can’t even believe it!

Cannot believe that tonight is our last night in Kenya!! These three weeks just flew by! I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to come to Africa and participate in this program. I’ve learned so much and met so many great people. I also think that its definitely lit the flame in me to study as hard as I can so I can get more opportunities to bring medicine and care to other places that need it. As hard as it was to go to a hospital like that every day and see the hardships that these people face in their day to day lives it was so rewarding to see the relief in their faces when we helped them. I want to do more stuff like this in the future! I would like to finish school and come more prepared so I can make an even bigger difference. 

Yesterday we went to a woman’s house that we got connected to by a physician in the hospital to get henna! It was so cool, she welcomed us into her home and painted designs up our arms, across our hands and over our feet. She had an adorable daughter that loved to watch Dora even though she knew not a word of english. They had a little kitten that they were playing with and they happily showed it to us. So cute!!

Imageete

Image

Image

The group that got henna ended up not going to the hospital, but we heard some crazy stories! There had been massacre on Wednesday where two tribes had a dispute over cows about 200 km up the coast. The tribes turned on each other with machetes and 48 people were killed consisting of 42 women and children anx 6 men. Many more had been injured, and yesterday morning a young girl had come into the hospital who had been hurt in the tragedy. She had taken a machete to the face and had slashes all the way up her arm. The people who saw her come into accident and emergency had described it as nothing they have ever seen before and the most horrifying thing they’ve seen here. Her face was ir-recognizable, her head was so badly swollen it was misshaped, and she had a gaping gash from her ear all the way across her mouth. She was in need of serious reconstructive surgery. Not only this, but her arm had a cut so deep that the head of her ulna was visible and all the tendons were cut clean through. The doctors had given it a 20 percent chance that she would keep her arm. Stories like these are incredibly hard to hear, what made it almost unbearable was the fact that they didn’t do the reconstructive surgery because she couldn’t afford it, so they just sutured her up and sent her home. She was quite unbelievable because she was still completely conscious and aware even though she obviously had lost an extreme amount of blood and it had been almost a day and a half since it happend. She was a fighter! I just wish that she could have gotten that surgery, again a situation where all we can do is sit back and say to ourselves “there is nothing we can do”. 

One of the things that I have thought has been very interesting about the people and their culture here is that their emotions towards death and sorrow seem very different and almost detached. There has been many a times where our group has witnessed death in so many ways in the hospital, and its hard to keep ourselves in check when all we want to do is cry. A mother had brought in a baby that was no longer alive, and the mothers face and emotions weren’t what we were used to in the US. It doesn’t seem to even effect them. In maternity the other day on that dreaded shelf where they place babies that don’t make it there were two packages wrapped up in tape labeled with the time of death and the date they had come to the hospital. We looked at one of the dates, and immediately regretting it we found that one of the babies had been sitting there for over a day. The lives of the people here and the poverty and hardships they face everyday in the only words that I can find to describe it are : dulled because every day is a struggle. 

At the same time I have never been to a place where every where we turn there is a kenyan person or child waving saying “jambo, how are you?!’ and its quite funny because sometimes thats all the english they know so no matter what our response to “how are you” is they say “I’m fine”. Little kids that we pass when walking places start little chants of “how are you” and ask for pictures. Its adorable!! 

In the afternoon on thursday everyone went to old town and emptied their wallets on souvenirs and gifts for their friends and family. Everyone got some pretty great stuff! Lots of different wraps and hand carved masks! 

Today we just enjoyed the sun and our last day together in the compound, and making one last trip to the cafe to use the internet and grab a delicious dessert! :) 

We have a long journey back home, but we are taking home memories and lessons that will stay with us forever. This experience has been humbling and has taught me to appreciate the little things that seem so petty in our everyday lives, and to never take anything for granted because there are people halfway across the world that are grateful for even waking up every morning because of what they face in their lives. Thank you for following along on my blog! I’ll be adding more pictures and maybe some more posts to wrap things up when I get home but I’ve loved sharing this with you guys! 

 

Aside

Last days in Kenya, so much to do so little time!!

