Tutaonana

This is my final post for now. I am typing this on my fourth and final flight back to Indianapolis.  33 hours of travel time so far, and only 3 hours of sleep (I don't sleep well on planes).  This veil of drowsiness about me coupled with scenes from the 6 films I saw on the last two flights intruding into my conscience make it rather difficult to think at the moment.  There is only one constant thought, echoing over and over: "Now what?"  Might take just a bit more sleep before I can start to unravel the answer to that question...so I'll come back to it and the end.  I'll start by recapping the last week.

Lake Naivasha, a fresh water lake nestled in the Great Rift Valley, is an incredible place.  We woke up early Saturday morning and hiked up Mount Longonot, a dormant volcano nestled near the lake.  Our fearless guides, Mugo and Joseph, led us 3 km up to the top, 7 km around the crater to a maximum altitude of 2780 meters, and 3 km back down.  It was the most strenuous and perilous hike I've ever experienced.  It was also among the most beautiful. The ashy dirt path was very narrow and often steep enough to require climbing on your hands and knees, deciding whether to lean left towards the deep crater or right towards the edge of the mountain.  The 50 plus group of 10 year old children on a field trip running around us provided a bit of extra motivation.  6 hours later, after helping assist a woman with a sprained ankle down paths as previously mentioned, we were back in the vans.

Immediately after, we grabbed lifejackets and hopped aboard boats to Crescent Island in the middle of the lake.  We spotted quite a few hippos on the way.  Crescent Island is remarkable because we walked through the savannah, amongst the wildlife.  We found ourselves walking alongside giraffes and surrounded by zebras.  The setting sun created silhouettes of acacia trees outlined in front of Mount Longonot.

Sunday morning, we went to Hell's Gate National Park.  We biked through the park to the gorge, passing towering cliffs, bounding impala, and all the other fauna we've come to love.  Then we descended into the Ol-Njorowa Gorge which is fed from hot springs - the stream flowing through it is incredibly warm to the touch.  The gorge is a stunning and surreal environment, enhanced by the opportunity to spend time in locations such as "The Devil's Bedroom".

I have digressed much into our touristy ventures because I want to illustrate how beautiful, unique, and exciting Kenya is.  For us, the weekend trips create an opportunity reset before going back to another week on the wards.  Although throughout this particular weekend, I kept in touch with the intern on my pediatric team.  My 3-month old with a neck mass was supposed to finally have a biopsy performed after a month of waiting. It didn't happen.  He was supposed to get a tracheostomy so he could breathe better. It didn't happen. Not for lack of ENT surgeons willing to do the operation, but for lack of a pediatric ventilator.  MTRH has a catchment area of at least 20 million people.  And they have 5 or 6 ventilators in the ICU depending on which ones are functional.  There are only adult ventilators.  My heart is heavy as this patient, along with many others who I cared for and befriended, are still in that hospital.  It is terrible to leave Kenya, knowing these infants and children are still in the hospital, most of them waiting for some test or trapped in a purgatory where they cannot afford to pay the medical bill so they cannot leave, thus their bill grows and grows.

One of my personal missions this trip was to spend some time with ophthalmology at MTRH.  After many attempts, I finally got my chance this week.  I joined clinic on Monday. Before the first patients arrived, I was surprised to see 15 5th year medical students on the service.  They have a required 3 week rotation in ophthalmology.  I never received any formal training in ophthalmology other than the electives I've taken this past year.  Before the patients arrived, the students gathered in a conference room and one presented on uveitis.  The students were all engaged in the presentation, and I could see that learning from peers works very well in this training model.  When the patients arrived, they all sat on a single long bench in a narrow room, while students sat next to them and asked questions and performed basic visual assessments.  When it came time to present the patients, students lead the patients back into the conference room and the entire team heard the history and exam findings and was part of the discussion of the diagnosis, plan, and reasoning for each patient.  The cases were all age-related cataracts and trauma.

