The following article is by Kathleen Mitchell and Nora Fleming
Hi everyone! This blog is a joint effort between Kathleen Mitchell and Nora Fleming, we both worked in the medical clinic for the past two weeks so we’ve had pretty similar experiences.
Kathleen was working as a nurse and I was working as the clinic supervisor, with the help of three other amazing Canadian nurses and our team leader, Kathy Murphy.
Today we found out the clinics this year surpassed all the other clinics with the amount of patients we saw. In total we saw 6,464 patients! In dental we saw 1,500 patients, in vision we saw 2,000 patients, and in medical we saw 3,500 patients!!!
Working in the clinics (especially medical) you see a lot of pretty heartbreaking stuff. Little old ladies with horrible elephantitis in their feet, children who are really sick and malnourished, people who have been disfigured from diseases and fires, and infected and painful wounds (to name a few).
Despite all the pain and suffering the patients face, they are still so happy and friendly and incredibly grateful for the help that we can offer. All the patients arrive to the clinics in their best clothes, the men are in suits, the women are in beautiful dresses, and the children are in their favourite clothes (the young girls usually come in their princess dresses).
It is really touching to see how content the patients are with how very little they have, and I think we have all found this experience very humbling.
Over the last two weeks a few of the team members have become very close to a particular local, or have been touched by a local's story, and have decided to sponsor some children. Being here we have been able to see where the sponsor money goes, and all of the positive opportunities it creates for the child and the community. Many of the team members have gone on trips to a sponsor child’s home, over the past two days, and almost everyone has commented on how incredibly little the families have.
Many of the families have five or six people living in a shack that would be smaller than most of our bedrooms in Canada. We really have no idea how fortunate we all are.
Today Kathleen and I had the opportunity to go into Meru and meet a man named Fred. Fred works with Kathleen’s uncle, Bruce Garrity, to get youths off the street and into schools. Together they have helped 25 street children return to their homes.
We also met Anne, who runs a home for orphaned, abandoned, or street children. We got to visit the home, and hear about how it runs and functions (all on donations). Anne is a beautiful woman with a passion for helping others, and she refers to herself as the children’s Grandmother. It was a great way to end our time in Meru County.
We’ve switched to vacation mode now, and we’re all excited for the weekend. Ted has kept our plans a secret; all we know is that we leave Saturday morning for Nairobi. We’re hoping the surprise involves elephants!
Lala Salama! (Goodnight!)
Nora & Kathleen