I gave away some more hats today! Two little babies went home with soft hand-knitted hats on their little heads with moms that were so thankful! Today I started in maternity and saw a mom give birth to a healthy baby boy. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about being an ob-gyn, I think I’ll stick to orthopedics or pediatrics :)

ImageImage

After we decided to check minor out and I got to dress my third wound! The man had broken his thumb and there was a big gash that needed to be cleaned and redressed. Honestly I cant get the picture of all the pus that squirted out of it out of my head. The old bandage was stuck to the healing wound so when I finally wiggled it off the fluid just drained out of the open sore. After I thoroughly cleaned it out I was a little puzzled by the fact that I could see a white in a place white shouldn’t be… It wasn’t an infection, it was his bone! He pulled his x-ray out from behind him and the top joint of his thumb was in the completely wrong place! All his book said was to redress it, so we had to send the man away even though he clearly needed his finger reset! Couldn’t even believe it! When a couple of us were waiting for the next patient to come in, Jeff came in from one of the rooms and told us we had to see the sore that just came in. We walked into the already crowded room and were completely caught off guard by what we were witnessing. The man had three open sore on his foot nearly four inches wide and almost a centimeter deep. It was unreal! (sorry for the nasty picture.. It was just too interesting not to share!) This poor man, this may not ever heal, and the amount of daily care and redressing may not be affordable. He must of waited weeks before he came in to see a doctor finally, we were all asking ourselves why did he wait so long?

Image

I ran out of internet minutes right in the middle of yesterdays post so I couldn’t finish it! So today is a continuation of yesterday too! Instead of going to the hospital a small group of us went along with Joel to help with the remodeling of the school and orphanage that he is fundraising for. Joel is a Med student from the UK that is here participating in Elective Africa. He started raising money for the Rebbey Junior School (the one we visited early last week). The money will go towards putting cement on the walls, paint, school supplies and food for the orphans. Heres the link to his efforts:

http://www.indiegogo.com/rebbeyjuniorschool

Today we purchased the paint and began priming the concrete on the walls, the plan is to also paint the alphabet on the wall with fun pictures also (super excited about that part)

ImageImage

Tomorrow we are wrapping up at the hospital and heading to old town to do some good ol souvenir shopping! Cannot believe we only have two days left in Kenya! Its a bittersweet feeling to be going home, this has been quite the experience!

Real Life Lion King!!

 

This week has been full of some experiences that I will never forget! I don’t even know where to start! I just finished uploading all the pictures onto my computer and it still feels so unreal to me that we just went on an African safari! I haven’t blogged for a while, I have a lot to catch you guys up on!

In the beginning of last week we went to an orphanage down the street from our compound. It was so odd to walk from a paved road that is lined with apartments and buildings to a dirt road covered in trash, lined with makeshift huts made from either mud and wood, or pieces of scrap metal and rope. As we walked, we passed little kids playing in the yards where the grass wasn’t even visible there was so much rotten waste, and they waved at us with an excited “jambo” and we waved back trying to mask our emotions to what we were seeing.  One thing our group has always kind of chatted about was how different the poverty here in Kenya is compared to the US. The slums in Mombasa and the different communities we’ve seen are very humbling and continually remind us about how much we take for granted at home. The average Kenyan lives on 100 schillings a day, which is a little over a dollar. The orphanage we went to takes care of about 75 kids who either have one parent or guardian or are orphans. They provide them with meals that they otherwise wouldn’t have, the care that the absence of parents can’t provide, and also a primary education. Before we even made it down the street towards the small mud hut we had little kids crowding us, grabbing our hands and leading us into the door with bright smiling faces. They had us sit at one end of the room, facing all the kids, and the kids burst into welcome songs and dance, and before they were done they grabbed us from our chairs and taught us, jumping, spinning and twirling around us. For the time we were there they put on little skits, sang songs, told us Kenyan nursery stories, and even performed a fashion show! But of course we didn’t just sit and watch, they had us join in! The fashion show was absolutely hilarious, they had us strut out into the room and perform some silly pose in front of their giggling faces! Then they put the spotlight on us and had us do the hokey pokey with them and the Macarena! We did this for hours, and the room was so hot and the floor and walls were made of dirt so by the time we walked out our Elective Africa shirts were covered in dirt and sweat. The last thing we did in the orphanage was take pictures with everyone and it was so fun to interact and talk to the kids, they were just hanging on all of us, asking for picture after picture, it was so adorable! The school was looking to take steps forward and try to improve what they had for the kids. Joel, one of the students participating in the Elective Africa program set up a fundraiser for the school and is looking to spend a lot of time at the school for the next couple weeks, covering the walls in cement, adding some windows and gathering money to try and give a salary to the teachers that now are just volunteers. It was an incredibly touching experience, and we all can’t wait to try and visit again before we leave!