I had to leave clinic on Monday afternoon to give a Sally Test Talk, a medical student presentation and discussion of a health topic with parents of pediatric patients.  I chose to discuss HIV.  I was certainly hesitant to discuss HIV, as it is an incredibly complex topic both medically and socially.  However, I knew previous presenters had been asked about HIV repeatedly following their presentations on different topics. I thought if I was going to be asked about HIV, I might as well be prepared.  I started my presentation by tackling the biggest issue: stigma.  There is still a prevalent perception that individuals with HIV are dirty or immoral. Also that they are doomed to die soon regardless of any treatment.  I told them that many individuals contract HIV from partners who do not disclose or know their HIV status.  If a woman is diagnosed with HIV and takes her antiretroviral medicines (ARV) to keep her viral load down , she can still go to school, she can have sex with her spouse, she can give birth and breastfeed her child, she can live a long and happy live.  I was overjoyed to see women nodding in agreement when a translator said my words in Swahili. I also told counseled them on how to disclose to a child that they or the child has HIV.  It was a terrific discussion, and I am very thankful to the wonderful translator who did a terrific job connecting with the parents. I found out later she has HIV.

Tuesday morning I was in the ophthalmology "operating theatre". I do not want to disclose too many details of what I saw.  Firstly, I have not started my formal ophthalmology training yet and do not understand a lot of what I saw.  Secondly, resources are limited in this medical care and training institution and should not undermine the quality of care given in light of these circumstances.  I saw 3 corneal laceration repairs and 2 cataract extractions.  I learned a lot, and I hope to continue to keep in touch with the ophthalmologists I met as I continue my training.

Wednesday and Thursday were my final two days on the pediatric wards at Shoe 4 Africa.  Previously I wanted to focus on learning medicine - my primary objective.  Now, I figured I'd focus on giving some medicine before I go, so I brought my guitar to the hospital both days.  The Child Life specialists led me into each ward room in the hospital.  I sang "Jambo Bwana" with the children in each room.  I played "Mombasa" by Tommy Emmanuel.  We sang "Peace Like A River".  It was incredible, and you know what the difference playing music with kids in the hospital versus playing music with orphans outside the hospital? Absolutely nothing!  They all sang and danced.

Thursday afternoon, we went to Iten - where the Olympic long distance runners train. At Kerio View, we looked down on the beauty of the Rift Valley.  It was the best lasting final image for my final day in Africa.  We watched rain falling in the valley, and it swept up along the cliffs and we felt the drops splashing welcomingly on our faces.  On the flight to Nairobi, I looked down and saw the sparkling waters of Lake Naivasha, outlining Crescent Island.  This morning I watched the sun rise over the Indianapolis skyline.
 
What now? This is a marathon, not a sprint. I need to maintain the connections I've made with all the wonderful people I've met at MTRH and at AMPATH.
  I will emulate the hard work and compassion I've witnessed in Kenya and into my own practice of medicine, starting with next month where I'll be working in the ICU of the county hospital.  My thoughts still turn to the children waiting in the hospital, and I will not forget them and will continue to work to bring them home. I was there for one month thus far, but a part of me is there for life, rooted in the red earth. Tutaonana - see you later!

 

Tutaonana 1

Group photo at the peak of Longonot Volcano: Indiana, Brown, Toronto, Chicago and Kenya

Tutaonana 2

Crescent Island. Photo credit: Sandra Huynh

Tutaonana 3

Hell's Gate.

Tutaonana 4

Group photo in the ophthalmology operating theatre.

Tutaonana 5

Music with children on my final day in Shoe 4 Africa pediatric hospital.

Tutaonana 6

Rain sweeps through the Great Rift Valley.

Posted at 03:54

This is Africa

I am writing this post in the front seat of a van during a 5 hour drive from Eldoret to Lake Naivasha.  This is the first chance I've had in a while to take a moment to collect my thoughts. Some of these thoughts are difficult to write out, to be honest. 

I lost a 3-month old girl last week. She came in on Thursday with respiratory distress and failure to thrive.  With the help of a Kenyan medical student to translate Swahili, I learned everything about this child.  The village she came from, the history of her birth, every detail about her diet, her developmental milestones.  Then I examined the infant's entire body, including each finger and toe.  She was gasping for air, despite a heavy flow of oxygen through the nasal canula.  I listened to her heart, which was beating furiously. Instead of the usual "lub dub" of the S1 and S2 heart sounds, all I could hear was a constant "shhh", indicating she had heart defects.  The next day during rounds I presented her to the team during rounds.  We discussed and gave her all the supportive care available along with antibiotics.  When I came back on Monday, her bed was empty.  I assumed she must have been discharged, or perhaps was taken to radiology.  I asked the intern. "She didn't make it".  That thought had not even crossed my mind. Children aren't supposed to die.  I really should have learned by now, especially after losing incredibly brave children I helped take care of on the heme/onc floor at Riley back home. I don't think you can ever get over the shock though. I can still hear her heartbeat, and I can still picture her tiny little hands. 

