Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! Today was our last clinic day. We started early again but didn’t leave the guest house until about 7:40 am as we were in Kakamega today. We had expected a very busy day as this was our only clinic in the city. As it turned out this was our lightest day with 576 persons treated. On Sunday, everyone dresses up in their best and goes to church. The photos we have today show the patients in their very best. We handed out the last of the teddy bears, stickers, crayons and colouring books. The little boys with their toys were precious to watch. They would run them along the benches nearly crashing into each other. This is a reflection of how real Kenyan drivers operate their vehicles. On the whole, we were glad this clinic was a light one. I can only speak for myself but I am tired and everyone else was saying similar things.
We treated a large number of children today, although this group was not as sick as the rural population. I would have thought the urban children had less access to food but our experience today didn’t support that. We have met a wonderful woman called Marie McKay. Gail has known her from the first year, 2009. She was initially in Kenya to set up a degree nursing program and decided to stay. She spends 6 months of the year in Kenya and 6 in Vancouver. What an interesting lady. She spoke to us about the Kenyan culture and how she has worked with various NGO with a special interest in education. Marie told of a friend who had called her as her 10 year old son was in hospital. When she went to see him he was in a crib (with his knees at his chest) in the pediatric ward. He had been in there since 3:00 am and it was now 10:00 am. No one had taken his temperature in all that time. But the ward nurse was caring for 75 patients. She had him removed to a private hospital.
We held a farewell dinner tonight for all the nurses and our security/helpers. The latter persons were wonderful: registering people, handling the crowds and even our van driver did temperatures and handed out stickers. We met a man who told us of how we brought his wife back from the grave two years ago and that if it hadn’t been for the Canadian Nurses for Africa, he would be a widow and his children would not have a mother. He thanked us again and again and blessed us for our work. It was very moving. I can never find the words to tell you how desperate these people are. Two days ago, one of the nurses asked one of our Canadian nurses if she would take her daughter back to Canada with her.
This has been a wonderful experience. For those of you at home, you will meet a different person as she comes off the plane. You will hear stories I never told you and look at the most wonderful photos. And most of all, the women who worked this week and assisted hundreds of the poorest people they have ever met, will never look at our western society quite the same again. Tomorrow seven nurses leave for Nairobi. Suzanne, Jan and Erika are going on a safari; Sylvia, Lynn and Sandy, and Sherry are headed home; and Gail, Trish, and Dawn are staying on for a couple more days.
I hope to have some final figures regarding the total numbers of persons treated for you in a day or two. By the way, the burn baby is being released from hospital tomorrow. Can you believe it? None of our group expected that child to live.