It’s the second week of the mission and we started at Chavakali where we have been in previous years due to the high needs there. The children are back in school this week so we are able to run programs in the school. You will see Monica deworming the students which was approximately 500 children. We also ran a sexual health group which always focuses on HIV prevention. However the most exciting part is delivering the cloth pads and bags to the girls. These are sewn by women in Saskatchewan and Ontario throughout the year to donate for this mission. Thank you Marnie and all the women who have taken the time to do this– as you’ll see by the pics, the girls are delighted with both! Gail also brought beautiful photo books donated by Mark Zelinsky which the children enjoyed.
We were happy to have Priscilla back working with us as she took over Becca’s wound care station and dressed 25 wounds today. She was able to follow up on the patient we were concerned about last week which we had sent to the hospital. We had a surprise visit from Mary from our October mission providing the cost for her goiter surgery. She came to us with a bag of sugar cane and thanked us over and over for helping her. These are some of the most rewarding times of these missions-when you see how you have helped someone. You may recall me saying that the drive-thru triage was a first at the clinic yesterday. Well, today was another first. We had a toddler cough up a long tapeworm in triage – I do have to admit I have never seen that in my 25 years of nursing. I won’t post the pic for those with sensitive eyes but we did take pics of it as this was a new experience to most of us (just ask us individually to show you!).
Something we were discussing on the way to clinic today, considering some of us have been on the mission for 5-6 years and some are completely new, is the changes that we’ve noticed in Kenya over the years. One thing is that there is a significant increase in the number of motor vehicles on the roads, which, unfortunately contributes to the large number of motor vehicle collisions as well as pedestrian accidents. It also gives the appearance of increased prosperity and perhaps improved economy. However, when we talk to the people, there is still a huge unemployment rate (I believe it is around 80%) and those who work find only temporary or occasional employment. The government had encouraged training for community health workers which is an excellent idea but most who have trained have no work even though there are so many community needs. It is also evident most people are hungry. I noticed at the clinics, none of the workers eat or drink anything all day, not even a sip of water. At our supper, I asked about this. They stated most Kenyans may have tea in the morning if it is available but then will only eat at supper (which is usually after 7:00). They did admit that those with money would be able to have 3 meals a day, but that was not common for them. As a small group of nurses working within this society with the awareness of the vast needs, it is often difficult to consider what the best interventions are to support these people.
Today in total we saw 799 people. However it may have been a true 800 as yours truly was getting a little tired at the end and may have misnumbered a patient! See you tomorrow.

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