Now I am taking care of a 3-month old boy, also with difficulty breathing.  He has already been in the hospital for a month due to numerous delays in diagnostic testing.  When I expressed my frustration to the intern on my team he said, "This is Africa", a phrase that frankly makes me angry when I hear it. It means there's nothing else to be done. Fortunately there are a team of otolaryngologists here with AMPATH, and once I told them about the infant they did not hesitate to help evaluate and care for my patient.  Seeing physicians from different backgrounds working together towards a common goal is incredibly inspiring. 

On Friday the 12th, I went to the Tumaini Innovation Center with medical students and team members from pharmacy at Purdue.  This is a safe-haven for street youth, and has a mission of giving children and adolescents marketable skills in sustainable farming.  I have been familiar with Tumaini as it is one of the organizations supported by the Annual IU Hunger Banquet hosted by the Global Health Student Interest Group.  I try to take my guitar with me whenever I travel, but never have I found my guitar to be such a source of joy.  Instantly a crowd of children gathered around, and two of the older boys, Nyagah and Joseph, ran and grabbed two guitars donated previously to the center.  The guitars were dusty, old, and missing strings.  Exactly like the first guitar I ever played 17 years ago at summer camp.  I saw in them the same excitement I experienced that day.  I first taught some percussive technique, showing how to hit the guitar in different locations with your fingers and palms to create unique sounds.  Nyagah and Joseph were naturals.  I showed them some basic chords and strumming techniques and soon we were jamming like bandmates.  Maria observantly called us "Guys in Red" (we were all wearing red shirts).  Hard to believe that a couple weeks ago I was raising money for these kids on stage with my guitar in Indianapolis.  Full circle. Before I left I played football with the local children as the sun set.  They were much better than me, even the ones playing with flip flops or barefoot. 

On Saturday we went to Umbrella Falls, 30 minutes away. This waterfall is fed by the Sosiani River, and powers a hydroelectric generator which provides power for half the city of Eldoret.  I recommend this trip to anyone who has an opportunity to visit; you can climb behind the waterfall and the view is spectacular.  On Valentine's Day, we hosted Kenyan medical students at IU House and played a few competitive rounds of "Blood Croquet" (miniature golf with croquet mallets). It was great to spend time together outside the hospital. 

Have you ever made a list of the best moments in your life? I haven't, but somehow I know Wednesday morning would make that list.  I drove with Sarah Ellen Mamlin to three different shelters for orphans, guitar strapped to my shoulders.  First we went to the Amani (Peace) Center.  This center supports children of mothers inflicted or deceased from AIDS.  These children were an absolute joy.  I played some of my original music, played Mombasa by Tommy Emmanuel, sang Jambo Bwana, and we goofed and danced to some of my favorite songs from my songleading days at summer camp.  Titles included "Shake My Sillies Out" and "Peace Like A River". These children are supported through the AMPATH Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program (OVC), which also benefits from Hunger Banquet, which is March 5th. I hope to see you there!
http://www.iusmhungerbanquet.com/
http://www.ampathkenya.org/our-programs/social-health/amani-women's-shelter/  

Next we visited Neema School, where half of the students are orphans. They caught on to the songs incredibly quickly and sang and danced without any inhibition.  It was quite remarkable. Before I left, they sang me a song they had learned. It was about being thankful for what you have in life, and their voices were beautiful.  I was holding back tears.

https://www.facebook.com/Neema-childrens-home-Eldoret-186224768171657/  

Finally, we visited the Leister family home (Also called Tumaini Center).  This family from the United States moved to Eldoret in 2007 and has fostered over 100 children, many of whom received care through the Sally Test Center Moi University.  They are a remarkable family, and we had a fun time singing together.

