It has been a while since I have written. It has been a mix of emotions as we keep busy with new projects and dive deeper into relationships here, and as we prepare to leave in just a few short weeks. It is so difficult to believe we are leaving so soon. We continue to remain present to our lives here, and we look forward to building upon these experiences in the future. We have started to be able to listen and understand conversations...and respond slowly, which is usually mixed with a bit of laughter from everyone. It is good.
The last several weeks since leaving Karero have been busy. We spent a couple days in Nairobi where we had to renew our visas. I consulted with some of the local physicians regarding an interesting case at Nairobi hospital - thank you to all you wonderful physicians who consulted from America. It was pretty incredible to be seeing a patient in a hospital in Kenya, and then receiving consults from specialists in America only hours later. The boy is making progress and we hope for more answers as he recovers.
Since returning to Kimana, we have been busy teaching and doing renovations at Oloile. Mike has been leading local teams through complete renovation of multiple classrooms. It is already looking so much better. The concrete in all of the classrooms was completely chipped with deep holes and cracks. Some rooms still have no floor aside from gravel. We spent the first few days getting dirty as we demolished the existing floors...oh, nothing like destroying concrete with a sledgehammer and then shoveling. SO MUCH DUST!!! There is a bit more demolishing to accomplish, but they have already started to pour new floors and they plan to lay tile on Monday! The students are really excited for the new classrooms as well as the new girls' dormitory that will be constructed. We hope the new classrooms will not only attract more students, but empower the current students to take better care of the school.
The health club continues to be active at the school. One of the classes put together a drama performance about cholera. It was great to see them get excited about a subject that is so relevant to the health of their communities, and then to design a play to teach their peers. I have also met with all the female students and they plan to continue a girls' club next year. The school year here is January through December with month-long breaks every three months, so they are about to break for holiday next week. I hope the excitement of their clubs will carry over to next year:) I am doing a final HIV/AIDS teaching with the entire school on Monday, including many faculty who will participate. I will do free HIV testing following the seminar. The clinic has generously donated several HIV testing kits, so we will see how it goes.
Aside from work at the school, I have been participating in a mass treatment for trachoma eye infections...a very common infection here that causes blindness. It is an 8-day long outreach where several teams go out into the communities, particularly the schools, churches, and bomas, giving antibiotics to everyone. It has been great to work with local volunteers and public health teams.
So much more to say as there has been so much to process, but that is a quick update. I hope to write more and send pictures soon. As much as we are sad to leave here, we are looking forward to seeing all of you when we return!