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Playing With Children: Kenyan Style

Last Minute Packing

Packing for Kenya today! I am traveling with medical missions kenya and hunger relief. I am traveling with Michael and Chris. Michael traveled to El Salvador with me and has been looking forward to traveling to Kenya also. Chris is a local pharmacist who works for TOPs and we are very excited to be traveling with her. She will definitely be a guide in regards to pharmacy knowledge. We leave on Tuesday.While in Kenya we are also doing a research project. W will screen as many people as we can for high blood pressure and diabetes. We will be collected data of undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes and comparing it to El Salvador and India. As part of the research project we are educating them on non pharmacological methods to prevent these diseases. We are also modifying brochures to have Kiswahili translation to leave with patients.

The coolest thing about this trip is the leader, Milli. Milli is from Kenya and it will be like going to Kenya through a back door. Very different from the GHO El Salvador trip. When we get there we are actually going to her brothers house. We will have 2 doctors and a bunch of nurses traveling with us. Oh and my priest, father Paul, will be in Nairobi the first week of June! He is from kenya as well and is very excited we are going. He gave mike and I a phone number to contact him but I don’t think we will have time to meet up. He offered to take us to his mothers house which would be a very cool trip but I think we are going to be very busy. A couple days on the trip we are doing a chiggers and jiggers removal. Not too excited about that part. I’ll be in another spot at the clinic, maybe giving out socks to patients who just got the chiggers removed. Can’t wait to sit on the plane for 17 hrs and finally make it to Kenya!

Today started out at 10 O' Clock with breakfast. Then we sorted out all of our supplies where we decided that if you drop a pill on the floor and use it, that makes you a pharmacist. Afterwards, we had lunch and went to the supermarket, which was essentially a Walmart (Nakumart?). We bought a whole bunch of water, a bottle of wine with an elephant on it, and a bottle of Amarula, which we were told by a girl in the airport that elephants fight over to drink. The wine and water is delish but we still have yet to try this apparently exotic amarula. This came out to 1350 shillings and there are 85 in 1dollar. We also grabbed some lattes while in the shopping center that the supermarket was in and got their wifi password of course because obviously we no longer live in a world that could stay disconnected for more than a minute. The lattes were amazing. We still didn’t get our money exchanged nor get a SIM card so that was sort of a fail. After this, we took a long bumpy dirt trail though a rugged market place and got an “African Massage” on our way to the orphanage. This was in the middle of the slums. The amount of garbage was layers upon layers and the house and shops were merely one room shacks.

When we got there, we met about 120 children. Despite being heartbroken over the fact that they have so little and we only have the power to do so much, it was an amazing experience. They all obediently lined up and remained in line while we gave them Albendazole, a tooth brush, and toothpaste. It was nice to see they were honest about what they received unlike what we saw in El Salvador last summer. Another notably difference is they took the medication without making a fuss. We had enough albendazole to start giving some to this children watching but this was prematurely done with the toothbrushes and we were short for the orphans! This quickly made my stomach turn for the worst. Thankfully there was a shop nearby with toothbrushes, and Milli bought everything they had (around 10) which miraculously was precisely enough for the orphans who had not received one! We also left some shoes for them with the teachers since we did not have enough pairs to give all of them so at a later time the teachers will give it to the ones who need it most which are the ones without any at all. After this, the orphans sang some songs for us. Some in Swahili and some in English that we recognized. Of these, one was from Rent, Lion King, Ain’t no mountain high enough, lean on me, etc. Megan, Lexi (a nurse from LA) and I (Michael) sang with them. At one point I (Michael) had a dance off with one of the kids, which was alot of fun. That’s on video somewhere I heard. The kids loved to look at pictures of themselves on my camera. On our way out we gave them all high 5s and said goodbye.

Then we returned home where we started a game of euchre with Chris R. and Greg. We didn’t finish because dinner was served but I think we are currently winning 7-3. After dinner, we started to play horse with Chris B (Milli’s nephew) and Mark. It was dark out so it was short lived so then we played poker. Chris B’s sister, Chelsea, joined us.

Some Swahili words we learned today are:

Na-ku-pen-da = I love you

Ka-ri-bu = welcome

Asante = thank you

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