Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Day 3: Amos and seeing the Hospital in Action

Another early start to the day and we pop into town to see the local area.  

Same friendly welcome from all the people we meet on the road walking. The area is unfortunately rather uncared for with rubbish along the side of the road and rundown buildings – it is clearly very poor.  However in contrast the shops are well stocked and the fabric shop in particular is busy. 

We have the privilege of visting Amos’ house, he is one of the guards at the compound where we’re staying.  He is very excited for us to be visiting him and his wife at their home.

The house is more of a hut, two rooms.  It is timber framed with horizontal braces covered with mud.  The walls are approximately 8” thick and the roof corrugated iron.  Apart from the roof, door and fittings the house is made from natural local materials with almost no expense – in fact Amos built the house with his bare hands with the help of another ‘Fundi’ local tradesman.

Amos introduced us to his wife Kendrick who gave us a very warm welcome.  We brought with us as gifts, tea, sugar and a Buckingham Palace shaped tin filled with fudge which he took a picture of!  They were both very grateful which is lovely to see.

Kendrick shows us how to cook ground nuts (peanuts) with just water and salt which were the best we’ve ever tasted – warm and fresh...yum!  Apart from Gary who doesn’t like nuts!

We talk about their life and their children who they’re very proud to have in a private school – no more than 30 to a class.  Public primary schools have 100+ pupils per teacher.

The kids (5 and 7 years) start school at 7.30am and have to walk a kilometre to get there…on their own.  They have “no fear” of walking on their own, it is very safe.

In comparison, Immo our driver had to walk 10km to school when he was a child which he ran there and back every day for a 7.30am start!  We don’t know how lucky we are, that’s 20km a day, 100km a week which is amazing.

They tell us a little about Kenya and that there are 42 tribes in Kenya all with a different language and different dialects within that.

We take a look around Amos’ garden vegetable plot about 100m away.  Passing other mud hut neighbours, small children came out and had a face of horror! We waved and they were unsure of us.  We later learned that we were probably the first white people they had ever seen!! We asked ourselves how many English people had ever been to this spot.  It is so remote it might as well have been a different planet!

Amos told us he had always wanted visitors to his house and had prayed for many years for visitors to come.  We showed him pictures of our families, I had a photo of my house and thought “I can not show him this”, he has nothing; mud walls made it very dark inside, one tiny window, no decorations just two old photographs of the children on the wall.  

Speaking to the rest of the team and Kensa it was decided it would be ok to show Amos the photo as he was interested in knowing about us and how we live.  

So with embarrassment I showed him the photograph.  He was very interested and said it looked nice but would not want to live in it.  He likes his house, he built it and could not live anywhere else.  

He grows everything he needs; bananas, coffee beans were grown to sell and he gave me some coffee beans off the tree as a present to take home, such a lovely family.

On to the hospital to continue our decorating.  Just before we start our painting, I get the nod that I can pop in and watch one of the operations.  So with no hesitation (!) I set off to the operating theatre, put on theatre trousers and top, head net and face mask, cleaned my hands changed my shoes and went in.

A little boy called Gift who is 14 months was on the table with a bad cleft lip.  He could not eat properly which meant that he could die as he would be malnourished plus it was very unsightly.  

I watch Tony perform surgery on this young boy using equipment and lights, monitors all provided by Brewers.  It made me very proud to be part of such a great company that not only provided the hospital with the equipment but has sent me over to help in the next project, the eye treatment surgery.  I was able to follow Gift's treatment all the way to recovery.  

He did not seem very happy when he came round,but I know in future years that he will be grateful of the work carried out today with no cost to his family.  Smile Train funds the operation, provides the team and pays DMH for the use of the facilities.

Gift fixed, I went back to the project!  Painted some more cupboards, grouted the floor and then returned back to the guest house for a dinner of rice and beans and bananas.

The Smile Train guys invited us to join them to have coffee and chocolate with them, we had a lovely evening talking about the day.  These people, some of Britain’s best medics in this field are just down to earth lovely people.  It is a complete honour to be in their company.

Signing off

Colin (and the team!)

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