Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kenya clinic day 5 and wrap up

So what's it like when one goes on a medical mission trip? It all depends on one's expectations. Thinking ahead of what you want to experience and accomplish will leave you with regrets and frustration when expectations are not met. What then? How to best prepare? Some simple advice. Have an open mind and an anticipatory attitude. And that is what worked best on this trip. Things changed, plans made anew and canceled and still it all fell into place. 23 US team members and 15 Kenyan healthcare workers with 3 Kenyan leaders came together and saw 1424 patients, all of whom were children except for a hundred.

The stories were many, the interventions many as well. Treating a severe leg burn on a 2 year old, several children sent to the hospital for emergency medical care and identifying several children who had special needs. But there is more. Just because we are there for the children does not mean we neglect the adult to comes to us with a significant problem. A 40 year old mother came to us complaining of a "wound in her womb". Translators were unable to help us sort out what she was saying. She had 11 children, 2 of whom had died, one right after birth and another at the age of 6 years from what sounds like meningitis. This woman, this mother of 11 children had a debilitating complication of her pregnancies and deliveries. We knew what to do and more importantly where to send her for the 15 minute operation that will change her life. We had many similar stories of chronic illnesses in children who simply needed guidance. The beauty behind this is that the healthcare workers were ones who identified those children, knew where to send them and needed our assurance that they were in fact right.

We finished out the week meeting our primary expectation. To serve. Funny how that always winds up being the primary one. I saw a team come together and bring a wondrous attitude of humility and kindness. I couldn't have expected more.

In all things give thanks,