So I know it’s been awhile since I last blogged so here is what I was doing in October, November and December. I started the month with my students participating in a Math and Science competition. We actually won! Each of the three students received 5000 shillings apiece, which paid for their school fees for that semester. I was so proud that my students won. Then I also continued the letter exchange I have between my primary schools here in Kenya and 2 3rd grade classes back in America. Thanks to Amy Pinter for continuing to be a par to of this exchange program. Then of course at the end of October we celebrated Halloween. I went to Cabernet where one of the new public health volunteers lives. I did not have the vacation time or the money to go to the coast to celebrate with my class so I joined in with the new public health crew. It was good to get to know the new group. I was part of the teenage mutant ninja turtles- Michelangelo.
Then it was November, which was a very busy month for me. First we started out the month with a Men’s Appreciation Sports Day. We had done this before with Women’s Day and it was a success so we did one for the men. We had the men/boys play sports and then after had a session about men’s health problems like STI’s, condom use, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. It was good to see all the men really interested in what we had to say. And they were silent during the condom demos. But I know they were very interested! This is a picture of me doing push ups with my team before they played handball.
Then a couple of girls and I celebrated Thanksgiving in a bigger “town” called Bungoma. It was not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but it was pretty tasty. Then it was on to my big jiggers day event. This project has been my big project since coming to site. During my needs assessment I identified that jiggers (which is a small flea that penetrates your feet and if left untreated can cause swelling, infection, loss of toenails and even auto amputation) was a problem in my community. Then I conducted a research project for my Masters program and then finally I raised enough money to treat 100 people for jiggers. On November 24th my organization along with some other Peace Corps Volunteers heading for Buyanji village to treat 100 people for jiggers. One of the workers for Ahadi Kenya Trust (the anti-jigger campaign) came to my site to help with the event. We first did a demonstration on how to treat so everyone knew what to expect. Then we continued to treat about 150 people for jiggers. This was a great experience for me. It was the first event that I had organized and helping this many people just made me feel great. Everyone was so cooperative and excited for the day. It was truly an amazing event and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Kuywa Primary Health care (my organization I work with) and the Peace Corps volunteers that volunteered to help. Thanks to all. Below are a few pics of the event. I posted a lot more on my FB page so take a look.
Then it was on to December, which was another busy month. First we had to fumigate the homes of the participants that we had treated at the outreach. We had treated the individual but the jigger flea lives in the soil. So to really have an impact on curing the participants of jiggers you must fumigate the home. This was a long task since we had to
personally go to 40 homes.
Then after fumigating was complete, I had gotten Soles4Souls to donate 100 pair of shoes to me for my jiggers patients. So after a 2-week regimen of treatment and fumigation, we had another outreach where we gave away shoes to all the participants. It was in December and I felt like I was Santa! It was amazing. Here is a pic of the event.
Then after all my “hard work” with my jiggers projects it was time to celebrate. First with my birthday, then on to Christmas and New Years. For my birthday a couple of my fellow volunteers first took a hike around my site where there are waterfalls and caves and then we went to Bungoma again and celebrated pool side and went out for some drinks.
Last year in my twenties! Yikes!
Then it was off for the real vacation. First hiking Mt. Kenya, which is the 2nd highest in Africa. This was such and amazing experience for me. I can say it was the most physical draining thing I think I have done. It was a five-day adventure. We started with day one by hiking a short distance to the first lodge. Then the second day we had a long trek upward to the mountains base. This was a long day but it was beautiful scenery- streams, plant and animal life that I had only seen in books or zoos, and just the feeling of being one with nature (I know cheesy but it was a great feeling). Then the 3rd day was acclimation day. This is where we go up to a higher altitude to get our bodies use to the height and then come back down to base. During this time 2 of our 7 people got altitude sickness. This was a good thing so we could get them ready with rest, pills, water etc so they could make it to the top- which we all did! Then the 4thday was summit day. We started at 3am and summated at about 7am with the sunrise it was so amazing. Once we were almost to the top we could not go more than 5 feet without stopping to catch our breath. The view was amazing. I found out a lot of stuff about myself during this trip. The most important is the mental aspect, which was the most crucial. I was determined to make it up and I did.
Then after Mt. Kenya it was time for some R&R! We were going to the beach. Our first stop was Kilifi. We stayed at an awesome place called Distant Relatives Eco Lodge. It was a great place to relax. It was such a cool place. Everything was Eco Friendly and just being next to the ocean made me feel great. Then we went to Lamu, which is a very historical island. It was amazing. I got to have seafood, take a beautiful boat ride including seeing the ruins of another island, swimming in the Indian ocean, getting traditional henna, and shopping for beautiful fabrics. It was so great. I miss living by the ocean and just getting to vacation whenever I felt like it. See my FB albums for more pics. Pics were very hard to upload on here. Now I am back at site and having a hard time adjusting back to the village life. I know it is just a phase and I will be out of it soon. In the next couple of months I plan to do another jiggers outreach, celebrate some birthdays and hopefully watch the Superbowl. Well thanks for reading this and I just want to say I miss all of you so much and I hope you had an amazing holiday season and I wish you the best in 2013. And remember I come home this year so start the coming home planning…lol
Sending Love from Kenya