Monday, August 23, 2010

Kenya day 1 clinic

Amazing day. About 1.5 hrs out of Malindi, all dirt roads, we set up a clinic, examined patients (almost 300) outside under a tent canopy, and dispensed pharmacy from a mud building. The HCWs worked with us, using what they had been taught in class, and seeing patients. We weighed and assessed the nutritional status of every child we saw, identifying 50% of the children we saw as malnourished. The usual diseases, malaria, pneumonia, skin rashes, TB, a few suspected cases of HIV, and parasites, made up the most of what we saw. Children got a meal of rice and beans at mid-day, and off they went. The afternoon clinic was much the same. Another day of practicing medicine in Kenya. So different that what I was doing just a few days ago in the US. Taking care of severely ill and injured children in a 10 million dollar pediatric intensive care unit, with everything I needed. Today, it's dirt and sand, medicines out of boxes and baggies, a generator driving a computer we're using to input the nutritional assessment data, mud huts, mosquitoes, no bathrooms, children who haven't seen a doctor ever, and the life expectancy of these children of about 35 years. Go figure. Is one place better than the other? Of course the technology and the immediate availability of things needed that I have in the US would trump what we have now. Not so. What we have here is not always available in the US. Acts of giving with wanting nothing in return. Covenant relationships. No insurance forms, no billing, no co-pays. Just agape. The act of giving love without need for anything in return. The HCWs are showing it. Their first time holding the hand of a patient who has come to them for help. And they have taken that hand and held on tight. Unafraid, graciously and caring. It is so wonderful to see. We will leave behind a group of dedicated teachers and pastors who have accepted the role of caring healer openly and selflessly. It's really has been an amazing day.
In all things give thanks,
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