Jambo from Nairobi!!

We are currently sitting in the Nairobi airport at the conclusion of an amazing, eye-opening, and life-changing trip.

Our week started out with a bang! We were on ICU call Sunday, but Dr. Newton was so kind and covered the unit after rounds so that we could explore. We drove out to Mount Longonot for a day hike and did not know what we had gotten ourselves into! The hike up was a challenge, since many of the trails had been washed out from all of the rain this season. However, once we made it to the top, it was all worth it. The views from the crater were absolutely breathtaking!
Jambo from Kijabe!

We have just wrapped up another exciting week in Kenya! Our week started off with an African adventure full of beautiful sights, wild animals, and great hiking. Then, we spent the rest of the week working in the “theatre,” which is becoming more familiar now J

This Sunday, we joined with Gretchen, a surgical resident from Vanderbilt, to see what Kenya is like outside of Kijabe. We woke up early in the morning and drove about an hour to Lake Naivasha and took a boat to the Crescent Island animal sanctuary. We were the first ones there and got to see all of the animals in their morning routine. There were giraffes, zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, and even hippos!
Jambo from Kijabe!

We have just completed our first week at the AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya and it has been a life-changing experience so far. My classmate Allison met me in DFW to start our journey to London, then Nairobi. Our travel was uneventful and we made it safely to the guesthouse where we stayed the night in Nairobi. This was my first time seeing mosquito netting!
This will be my final blog from here in Munsieville; I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and anyone who has been reading along with with the blogs thus far. Again, I’d like to also thank Hope Through Healing Hands and the Frist Global Health Leaders program, for helping to make this trip possible. It’s been a busy six weeks in Munsieville, but I feel that I’ve accomplished a great deal at Hope Park, and I think that the work I’ve done will be of use to the volunteers and workers at Hope Park for years to come.
ABCs intact. Airway. Breathing. Circulation. Blood pressure adequate to supply critical organs. Oxygen saturation—wait, that’s lower than it should be. Patient’s awake, ok. Crepitus around both side of his chest---a palpable crunch over the ribs. Respiratory rate picks up, breathing becomes more shallow. Patient is now requiring a little more encouragement to respond.
He had knowing, radiant eyes despite the obvious agony gnawing at his entire being. His body was relegated to cachexia; one year of difficulty swallowing and unimaginable weight loss has robbed his muscles of any tone they might have had. His eyes smiled at me as I stepped up as the third surgeon to examine him, talking over him in a partly foreign language. He started to have trouble swallowing a year ago he told me, offering no explanation on why he had waited so long to come to a hospital. It was only when he started having stridor, audible upper airway obstruction with a whistle accompanying every exhale that was impossible to miss, that his relatives brought him to seek medical care. He had bulky lymph nodes on both sides of his neck, protruding from his fragile skeleton like golf balls. There was a palpable mass protruding from his neck that had been slowly robbing him of his twenty year old life.
Amidst the emergence of increasing interest in social justice issues swirling all around us, you may have reflected on how many people have, in droves, begun to speak out, whether it is against racial inequality, harassment in the workplace, how guarded or helpful we should be toward refugees, equal pay, equal rights & respect, or against many other forms of injustice that have been bursting forth in our country and in our communities.
Things are continuing to go very well here at Hope Park. I am getting more and more adjusted to the daily workflow at the center, and I’ve been working on a number of projects to help the community of Munsieville. For example, I’ve been continuing to work on creating data capture and collection systems for Hope Park. This is important as it allows those working for The Thoughtful Path to identify how things at the center have changed over time, such as the number of students enrolled in No Child Left Behind and the outcome of those children, or what kind of community education workshops have taken place. Additionally, as Hope Park continues to reach out to potential new stakeholders, being able to show quantifiable data about what is being done at Hope Park will be essential. To that end, I’ve created a number of documents and forms such as cover sheets for enrolled children, a guestbook to keep track of adult visitors to the center, and a planned weekly schedule for each staff member. This kind of documentation is something which The Thoughtful Path has struggled with in Munsieville, and it is my hope that these systems will have a lasting impact on this community.
On February 24th l landed in Johannesburg and was brought to Munsieville. The trip to where I was staying in Krugersdorp was about an hour, and I spoke at length with my driver Simon about the political and socioeconomic climate in South Africa. Jacob Zuma, the previous president of the country, had just stepped down amongst longstanding frustrations with his abuse of power, and there is a aire of cautious optimism about the future of the government and their incoming president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised to make a stand against the widespread government corruption which has been plaguing the country.

Subscribe to our newsletter to recieve the latest updates.