Thursday May 6, 2010

Another day has finished. We managed to start earlier as the clinic was in Kakamega and so we finished earlier this afternoon. We were actually back at the guest house by 5p and now it is only 9:30p, a far cry from the 1:00a postings. Today we saw 430 patients. The people of Kakamega are as poor as the rural people only a little more sophisticated. We managed to hand out a few toys to the smallest of the children today before the clinic started, and the photos show the awe they have. They can not believe their eyes and it takes a moment before they realize that what they have is a toy. Their mothers smile and one little boy was sent back to say thank you, just like in Canada! Little children do not smile easily and it is very difficult to coax a smile from a 10 to 14 year old. The lack of hope in this country hangs like a fog.

We saw more infants today than usual-so many babies with fevers, coughs, and abdominal complaints. When we finally closed the doors today, we managed to register all the babies that were left. The hardest part of this mission is to say “no more”. If you stayed open, they would come all night. Our clinic was held in a smaller metal building, with steel roof and sides. A monsoon rain came just when we were about to close. I have never heard so much noise, between the rain, people shouting and babies crying, it was indescribable.

In Kenya, children care for children. This week, I saw a five year old caring for a 1-1/2 to 2 year old. This child carried that youngster around all day, and never once neglected the child. This is a common sight. Today, there was a five year old girl, who hung around all day, leaning on the desk watching registration and leaning against a nurse in triage, the same two who had given her a skipping rope earlier in the day. She had asked for wooden toys also. We said no, as she already had a toy, but not five minutes later, she showed up with two tiny boys, probably her brothers. They got the toys! Used clothing here is abundant, and satin party dresses are common with the children (I always wondered what happened to old bridesmaid dresses). But smiles aside, the children are ragged and wearing no shoes or mismatched thongs is the norm. I could go on and on, but again I say thank you to all whose generosity has made this medical mission what it is. Keep in touch! Three more clinics to go.

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