Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Update of my life in Kenya

Ok people I am so sorry that is has been almost 6 months since I have posted anything on my blog. For some reason I am really bad at this and for a while the blogspot would not work on my computer. But now I have gotten it back working and I am going to try to be much better at this and do it every month. I said I will try! Anyway I am going to just give you a run down of the last 6 months- short and sweet (kinda). So here goes
November- I finished up my Community needs assessment and started to try to find the out exactly what projects my organization wanted to do. This was very hard because they want to do everything but they do not have funds or enough time for all this. I tried to tell them to focus their efforts but this has been a hard concept to get across. Another thing I did in Nov. was my organization (Kuywa Primary Health Care- KPHC) wanted a meeting place and since there was a nice room only being used for storing of very old and not really useful things I suggested that this room that is on my hospital compound be used. They agreed and we cleaned it up and now we have a meeting room! The pic below is us cleaning our meeting room. If you can see in the picture my co-worker Irene really loves my bike helmet and wears it everywhere.
December- I started out December with Inservice Training (IST). IST is two weeks of training where we learn about numerous things that we can hopefully take back to site and use in some projects. The best part of IST is seeing the other volunteers that we had not seen for three months since Pre-service training (PST). It was so good seeing everyone and to learn about what they are doing at site. I also went to Hell's Gate gorge. It is beautiful! We had to bike ride about 30 mins to the gorge and then we started the hike. It was amazing. They also said that this is the place that the Lion King's sketches were done and some other movies had been filmed there as well. We could not got to the hot springs because it was raining and there were going to be flash flood. It is very dangerous if you get caught in the gorge during this. Oh and what a flash flood it was- see pic below! But I have to say that this was one of the best days in Kenya that I had thus far. The rest of IST was good, with good food, football, volleyball, drinking, and oh yeah learning...lol Then I went back to site and it was about time for my bday. My neighbor Breezie and I went to hike Mt. Elgon which was a long but great hike. She also got me some chips and wine for my bday present. Also in December I had a sports day that was very successful. We started the day with talks, songs, skits, dances that were all about HIV/AIDS. Then we progressed to the sports- volleyball, football (soccer) and handball. All was a success but some people were upset that there were no refreshments or prizes. It made me a bit upset that people can't just come to an event. They always expect something for them going. Lastly in December I celebrated xmas at my friends Hannah's house. Hannah's house is like a mansion with running water, flushing toilets, a gazebo and a river close by. Good to be with friends on the holiday. Some pics of the December adventures below.

January- So I started out this month going to a fellow PCV's site on an island for NYE! We celebrated with food, drinks, a bonfire and a trip to a secluded island. It was a great way to get away and celebrate the new year. During this trip I killed a chicken for the first time. As a matter of fact that was the first thing that I ever killed- EVER. I know if you know my family that may be surprising but I guess I did not follow the Storm's way for the killing of the  animals. After the NYE celebration I went back to site and planted some maringa trees. These trees are very nutritious and can be used for a food source for a very long time. I planted these trees at all of the schools I work at - 7 in total. Then I started a few health clubs teaching life skills. These clubs are voluntary and I discuss health topics such as HIV/AIDS, healthy relationships, sex, and a whole bunch of other things. The students love it because they don't have a lot of options to get this type of education. It is a bit challenging but I really love to teach, never thought I would say that.

February- This month I continued to teach lifeskills to which I am truly amazed at how little the students know about sex and the consequences that go with it. In Kenya it is thought if you start to talk about sex then the students will start to have a lot of it. Well I just want them to know they are already having a lot of sex!! I have a anonymous question box and you should here some of the questions I get. It's sad and I just hope that over the next two years I can have a little impact on sex education in the schools. During this month I saw a baby get born. It was so amazing and extremely simple. No monitors, no IV's just a medal piece of equipment that looks like a very small megaphone that the nurse using to hear the fetal heart rate. I tried it and it was so hard to hear. They just let the mother labor for as long as they think is healthy and then once the mother is ready she pushes and here comes the baby. After the birth the baby was not breathing very good and I was looking around for all the medical supplies I might need. They did have one ambu bag but it was so dusty and on the top shelf I was sure it had never been used. They just flicked the baby in the head about 10 times and shook it and it started crying. It was still a little blue but they were satisfied it would be ok. After about 2 hours after giving birth the baby and the mother are sent home on a motorcycle to go about their rest of the day. It was so interesting to see a birth in a such different circumstances. I am so glad that if I ever have a baby (which I really do not want to) that I have all the medical advancements, however I just couldn't get myself to stop thinking that America really needs to simplify some things. Well I ended the month attending an eye clinic. It was put on by Breezie's organization. They did over 50 eye surgeries that only cost about $10 to do cataract surgeries!

March- I started this month off with International women's day where we had a sports day again. This time we discussed women's issues and then played sports. My team won the 1st place trophy for volleyball! I also identified 5 people in my village that need wheelchairs since i found an organization that was giving them away. These 5 people, 3 of which were children, crawled around to get from place to place. Two out of the three students were not allowed to come to school because they were to heavy to by carried from place to place. Now with the new wheelchairs the students can go back to school. They were so excited for the wheelchairs! I also celebrated St. Patty's day where I went and met some other PCV's at a pool where we ate good food and drank some beer (unfortunately it was not green). Then at the end of the month I attended PST training planning. This was a 4 day workshop that took place in Nairobi with the PC admin to help plan the new PST training for the new volunteers coming in June. I can't believe that I have almost been in Kenya for 1 year. It is crazy. It felt good knowing that what some of us said will be Incorporated into the training. 

April- Now it brings us to April. April has been a big month for me. I have started my research project through GW to identify the jiggers problem in my village. Jiggers is a horrible neglected tropical disease that affects several individuals in my village. It is a flea that burrows into the skin and then leaves an ulcer after laying it's eggs. Throughout time more and more infestation happens. It can lead to ulcers, infection, tetanus, trouble walking, school absentee, work absentee, and even death. My hope is use this research to get funding for jiggers eradication. I am starting the funding for this through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. It is a program that lets the PCV choose who they want to have donate from the US (ex- former employers, groups, individuals, etc) and they raise money to help fund the project. The other part of April has all been fun. We went white water rafting on the Nile River in Uganda and I also went Bungee jumping. It was so scary but so fun. My friend Cara also came to visit during this time. She really got the village life- she helped catch rainwater for doing laundry, had a couple nights without electricity, no fridge, real hectic transport and hiking the slopes of Mt. Kenya. I really enjoyed having someone from home share this experience with me. I really miss having her as my roommate.

So this brings me to the present. Again sorry for the delay and I hope that I will be better at this blog. I am going to try to blog once a month. We will see. Also check out my FB pics and video of my bungee jump. Miss you all 

Love from Kenya