Friday, 29 June 2012


Our Josh Playing with Kids During Medical Clinic

Josh Miller was the first team member to arrive.  He came ahead of the others and we got him from the airport here in Kisumu on the 13th of June.  Marty took him aorund town to show him "the sights".  (Actually, he and Marty were "the sights", as he is 6'5" and pretty big.  She led the trek and is considerably smaller at 5' 5 1/2" - or thereabouts.) Wherever they went people stared and many wanted to talk with him.  One large man in thenative market was chatting with him and comparing size and weight, etc.  Marty suggested Josh show him his shoes - size 16 EEEE.  He quickly took one off and showed the guy, who immediately conceded the camparison game.  He was duly impressed.  On the next day we put Josh to work spackling cracks in the farmworker's house.  That was a new experience for him, the first of many on the trip.  The rest of the team, except Natalie,  arrived on Saturday, June 16 and hit the ground running.  We allowed them to "rest" at their accommodations on that evening, and from then it was almost non stop for the entire trip.  Natalie was due to arrive on Sunday morning, shortly after church started.  So the team went into Kadawa with John while Marty stayed in Kisumu to pick Natalie.  Notice "pick"!  Here no one or no thing is picked up, it is always "picked".  Marty picked Natalie in a cab driven by our friend Robert, put the luggage in the boot (trunk), and off they went to Kadawa, arriving just as the team had gone front to introduce themselves.  Well - that was a Grand Entrance.  The only thing missing was the red carpet as she went down the aisle to the front, being cheered and applauded the entire way.  No room for being shy or wanting to stay out of the limelight!!!  She took it like a pro and was properly introduce - again to much clapping and cheering!

Examining Room Behind the Curtains

The medical camp began early the next morning (more or less - remember we are in Kenya where most things don't start on time and never without a hiccup or two -- or three).  Upon arrival at the site - which was the Restoration Community Church (RCC) - there were already many people on the porch waiting to be seen.   They were registered outside by local folks, who could get all of the demographics correct, and then went in to the various stations.  First they went to the nutritionist who screened them for various nutritionally related issues, including malnutrition.  Then they went on to triage, where their vital signs and a general evaluation were done by some nurses, then on to see the doctors.  An "examining room" was set up in one corner using the church curtains for privacy, a long table and a mattress.  The pharmacy was set up - lots of medication.  In the three days we treated at least 800 patients, and ran out of some medicines. 

We had others left over and by concensus contributed it to a trusted local charity that does monthly medical camps.  We will have better knowledge of medical supplies for our next clinic.  We had staff from a local hospital in Kisumu; 2 doctors, 2 nurses, a nutritionist and 2 pharmacists..  The last station, probably the most important, was a space sectioned off for prayer.  After treatment every patient who wanted it (most did) was prayed for by leaders in the church. Then outside was a tent with staff that did HIV/AIDS counselling and screening. 

From meeting with the local medical staff prior to the clinic we found out that the hospital had no equipment to send with them. We notified the team in America and they were able to bring some top-of-the-line stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and two otoscopes for examining ears, all of which were given to the medical staff.  You would have thought it was Christmas by the way they reacted. Most of the items were donated by interested folk who were excited to help.

There were some very sick children, many with ear infections, that were helped immediately by antibiotics and other meds.  These infections, if left untreated, would have resulted in permanent deafness.  Others had malnutrition, some so serious that we sped them to the hospital right from clinic.  One very nearly died and was in hospital for several days. A young pregnant woman came in suffering seriously from pre-eclampsia.  She was waiting to go into labour any time.  Because she was so swollen in her face, feet and hands she came to the clinic.  She was taken immediately to the hospital in Kisumu. Sadly the baby had died - had been dead for quite some time; it was actually decomposing.  Had she not come to the clinic she herself would surely have died.  The baby was delivered and she was treated, remaining in hospital for several days.  She has been discharged, with antibiotics and is recovering.  Although she lost her baby she is very happy to have been saved from certain death and made well.

Some of the babies and toddlers were terrified by the white people and many really cried when being examined; unusual for a Kenyan child.  It wasn't uncommon for a child to bring in its younger sibling for treatment.  That child saw its sibling through the whole process, including getting the medication and instructions on how it was to be administered.  The pharmacists were very careful to make sure each patient or caretaker understood how to administrer the medication.

On left, a child bringing in its sick sibling. 

                        On the right, notice the hair on the baby is redish - an indication it is malnourished.                

Praying for a Child and His Mother
There you have our first, much-delayed, blog from Kenya this year.  So much has taken place over the last three weeks that we will be writing for a long time. The team left on June the 27th.; it is now the 29th and we are trying to rest up a bit and also catch up on administrative things and correspondence.  Marty had her birthday on the 14th of June and received sooo many greetings on Face Book, which promptly became unobtainable until the 28th, so she is desperately trying to acknowledge the lovely and thoughtful wishes.  As always, the internet is spastic, and for awhile a transformer was down in the city making us without power almost every night, sometimes in the day for hours and once all day.  But, once again, we think of David Livingstone and his ilk who had no means of regular communication - sometimes for years.  Puts it in perspective, doesn't it?

With Love and God's Richest Blessings,

John and Marty