Monday, September 26, 2011

Settling In

Well I thought I would update you guys since I have not written a blog post for a while. Well I am getting settled in to my new site here in Kimelewa. I really like the people and I have met a lot of groups, done a lot of house-to-house interviews, and met with a lot of community leaders. Once I have met with all that I need to meet with I am then going to do focus groups to get more of a sense of the community and the interested health topics and also what they would like to get started on after I present my community needs assessment to them. I also have done an outreach where we went to a remote location in our community so that people that are not close to the hospital can get medical treatment and vaccinations. It was pretty interesting and the staff members said that since I was there, there was a better show because a white person was in the neighborhood. Sometimes I feel like a celebrity. It gets old though. Also today I got to do clinical work. I was registering patients for antenatal care and well baby checkups. I also got to weigh the babies and mothers and take blood pressures! It made me miss nursing just a little. They wanted me to do more like giving injections or taking blood but since I am functioning under a public health volunteer I can't do these procedures. They understood after I told them the reason but was confused since I could do it in the US. Well my everyday life has gotten better I got Internet, electricity and my doors and windows fixed. Just need the plumbing, painting and ceilings fixed but it is coming along. I have been playing volleyball with the neighbor girls, well if that is what we want to call We play with a small ball and play over my clothes line. Resourceful right? I also have been spending my weekends away or with Breezie. Breezie is my closet neighboring Peace Corps Volunteer. We have spent the night at each other’s houses and cooked good meals. Then this last weekend we went to the Kakamega Forest where I drank a little too much, ate great food sent from America, hiked in a beautiful forest, swam in the river, and watched the sunset from a cliff. Great weekend :) Some funny stories from the past couple weeks. I had a huge fuzzy caterpillar on my leg and I totally freaked out and the neighbors thought I had gotten hurt. It was a good 3 inches long and super scary looking :( I have been caught in the rain so many times I can't even count. It's just a way of life oh Africa :) I have been catching my rainwater to do my laundry and other stuff. It is hard work because you have to find a spot where the roof is kind broken or the gutter stops and there is more water coming out of this. Then you wait until your bucket fills up and then I have to take back this 20L bucket of water a good 20 yards to my house and then do it all over again. But I have to do it as fast as I can because the rains only last 30-40 mins. It's pretty funny with all the neighbors doing the same thing. But of course they have bigger buckets so they don't make as many trips and they make it look a lot easier than me. I am missing America though, especially because of football season. I cannot get the games on this Internet because it is too slow. It is killing me not to be able to go watch the games. Bryan has been so sweet and updates me during the game. But of course it’s at night since we are so far ahead in time. I also miss all my friends and family. And thank you to the ones that have sent or are sending a care packages. I hope all of you are doing great. And Congrats to my friend Katherine for getting married this past weekend. Well until next time. Love and miss you all so much. Love from Kenya, Joy

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First couple weeks at site

Hello everyone,
Well I am now at my site of Kemelewa which is close to Chwele. It is very small and in the middle of nowhere, I guess I wanted this right??? Well to start I have a pretty good size apartment however there is a bit of housing issues such as some broken windows, locks, etc. However hopefully this will get fixed soon. I hope to paint my place but with a peace corps budget it will be a long process but I have two years. I am across from the Primary health care facility and I am in the staff housing. One thing I am going to have to get use to is the 30min bike ride up hill back to my place. Over the last two weeks I have seen myself improve but I am still out of breath once I arrive at the top. Oh I have got caught in the rain 3 times so far because it rains almost everyday! Good thing I brought rain boots from home they have come in handy. Other than the rain the weather has been pretty good, very nice, sunny and the place is very green with a lot of hills and Mt. Elgon in the background. Its pretty:) Thus far I have met with the village and sub location leaders to explain who and what I am doing here. They seem very excited to have me. Also I have done some house-to-house interviews to see the needs of the community and this has really opened my eyes to the difference in lifestyles here in Kenya. Like the US there are homes in poverty and better off families in the same village, however I think this is more dramatic here in Kenya. Also I have seen the disease that we only talk about in the US such as elphantitis, jiggers, and severe malnutrition. It has been very humbling to say the least however I am excited to try to better the lives in the village and community I will be serving. Over the next three months I am going to be doing a needs assessment and then present this to my community as well as Peace Corps. After that I will start to prioritize the problems and get to work. I am excited and I hope I can at least make a small difference in someone's life.

For those of you that has texted, emailed, or facebooked about packages I have a new address.
Joy Storm
PO 188
Kimilili, Kenya 50204
You can send anything you would like but here are some suggestions: Anything for a new apt since I just moved in like utensils, rugs, candles, posters, picture frames etc. Also any food like granola bars, candy(sour), chips etc. I will be very grateful and love to get packages. Its like Christmas when you are a kid.

Well I hope all of you are well and I miss all of you. Oh I am an aunt again too:) YEAH

Love always,