Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our Busy Week

Tuesday, November 4
Our morning began with breakfast and devotionals. We split up into 2 teams: one went north from Narok Town to a location at 10,000 feet called Olkaka. We were greeted by the Maasai elders who gave us permission to treat their village. After prayers and blessings to start our day, we setup operations and treated between 400 and 500 children and adults. Many of them had respiratory diseases due to the high altitude. We ended the day singing with the school children, and were then hosted by some local Maasai leaders for supper. The delicious meal included Kenyan delicacies such as goat knuckles, curried vegetables, cabbage, kale and tea.

The second group went to Endonyo Narasha. Our dispensary was set up In a local church. While the kids were waiting in line we kept them entertained by blowing up rubber gloves. They benefited from our lab tests which were able to detect numerous parasites which enabled us to treat them. We took one child to the hospital with a serious respiratory problem. We ended the day rejoined with the other group to debrief and share our experiences.

Wednesday, November 5
We were up early to drive deep into the southern Maasai land. Again our team split and went to Olkainyei and Murua Dikirr. A highlight of the day was our greeting by Maasai school children in traditional dress and song. Both groups were able to treat new mothers with babies with nutritional and medical care. Both of our teams consisted of Kenyan and American partners working together ministering to the Maasai people. We have grown to love and respect each other in this shared ministry. Again this day we served over 500 patients.

Thursday, November 6
Moving even farther into Maasai land, we encountered one of our continuing challenges: the weather and terrain. Each morning we would arise hoping to get to our destination early, only to find that we were stuck in the mud and had to push our vans to our destination. After treating 300 to 400 patients, we ended our day at the Acacia Grove Mission Station in a remote area. Gary and Mary, missionaries from Northern Ireland were our hosts. Gary instructed us not to leave the compound due to wild animals and a resident leopard. We spent the night at the mission, dormitory style, in an all night rainstorm.

Friday November 7
After a very long winding rocky path, the first group arrived at Sienna. As there were no buildings on site, they worked out of their van to provide health care. The nurses treated on the grass; the pharmacists gave out meds from the back of the van. The farther south we went, the children were much sicker. Here the team saw malaria, brucellosis, and pneumonia. On the ride home they had extra passengers, as one of the nurses bought two chickens to take home for dinner. The second team went to a boarding school. They were allowed to fly the Kenya flag because it was Friday, however, also because it was Friday, many of the older women and men had gone to market. They walk many miles with their livestock to sell and then purchase grains for the week. Our MD saw that many of the children had mumps in this area. We were able to provide lots of care to these school-aged children and some spoke enough English to help in the pharmacy. We were all packed and ready to leave when a boy came up to us with blood dripping from his forehead. He had received a rather large gash from a rock that was thrown on the playground. We were able to close the wound and get back on the road, arriving before the rains came. This is supposed to be the short season of rain, but we have certainly had a lot.

By the end of the first week, the doctors and nurses on our two teams had diagnosed and treated over 2,000 patients. The therapists provided education, exercises, and treatment right on the spot to adults and children alike with many varied diagnoses. Our nutritionist gathered groups of children to teach about basic food groups and gave multi-vitamins to all. At every site our pharmacists worked all day formulating the proper meds and using translators to ensure everyone took them properly. Our team is doing very well, we thank you for your support and prayers, and after a busy week, we will enjoy a safari day Saturday at the Masai Mara.