That afternoon, our program coordinator had planned swimming lessons with some of the older kids from the orphanage.  So some of the kids from the orphanage grabbed our hands and walked with us back to our complex, and jumped into our pool! We had a few of our students that were either lifeguards or knew a little bit more than the doggie paddle (haha…soo not me….) teach the kids how to swim and they were just loving it, and a couple of them caught on really quick and were floating around like it was nothing! The kids stayed for the entire afternoon, we passed soccer balls with them, and they played on our swings, they just had endless energy!

 

Wednesday night we all gathered our stuff and received our itinerary for the safari weekend. Thursday was going to be a long travel day to Nairobi, so we had to stock up on snacks and charge our iPods and cameras for the long 8 hour bus ride. We started our trek to Nairobi at around 9 in the morning on a big bus with a couple other tourists and people traveling. I thought weaving through traffic with a tiny tuk tuk was scary, but weaving through with a giant bus was petrifying. The drivers here are fearless! We were taking curves at crazy speeds, almost balancing just on two wheels, hitting speed bumps and slamming on the brakes and alternating that with flooring it. Thank goodness the ride back today was completely different because I don’t think I could have taken another experience like that one! When we arrived in Nairobi we got to our hotel that was called the Milimani backpackers center, and it was where a lot of people that go on safaris or trips to climb Mount Kenya would stay before they took the different tour vans to their destinations. We were shown to our rooms where 8 of us slept in one room with bunk beds. It was quite the bonding experience!

Image

That night we were all starved from only munching on granola bars and potato chips all day so we freshened up and went to a nice Italian restaurant in the city. It was so interesting to see Nairobi, it was the complete opposite of Mombasa, it looked just as industrialized and modern as any big city in the United States. There were skyscrapers and star hotels, the capital building, and apartment complexes. The restaurant was pretty fancy and it was so delicious! Exhausted from a day of traveling, we weren’t even at our final destination yet! We went to bed early preparing for yet another long day on Friday!

The drive the Massai Mara game reserve was a 6 hour journey, four hours on a normal road, and two on a super bumpy road. We were picked up by our safari vans and figured that our safari wasn’t going to be the smoothest ride because our seats rocked back in forth to help try and absorb the bumps. We were warned about the rough two hour road, but nothing could prepare us for what it actually was. The one thing that I could compare it to is going on Excalibur at Valleyfair, that rollercoaster hurts its so rough and bumpy, well take that and multiply that by about a hundred, this road was insane! We had to maneuver through ditches and we were constantly tossed around and slammed into our seats! It was actually kind of fun at first! By the time we got to our campsite, there was a layer of dirt everywhere in the van because the roads were so dusty! We passed village after village and had to stop for cattle or goats that were crossing the roads. Our camp consisted of tents under little roofs, it was so neat! We slept on little cots under mosquito netting, we got the true safari experience that’s for sure!

As soon as we got to the camp they told us to drop off our stuff and we were already off to our first trip into the park on our first night safari! Our vans transformed, the roofs came up over the top and all the windows were opened and ready for us to peak out with our cameras.

