Hey everyone!! We arrived safely at our destination. Tomorrow some of the students will load some pictures to explain our adventures that we had today. Everyone is getting some early sleep from the bumpy rides up the hills (aka mountains) and most want to get up nice and early for the sunrise. Thanks!!
Where do I even begin with today! We started our day with a tour of the hospital in Voi. Then a group of 5 of us went on home visites in the rural parts of Voi. We visited 3 homes. The first home was make out of clay walls with a dirt floor and was about 7 feet by 7 feet. The patient pulled out chairs for us to sit as we entered her one room home. Mary is 38 years old and is HIV+. We were visiting her to confirm that she was taking her HIV medications properly ans was not skipping any days. HIV medication is not effective if the patient is not eating and Mary has very little to no food each day. We spent about 15 minutes in her home and then provided her with $5 for food and water.
Our next home visit was with an older man that was 84 years old. He lived in a similar home with a dirt floor and the clay bricks. The home was 6 feet by 6 feet. It included one tiny twin size bed, a night stand table and an open chimney. Paul was blind due to his hypertension and he is also HIV+. He contracted HIV because he was a night guard that worked at a truck stop. Women would sell themselves for food and money which led to him contracting HIV. While we were in Paul's home a chicken and 3 chicks came out from under the bed. So crazy! We finished our work up at Paul's home and headed down the road to visit another patient.
Our last home visit was with Dorothy. As we walked up to her house, there was a 2 year old child laying on the ground sleeping covered in flies. The patient was a 33 year old woman with 2 children. Dorothy was diagnosed with HIV and had a new diagnosis of TB. We sat in her home mwhich was a little bigger than the last two houses. She also had many skin lesions that she was told is melanoma. The growth of her skin lesions and blisters has grown 3x their size in the past 2 months. Along with all of her other health issues she was very jaundiced. We left her with water and $5 and went on our way.
The group was split into four groups in the clinic where we got to spend 4 hours with various healthcare workers. I (Ali) was one of the students to spend time in triage with a nurse. We met all patients before they met with the doctor for their appointment. We obtained vitals, height, weight, pill counts and asked various questions pertaining to their visit. In 4 hours we saw 48 patients of all ages. It was amazing experience to be a part of their clinic visit and get some time provide education. BMI is monitored closely. All patients had a blue or yellow card with their HIV status and recent weights from previous visits. It was important to provide education and address concerns with the many low BMIs. Something to take away from this expirince is how appreciative clients are and eager to learn about health. Many of the diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis we do not address much in the U.S. It was an amazing learning experience culturally and about various diseases.
One doctor we worked with put on different hats. Some of the other things we accomplished today was going over a cervical cancer screening. It is different than how we do screening in the United States. Some women get the than women in the United States do. Another thing we did today was take vital signs and give assessments of babies and their mothers.
At about 5pm the hospital received a call that they had an emergency cesarean section on their way. The woman was about 30 minutes away so we spent those 30 minutes prepping the surgical room. About 2 men were in and out of the room in their sterile gear throughout the 30 minutes. We also were all able to be in the surgical room so about 18 people were in the room not including the patient. We all wore sterile gowns, scrub caps, and masks, but there were not any gloves provided. We were able to take pictures and video tape the entire surcery. From when the mother got the epidural to when the baby came out it took less than 10 minutes. It was AWESOME! The majority of us have never seen a cesarean section before so for us to be able to say we saw our first in Africa is pretty amazing! The mom and baby girl are both doing great and the baby arrived at 39 weeks and weighed 6lbs 2 oz.
Today we visited Kangemi, part of Kibera slum, the second largest slum in Africa. We started the morning at St. Joseph Church, which happened to be the church that Pope Francis visited last November. As a result of the visit, the main road had street lights installed and the gravel road was improved. Next, we went to St. Josepth dispensery and maternity ward. The maternity ward was built in 2014, and included a nursing room for childrens' vaccinations, four postpartum beds, and a delivery room with two beds. The delivery room does not accommate C-sections or any premature/complicated births. They don't have an ambulance, so if a mother needs to go to the nearest hospital and the mother can't afford one, they have to take the ward's truck, and traffic can cause real issues.
We also got a quick tour of Dolly's Center, where women and men made dolls, bead accessories, and priest vestments. Then we headed to Upendo, a prep school for kids aged 6-12 before they're accepted to the nearby primary school. There were 13 kids in the class, and 7 had already tested into the primary school. The kids were from Small Christian Communities around the slums, that St. Jospeh's had helped create. They could stay at the school for up to two years, at which point they had to pass a test and interview to get into the primary school. Upendo then helped pay for their tuition at the primary school, since most of the time, the families could not pay it. At the end of the visit, we brought some toys and candy for the kids, and they could not have been happier.
