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!
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!
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!