Image

I was absolutely AWE-STRUCK by everything we saw. We went on a short one Friday night, then were out in the park from 7:30 to 4:30 on Saturday and on Sunday we saw the sunrise in the park! We saw four our of the five animals in the big five (the rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah and buffalo), along with ostriches, giraffes, hippos, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, vultures, hyenas, crocs, everything!! This time of the year is prime time to witness the migration that happens from the Serengeti. It was unbelievable the amount of wildebeest, zebra and other kinds of antelope that surrounded us for miles and miles around. We drove for hours and the numbers never dwindled, millions of them surrounded our van! Our driver gave us short little facts about each animal we saw, and he loved to answer all our questions. It was a blast to stick our heads out the top and hold on for dear life as we zoomed through the park. It was hilarious when we all figured out at the end of the day when we took off our sunglasses how dirty our faces got. We all looked incredibly tan, only it wasn’t from the sun! We all were just covered in dirt by the end of the day! The drivers communicated through a radio, and whenever one spotted something, all the other vans were alerted. It was really fun because whenever there was news of a lion spotting or something, our driver just floored it, on the hunt! Chasing lions and cheetahs! The park was beautiful! There were rolling hills, and the sun peaked through the clouds in long yellow rays. It was covered in those cool trees that are so stereotypical to safaris, and we passed vans full of tourists with their huge cameras with lenses that were ridiculously long. On Saturday we went so far into the park that we were by a river that separated Kenya from Tanzania, so we were literally 50 feet away from Tanzania!ImageImageImageImageImageImage

On Saturday night we got the opportunity to visit one of the nearby Massai villages. One of the men of the tribe lead us through his village, showing us each their houses, and where they kept the cattle and goats during the night away from the lions and predators that come out of the park at night. They showed us some of their ceremonial dances and had us join in. For the men they have a ritual for marriage where the men compete to see how high they can jump and the higher they jump the less dowa they have to pay for their wife. A dowa is a payment of the family’s cows to give to the woman’s family that the man is going to marry. They said that some men had more than 9 wives! The women showed us a song and dance that they do for celebrations where we lined up and swung our arms back and forth. They also showed us how they makes fire with sticks and use that as a way to give themselves tattoos too, so a couple of our guys got little burn tattoos on their arms! One thing that was crazy about the village was that they all came from one grandfather! They hunt lion with spears and little Massai machetes, and a boy becomes a man when he hunts and kills his first lion. The lion is then made into a hat for the man to show off his victory. Some of the people in our group actually got to buy some swords from the people that they kill the lions with!

Image

We caught the sunrise on Sunday morning after a nice cup of Kenyan tea (soooo good, definitely something I’m bringing home!). When we were done on Sunday and packing up to go home, it was such a sad feeling, the safari was such a blast! What a memory!

Image

Sunday night we were back in Nairobi, and the program recommended that we try going to a restaurant called Carnivore, which was supposedly one of Africa’s most famous restaurants and Kenya’s best one. I am SO glad we went! It was the coolest restaurant I have ever eaten at and the best meat I’ve ever had EVER! It was an all-you can eat style restaurant where they sat us down at a table and started us off with soup, appetizers, bread and salad with all different types of dressings. Then the real fun began, they came around with meat roasted on giant Massai swords and carved off chunks of tender meat onto our plates in front of us. We had pork sausage, turkey, beef, prime rib, chicken, ribs, even ostrich meat, crocodile, and ox balls!! The meat only stopped when we surrendered and took our flag down in the middle of our table. We were all stuffed and super uncomfortable our stomachs were so full!!!

Image

This week it’s back to the hospital! Can’t believe we only have four days left here! It went way to fast, wish I could stay longer! We still have so much to fit in and do this week before we go, it’s going to be a busy week!

Visiting Rebbey Junior School

ImageImageImageImageImage

 

We visited a school on tuesday where the kids performed poems and songs for us and we played with them for a while. They were so happy that we came and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! 

Sorry I’ve missed the last few days of blogging, haven’t been feeling very well but I’m on the mend! I’ll get everything all caught up when we get back! Tomorrow we are off to Nairobi and then to the Massai Mara game reserve to go on our safari! So unfortunately I wont be able to put up another post until Monday! :( Got my camera all packed and ready with extra batteries, cant wait to share some pictures with you guys!