After, we made a quick stop to the primary school, where the kids were out at recess and had a great time giving us high fives and handshakes. We visited a classroom for special education children, and all left with beautiful necklaces that they had made.
We had a delicious meal at St. Joseph's, then drove around Kangemi a little more, seeing the other church associated with St. Joseph's. Before heading to dinner with Fr. Francis and the Jesuit priests, we drove through downtown Nairobi to get a feel for the city. At dinner, we met priests from all over the world, and had great conversation. It was our longest day yet, but full of great experiences!
As mentioned before, many of our bags didn't make it when we made it. We were missing 16, which contained many of our own personal hygiene items...needless to say, many of us rushed into the showers as quickly as possible. After cleaning up, the real work began. We needed to organize the donation bags and decide what we would be bringing..
We loaded onto the bus later than anticipated, and got on our way to the Nyumbani Orphanage. This orphange is a home to kids aging from pre-k to young adult that have all been diagnosed with HIV to receive the very best care that their family wasn't able to provide. While in this home they receive education, medical treatment, emotional support as well as social support. We were informed that there hasn't been a child pass away from HIV there in over 5 years, but more on that later... The smaller kids are divided into four different homes, consisting of up to 15 children, and one house mom. The young adults, aged 14 and up, are also divided into four homes: boys and girls. The individuals aged 14 and up are all in charge of cooking their own food, washing their own clothing, and going to school. The school for them is outside the orphanage, where they take a bus to and from daily.
Our day at the orphanage began with a wonderful gentleman talking to us about the orphanage and how it all started. After that brief introduction we walked down to the homes and got a tour of where the younger kids live. We talked with one of the house moms, and she told us about their daily routines; where she informed us that the kids were required to take a two hour nap daily. I wish I could do that everyday!
As our tour of the home ended we were introduced to the kids. They ran out of the school, and one of the sisters asked the kids to sing us a song. We got the pleasure to listen to two songs, but as soon as those ended the real games began. The sister yelled out, "okay kids, find your new friends!" and we were attacked. The kids came running to us, and we suddenly had our new friends.. we all joined hands and ran in a circle. Duck, duck, goose was in store for us, but we quickly learned there were a different set of rules these kids played by. The next hour was filled with lots of games; hide n go seek, tug o' war (They totally kicked our butts by the way) and red light/green light..
We moved on and toured the rest of the facility. There is a cutting edge lab on site, filled with state of the art machines to help diagnose HIV, TB, and many of diseases. Many of those machines are the only ones in the country. This is where we learned all about the treatment these children recieve, the medications they need, and the staff that helps make their successes possible.
In the morning we packed a bag full of donations, which included some new soccer balls! We ended our day by handing 3 of them out. The excitement was such a rewarding feeling.
As you can tell from the title of this blog, Nehali and I did not want to be princesses under the cute white nets. It took about 5 minutes to convince Josiah that we really were not sleeping under them, and he gave us the most stunned look I've ever seen... and the journey begins.
The first day of the trip was eventful and the most perfect first day in Africa. We started by shopping around a mall and grabbing lunch there.. The minute we sat down, we had about 10 different servers all from different resturants bombarding us with their menus. We really wanted to order one item on each menu just to make them all happy. Some of us also tried the Tusker beer, and I must say, it reminded me of Milwaukee and the glorious Miller Lite :)
The next stop included going to side market with mini shops and our inner women came out... for all you men reading this, that meant we spent my life savings buying trinkets. But don't worry, our inner hustlers also came out when it came down to handing the money over. All in all, we got some amazing things for ourselves and our families.
I think that I can speak for everyone when I say that this next part was what made the day perfect; we went to a giraffe santuary. These giraffes were definitely not as excited to see us as they were excited to eat the food out of our hands... and our mouths. Yes, you read that right. We all got some slobbery kisses from these friendly animal... except when you try and take selfies with Samarya, she will headbutt you. It took a couple of times for us to get the courage, but how can you deny kisses from a baby giraffe?!
The final stop was the Kazuri bead shop. This is a women's co-op program that aids in helping women better their lives. These beads are beautifully made into bracelets, necklaces, earings and much more. It was amazing to see how talented and creative these women are here.
The team arrived safely in Kenya. I'm sure they are exhausted. Sixteen of the 28 bags did not make it, because of several flight delays and short layovers. They should get them tomorrow night. We will keep you updated.