Wednesday, February 11, 2009

High Above Nakuru

On the seventh day of our humanitarian mission we found ourselves at a Mountain Village high above Nakuru, Kenya. The drive there, however, was a bit much. The village sixty miles from Nakura, and a steep drive with the elevation of the village at 9000 feet. Though the road was horrible, the view was very nice. The people in Africa use every inch of dirt to grow what ever they can. Sadly, they have no farm equipment so all the labor is done by using very large shovels, hoes and pitchforks. And once again all the labor is done by the women of the village. Surprisingly the fields and the crops look well groomed and healthy. The African people grow and use a large amount of cabbage, so many of the field looked like they could be home to Peter Cottontail.
Again all the children must wear uniform in order to go to school. The school colors in this village were lavender, and it just so happened I had wore my lavender pullover. They all cheered as I got off the bus and wanted me to come and go to school with them.

Once we were at the village, the sight from the bus was a bit overwhelming as there were about six hundred villagers waiting for us and it was only nine in the morning. After setting up a make shift clinic, in an old building near the church, we were off and running. So many children with ringworm, scalp fungus, itchy watery eyes. Along with adults with acid reflux, arthritis, and back pain. The medical aspect of this humanitarian mission was extremely hard for me, as I felt as if I was trying to put a little bitty band-aid on a massive huge laceration. Though the organization had taken several thousand dollars in medications, they were so very generic. We had access to Tylenol, Motrin, Vitamins, De-wormer, Septra, cough medicines and antifungal cream. Yes, more than anyone in Africa has, but far from the resources I am so use to. There was no Respiratory Department, no Radiology department, and no way to consult with another physician. The nearest hospital is sixty miles away in Nakuru, yet few if any have the money or the means to travel to the hospital. These people all think that since you are white and from America, you are a doctor, not to mention they think you can cure anything and everything!
Though our day was long and tiring, the boys of the village made me laugh. Boys are boys the world over, as they were looking in the windows pulling faces at us. The laughter of children is so refreshing no matter where you are.
After leaving the village in good spirits, those spirits were soon dampened with the ninty mintue wild ride back to the hotel. But, soon we were at what Africa would call a 4-STAR hotel"the Cool River Inn, America would call it a dive. After arriving at the hotel, Sana and Shosho paired up team members to room together. However, there was one small surprise!! In each room there was only on full sized bed. Nothing like sleeping, very cozy with someone you've only known for a week in a full bed with a mosquito net around it. Marilyn, and I, had been room mates from the first day, so we volunteered to bunk together. The room was so small, the floor dirty, the shower didn't work and the mosquitoes were coming through an open window. Marilyn and I made the most of it as we talked, laughed and giggled like a couple of little girls.

From Mom: Wow what a day. When it was all said and done, we saw 500+ people in the medical clinic and another 60 in the dental clinic. The people were lined up as we pulled in. Lots of coughs, malaria, typhoid, and goiters. The village we went to today was in the mountains of Nakuru. We will be going back there again tomorrow. We are staying in a dive hotel in Nakuru, we have to bunk with a partner in a full bed! Yes, today was hectic, but no more crazy than a bad day at Mountain View ER since we are so limited on what we can do. It is hard, as I think of possible diagnosis and what really needs to be done. For all of you at Mountain View, Jill, Val Richards ex has joined us on this trip. I am getting very tired of African food and as soon as I get to the States, I am getting a huge cheeseburger and fries with a 44 oz. Diet Pepsi. Miss you all, but having a great time.

From Tiffany: Wow! I bet you are beat. And, I bet sleeping in the dive with a buddy (hey, bra-less I bet!) doesn't lend to a good night's sleep. Do you want me to bring you a Pepsi to the airport?