 

What do you mean theres no more gauze??

Its getting harder and harder to motivate myself to go to the hospital every morning and see the people and face the fact that there is nothing that we can do. But at the same time, seeing the reactions of people that we have helped, and watch the people we wrap up walk out with clean bandages provides a feeling that’s hard to describe. So my emotions are very torn every time I walk into Mombasa Coastal province hospital. Some doctors are very friendly and energized to teach us anything they can and answer our endless questions. But sometimes bad luck puts you in a day like today. A couple of us went up to the main theatre where all the major surgeries are done during the day, and at first the nurse wouldn’t even let us onto the floor and then the surgeon doing exploratory surgery on an abscess on an abdomen wouldn’t let us into the operating room! bummer… So we wandered down to the minor theatre where they patch up wounds and perform sutures and such. We got there to find that there was NO GAUZE LEFT. guess what the head matron said to us when we asked where we could find more? “There is no more until tomorrow, you are just going to have to accept the fact that there isn’t any”. We looked out the door to the hallway filled with a line of people waiting to be treated and our hearts just sunk. A father came in with his adorable little girl who needs her sutures removed and we couldn’t do anything without sterile gauze! 

We then thought maybe if we tried an entirely different route and went to orthopedics to maybe learn how to wrap/plaster a cast. And I cant even tell you how different it is than the US, it was a complete shocker. When we walked into the casting room there was a man that had casts on both legs all the way up past his knees. The plaster job looked absolutely horrendous and uncomfortable for the poor man!! his right leg was awkwardly turned in and his knees almost looked hyper extended! The plaster was uneven and bulgy and looked like it had been on for a while! The doctor plastering his leg had cut a hole near the shin of the mans left leg and explained to us that the man had a bilateral compound fracture and the wound was infected. He was peeling off the bandages when we came in and the old gauze was sticking to the sore. When he finally pulled back the last layer of bandage I don’t know how I didn’t hit the floor I got so light headed. The entire room instantly filled with the smell of rotting flesh, and it looked like the bandage had pulled back some skin with it, it was so yellow and full of pus. He then proceeded to try and clean it and came to the conclusion that the man needed to see a physician for further diagnosis. He took a giant cutter that looked more like a garden tool than a cast removal device. The man screamed in pain as the tool moved across his leg. The cast was made our of straight up plaster, like stuff from the home depot, and it looked like a child paper-mached it on, the table and the mans leg was full of white dust and fragments of cast after they pulled it off. Verrrryyy different than the US. I remember getting my wrist casted when I broke it, the comparison is completely crazy! The poverty and amount of money the government gives this hospital is so hard to see. Doing this kind of volunteer work here is definitely an eye-opener!

Then we tried our luck a second time in major theatre, and there was an orthopedic surgery going on. Before we went into the surgery, we saw Dr. Nwiende, the anesthesiologist that was so helpful when we watched those c-sections, she met us with a warm smile and cracked a couple jokes. The surgery we walked into was a patellar fracture repair, it was really interesting. They put in two giant pins and held it all together with wire, a much milder surgery than the femur fracture we saw last week thats for sure!

Tomorrow we are taking a trip to an orphanage! So excited!!! 

International Medical Aid

 

