectivity is limited, to say the least, so I will try to summarize our last week as best as possible.  We travelled to Karero and then back to Kimana.  We have spent the last week in Kimana trying to settle into some sort of day to day structure.  We have quickly discovered that "structure" does not really exist in Kenya and you just have to go with the flow, as so many of you wise individuals have already advised.  Our moods ebb and flow very quickly throughout the day, fluctuating through points of optimism and frustration, hope and discouragement, and overwhelming joy and total insecurity.  We are learning some sort of balance between our eagerness and "need" to do things/ "let's get things done" mentality and the predominant societal tone to move at a slower pace.  I had a great conversation with one of the public health officers the other day, Muthoni.  She was explaining how there is no such thing as time in Kenya and that things are always disorganized.  I explained that we are very focused on organization, punctuality, and structure in the states...sometimes to a fault, just as in Kenya the disorganization can be to a fault.  We both agreed Americans need to learn a bit from Kenyans about how to live day to day just as Kenyans may benefit from a  little more organization.  In such a short time, I think we have both discovered that most is accomplished by simply sharing stories.  There is so much for us to learn regarding how and why things are done.  Our hope is to continue the conversations so that we may learn and, possibly, earn the right to be heard as well.

There is so much spiraling through our minds so I thought it only fitting that this blog post be just as scattered as my brain right now.  So many things are different here.  You know, there are the little things like walking by camels and monkeys on the way to town, seeing the brightest stars and a different organization of constellations at night, no running water, using the "cho" (ahh, fond memories for all who have travelled:)), etc..  Then there are the deeper differences and ethical dilemmas, particularly when it comes to public health, sanitation and hygiene, women's rights (or lack thereof)...more on this later.  I am seeing and treating tropical diseases I have never seen before and trying to work within the chaos that is the health care system.  Mike is working with totally different modes of construction.  He even built a shelf out of branches and cardboard....we are processing and will expand more on all of this as the days go by.  Now, a recap...

After I last blogged, we travelled back to Karero to help organize the medical clinic.  Mike built several shelves and a new desk.  They were using the birthing table as a desk and are now able to use the birthing table as it is meant to be used. I helped organized all the supplies and medications, and did some medical education for the new nurse who will be seeing patients.  We really love being with the Maasai community in Karero and look forward to returning.

In Kimana, I have been helping at the local health care clinic sponsored by the ministry of health. I have been seeing patients and working with the public health officers. I am trying to learn my Kiswahili as fast as possible as it is very difficult to communicate.  The clinic often arranges for a translator, but it is short staffed.  The supplies and medications are greatly limited. I am afraid the entire community is going to become resistant to sulfa!  I was able to observe and assist with an eye surgery for a trachoma infection.  Next week, I hope to continue to assist in the eye clinic, see patients, and work with the public health officers as they launch a major education effort about cholera.  I am also planning to do some health education at the secondary school in a few weeks. Mike has been working with some of the local construction crews, learning how things are done and trying to offer some insights from time to time.  We both will be returning to Karero next Friday to spend two weeks working at the clinic – doing more medical teaching/training, painting and repairing the clinic so it can be fully functional. 

Life with Tyson’s family is wonderful.  We come together every evening for meals, great conversation.   We joke with Tyson and his wife, Mama Nasieku, about how Mama and I are going to teach each other a few things… soon Mama will be calling the shots and I will be preparing all of my husbands meals:) Nasieku, Siente, and Rachel (their three daughters) are helping teach us the language, always playing and singing around the house.  It took a few days for all of us to warm to each other, but it now feels so comfortable, like we are family. 

I apologize if this is all a bit scattered. It is difficult to consolidate a week into a few paragraphs. I think pictures paint a thousand words so I will post pictures as soon as possible.  We love and miss you all!  Thank you again for all your continuous support.  Hope to write again soon…

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there Lindsay & Mike... it gets easier with time. Every day there will be a moment of wonder and a moment of "WTF??"

    We miss you! I rode to work today, working with Lorol and Amanda in WIC. Printed out your blog post for them.