ImageImageImage

Yesterday was probably one of the most rewarding experiences ever. A couple of us were invited by one of our fellow students who heads an organization called International Medical Aid to tag along to a village and help teach the kids in a school there how to brush their teeth and wash their hands. International Medical Aid is a non-profit/non-governmental organization which seeks to improve access to vital healthcare resources in developing countries. Homayan, a student that is here fro Elective Africa is the president and has already gone to an orphanage here with some of our group this past week to provide health screenings and give them any medical supplies they might need. Its very inspiring to take part in the relief he brings to these people! Our travels to this village involved an extremely muddy dirt path. In fact, our van got stuck in the mud, and the boys in our group got out and pushed us out (mwahaha). We got stuck another time and finally just gave into walking the rest of the way, the mud adding a few pounds onto our shoes. We got to the little village to find a little tiny makeshift shaft that said St Patience Basildon Centre School and were greeted by the teacher with a warm hug and a long handshake. We ducked into the shack to find it full of smiling, eager faces jumping up and down so excited to meet us. As soon as we were all in they burst into a welcome song, and when their teacher tried to quiet them after a while they sang even louder due to our overjoyed reactions. Patience was the teachers name and she introduced us to her children who all pushed over each other to try and shake our hands with a toothy grinned “jambo”. The group was ushered outside and the children grabbed our hands and pulled us out along with them, all wanting our attention. They sat in a group in front of us squirming and trying to catch our eyes for a smile as one of our Elective Africa leaders explained to the kids how to brush their teeth. We had a box of small tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes that we first all demonstrated how to use. When we asked what the children used to brush their teeth now, Patience said they used sticks. We had one of the kids come up and volunteer to try it first, and she tentatively tried to mimic our actions, but quickly made a face in disgust towards the unfamiliar taste in her mouth. Next we showed them how to scrub their hands using a dissolvable soap strip, and the kids giggled and clapped when we were done. We brought candy for them which seems kind of contradictory, but all their eyes lit up when they tried the lollipops we handed them. They all sat down again and performed some poems for us in small groups and even sang to us again! After we handed out all the supplies we got to play and interact with all the kids, they all couldn’t get enough of the pictures and they taught us some games that we played in a circle, it was so fun! The parents of the children all thanked us so graciously and the teacher couldn’t express how happy she was to have us at her school. It made me want to do even more work like this in the future! 

ImageImageImageImage

That afternoon I had to do one of my conditioning workouts for basketball outside our compound gates on the dirt road, and a few Kenyan children joined me! 

Today was a terrifyingly interesting experience, we took a trip to old town which are the first buildings and the beginnings of Mombasa. First we were tricked into paying a guide for a tour of the city, where he led us through a market that was an extremely crowded alleyway where we all clutched our bags for dear life as we brushed past men and shop owners yelling at us either sexual remarks, or begging us to come buy their stuff for a good price. One man grabbed all of our arms when we walked past, and others tried to block our path, trying to force us into their stores. After we purposefully lost our guide we finally found a less crowded street with shops that had respectable owners and we were less terrified to walk into. We all stocked up on souvenirs like beautiful wraps, masks, bowls and statues for our family and friends. We all found some great stuff for even better deals! Overall, even though the day started out very scary, it ended up to be just what we wanted! 

Image

 

ImageImage

A lot of my fellow students here also keep blogs while they are here, its really fun to see what their thoughts and experiences have been like. So I thought I would share their links so you could see some other perspectives of our time here! 

http://miadavielle.blogspot.com/

 

http://joelmccay.wordpress.com/

 

http://jeff-n-kenya.blogspot.com/

 

http://alexasafrica.blogspot.com/

 

http://lmischell.blogspot.com/

 

http://megansarvis.blogspot.com/

 

http://trishalangle.blogspot.com/

 

http://naschnabel.blogspot.com/

 

http://chelseasafrica2012.blogspot.com/

 

 

Is this a horror movie or an orthopedic surgery?

Today was just a surgery day; I went straight up to the major theatre with 5 other students and waited patiently to see what surgeries were on tap for today. After hanging out in the lounge fighting back morning yawns and sleepiness. The first surgery of the day was a fractured femur reconstruction. This wasn’t even just a fracture… it was shattered! It took the doctors nearly an hour to prep the man who had supposedly been in a motorcycle accident. They didn’t even put him under anesthesia, they just used a below the waist epidural. They put up a little screen so the patient couldn’t see, but I can’t even imagine what his experience was like. It was a terrible gruesome and aggressive surgery, at one point the surgeons were putting their entire body weight into placing the bones where they needed to go with a metal stabilizing rod. He could hear everything from the surgeons chatter, the beeping machines, the crack and snap of his bones, the dropping of the utensils, the lights actually went off twice, the noise of the drill and he could feel the pressure of the surgeons moving and pressing his leg into place. I’ve never seen anything like what they did, they were scraping muscles off the bones (sending blood and body matter everywhere in the room), grabbing the bone out of the leg and trimming the sharp ends off, and boring a think metal rod through the center of the femur starting through the knee. The way they treated his muscle made me wonder if the muscles with ever be the same, they looked like minced meat! The sounds I heard during that surgery made my stomach turn, and how it looked like a straight up horror film was hard to handle in the heat of the room. Overall it was a very interesting surgery, and orthopedics is still one of my favorite departments of surgery. I’m just really curious to see a surgery like that done in the US.

Image

Image

The drill they used in the surgery

That surgery took up the entire morning and I didn’t get to see much else, we did stop into a surgery in a different theatre where they were trying to clear an obstructed airway of a little boy. He had a breathing tube through his trachea and they had to change it before they began the surgery and the little boy was fighting for air wreathing in pain while they were stringing the tube through the hole in his neck. Every thing I see makes me wonder what the surgeries would be like with the proper equipment. The sterile tools are wrapped in rags on the trays, and in the little boys surgery there were flies hovering around the room!

We went downstairs to see what everyone else was doing because it was getting close to the time when the van was going to pick us up. They were trying to find Lidocaine for a main who needed his burn cleaned. Only a picture can describe what this mans burn was like. The nurses said there was no lidocaine left in the hospital… so a couple people in our group went searching across the hospital for a bottle, which thankfully they found in maternity. left so I didn’t get to see the debridment but it was pretty grody!

Image

 

the burn… see, only a picture could describe it… ouch!!!

Do no harm?

Do no harm? It’s something that doesn’t exist in this hospital, and its so emotionally draining everyday to go to this hospital and see the things that are going on. Everyday we have to deal with the fact that there is nothing we can do. I don’t even know where to begin, should I start with the incompetent doctors, the lack of proper care, the filthiness of the hospital, the treatment of the patients, or the lack of basic medical supplies? I think it would be easier to list everything:

-Trey saw a surgery where they used the same scalpel for multiple cuts, so for the entire procedure which was on both the hip and the arm, the same unsterile blade was used… and on top of that there were flies in the surgical theatre

-Yesterday when a group went late to the hospital there was a young boy in the emergency room that no one saw, there were doctors in the emergency room working with a few other patients around, but no one even bothered to help him. He died.

-Natalie was holding a baby that could barely breath, and no one was doing anything when her oxygen levels dipped down. This morning the baby wasn’t in the pediatric ward, which means most likely she didn’t make it.

-I witnessed a stillbirth today and they treated the baby just like the rag they wrapped it in. They flopped the baby onto the mom’s stomach before taking it to another room and placing it off to the side on a SHELF, when we asked the midwife where the baby was she said that’s where they put the ones that don’t make it.

-When a man needed a wound stitched up they had ran out of suture kits, and more were in a cupboard that was locked, we asked to get it unlocked but they said the person with the key had gone home. And that was it.

-A man from the Massai tribe came in last night with a gash on his forehead, and the nurses lied to him and said they were out of suture kits; he was still there this afternoon, untreated. Just because he was in a different tribe

-Chris was helping a man replace a catheter, and the man was in a lot of pain so he went as slow and gentle as he could, when the doctor came to look over his shoulder she just grabbed the tube and yanked it out.

-There was a 2 year old that came into the minor theatre that had ingrown sutures on his finger, so some of the skin on the tip of his finger had to be cut off, the intern Lee and Chris were with wanted to almost amputate the tip of his finger before Lee stopped him, keep in mind this child had no pain killers or lidocaine.

-There is a “suggestion box” at the front of the hospital….really now?

These are just a few of the stories that I can remember. It’s hard to leave the hospital everyday knowing that we are leaving people that we cannot help.

 

What made my day today was in maternity, there was a couple babies that had been born earlier in the morning, and my friend Sonnie back home had made some adorable little knit baby hats. I went to ask the mothers if I could place them on their babies heads and they were sooo incredibly grateful, their faces lit up with huge smiles and couldn’t stop thanking me, one mother was very good at english and we stayed chatting with her in her room for a while. She was such a sweetheart and was telling us how glad she was to hear her baby was okay and healthy. the next mother I asked didn’t speak that much english but I didn’t need to know swahili to be able to tell that she absolutely loved it. 

Image

The last day has been really tough, the extreme poverty and messed up healthcare system is really hard to deal with. But every time I see a patient like the mothers this morning, I look forward to helping the next person who needs it. 

Is it hot in here? or is it just me??

Observed my first surgery today! You think you’re ready and prepared to witness something like that… but you really aren’t. It was a sensory overload, the smells, the heat, the sounds, it was overall incredibly overwhelming. Before the surgery began we had to change into a new pair of scrubs, throw on a pair of rubber boots, and a really attractive hairnet. When we walked into the operating room we grabbed masks and some gloves to put on. We made quick friends with the anesthesiologist and she loved to teach us and walk us through what she did for each surgery. She even gave us jobs to do! I mixed two of the drugs to make what would put her under, gave the patient oxygen as she was falling asleep, and even took a small part in putting the tracheal breathing tube in! She taught me about how anesthesia works, how she balances the gases and different kinds of drugs to keep the patient under, and even broke some of the science down into balanced chemical equations to help us understand. For the C-sections here they put the patient completely under for the procedure which is really interesting compared to the US. The first patient had already had a C-section previously so to begin they went in on the same incision as last time, it was okay to watch the doctor make the incision through the skin and fat, and eventually the uterus, but what really got me was when he took the sides of the incision firmly in his hands and RIPPED the hole to make it bigger… that’s when the room started to get hotter, I could feel myself drip with sweat and the smell of the room and the weird smell of my mask started to make me nauseas. Later I got even more light headed when they used a sort of alcohol that had a super strong smell to clean her skin. My head was spinning and the procedure had just started! When he initially cut into the uterus and pressed down on the woman’s stomach to find the baby a huge squirt of who knows what splashed across the table! He was very aggressive when he pulled the baby out, pushing down the stomach and squeezing the baby out. When the baby came out it didn’t cry! They brought it down to the maternity ward and it was killing me to see how it was doing! The first C-section I watched the entire procedure from start to finish, and the next one I just sat by the anesthesiologist and avoided as much as the gruesome parts as I could because I hadn’t quite recovered yet. Definitely feel broken into the surgery part of things!

 Image

Image 

Some basic things I’ve noticed here is that it’s very Americanized. I swear there is more English everywhere than there is Swahili. There are billboards everywhere, including ones for Coca-Cola, and there’s a Shell gas station just down the street. Although I haven’t seen a McDonalds yet in Mombasa, there are quite a few Italian restaurants that sell pizza and pasta, as well as cafes that sell burgers, nachos, chicken nuggets and hot dogs. I’ve even seen a Chinese restaurant! Most everyone we have talked to can speak some sort of English, but we’ve only seen a handful of other Americans here. The streets are insanely busy, people are always walking somewhere, and there is always some sort of traffic jam, in fact this morning we were stuck in one for almost an hour and a half! Little makeshift huts line the streets selling fruit, plants, clothes and little trinkets. Young men pull carts jammed with potatoes, bananas or mangoes. Everywhere you turn there is someone asking you for money, tuk tuks are constantly honking trying to get your attention to give you a ride. Men hang out the sides of the creeper vans (they are scary! At night some light up even, and the men whistle and yell out of them!) and the sides of the roads are bustling with people walking as cars zoom past literally inches from their pant legs.

Image

 

These are Tuk Tuks

 

We’ve learned a couple basic Swahili words:

Asante- thank you

Asante sana – thank you very much

Jambo – Hello

Pole – sorry

Mazunga – white person/foreigner

Hapana- no

Habari- how are you?

We went to a vegetarian café for lunch called Café Mocha, and they have some desserts and pastries that look so so good! Might have to hit that up again very soon! :)

Kenya is 8 hours ahead of the US, so I have to wait until later at night to call my family or to go on my computer! It’s going to be a challenge to adjust to the time change when I get home that’s for sure!

Image

 

Heres the photo of our group practicing IVs on each other 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.