http://familykeysint.com/horace-and-phyllis-leister/  

On Thursday I visited the Imani (Faith) Worskshop. This workshop creates beautiful artisan crafts ranging from textiles to jewelry to paperwork, and the employees all have HIV.  It is an incredible testament to the strength of these women that they come together to bring such beauty into the world.

http://www.ampathkenya.org/our-programs/family-preservation-initiative/imani-workshop/  

The people here experience so much tragedy in their lives, but they persevere.  Children, men, and women show so much determination when each day brings constant challenges.  I have thought a lot about what this means to me.  I think in our lives we often spend much of our days trying to survive to the next day. Work, finances, health. I know I'm guilty of feeling like I'm hanging by a thread, barely surviving.  Now I have a new perception. Don't survive, thrive.  Find a way, no matter how hard it is, to thrive where you are.  That's what I see here.  From the children and parents in the hospital to the orphans and working men and women in the cities and fields.  They thrive in the face of death.  This is Africa.

 

this is africa 1

 Playing music with children at the Tumaini Innovation Center. I hold the chords, and they strum.

 

This is Africa 2

Football at Tumaini Innovation Center.

 

This is Africa 3

Music at the Amani Center.

 

This is Africa 4

Sarah Ellen Mamlin spends time with children at Neema School.



Posted at 05:59

Upendo 2, Joe, and Nakuru

Jambo! I'm writing this post from IU house while drinking a Tusker. This week has been unbelievable. There is so much I want to document in this blog, so I apologize if it is lengthy. But you'll want to at least scroll down to see the photos!

There are 4 ward teams at the pediatric hospital at Moi University: Tumaini ('Hope' in Swahili) 1 and 2 and Upendo ('Love' in Swahili) 1 and 2.  I am on Upendo 2 Team. My first day was post admission, and the experience was a bit overwhelming. The rounding team is 10-15 strong, represented by medicine, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, social work, etc. I certainly stand out wherever I go in Eldoret. I am one of the only "Mzungus" (white person) in a town of roughly 750,000. Also I seem to be the tallest person in the hospital. The pediatric hospital recently opened and is state-of-the-art for this region; however, here I find myself in a room the size of your average living room, where there are 12 patients and their families in beds with no barriers. Single beds are often occupied by two patients and their parents. Children with malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, cancer….all in the same room.

This is the initial shock. I was expecting it, but there is no way to prepare. Most of these children should be in an intensive care unit, hooked up to monitors, receiving a myriad of medicines and personalized attention. And the barriers become clear quickly: the only CT scanner is down, the medication isn't available, the parents can't afford a test. The list goes on and on. I felt absolutely helpless.

About the medical team. I am ashamed that I assumed beforehand that my education would be superior to the education at Moi University. I thought I would be teaching my medical student counterparts about everything I've learned with the state-of-the-art learning resources I've had access to in the states. I couldn't have been more wrong. The students are brilliant. They are teaching me things I should already know or have forgotten. Granted, this is my first hospital rotation since I took Emergency Medicine six months ago. Taking light electives during interview season really made me rusty.

Medical students at Moi University take six years of medical school, with clinical rotations starting in the third year. I am most impressed with their knowledge of therapy doses. This has been one of my weaknesses, but they are very adept at recommending specific doses, which is even more difficult in pediatrics since doses are weight-based.

I am also awed by the thoroughness of their history-taking. Since many labs and imaging are not possible, every piece of information gleaned from the patient's history is valuable. I am learning to ask questions I would have never considered: Do you live in town or in the country? Is your kitchen inside or outside? What fuel source do you use?  Where do you get drinking water? Do you boil or treat your water? Is your toilet inside or outside? How many rooms does your house have? Do the rooms have windows?

I am glad to have faced these initial challenges. One of the reasons I came here was to be exposed to a different culture and healthcare system. This was not supposed to be easy. Much of what I have learned does not apply here. I came because I think that all health is global health. All human lives matter. And though Kenya is distant from Indiana, the health here affects us. Perhaps some we won't fully realize the connection for a number of years. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and you only have to look at recent headlines concerning Ebola and Zika Virus to see how "those diseases over there" become a problem for our local communities.

The other reason I came was to try to help, even if in a limited way. It's good to say after a week I definitely feel like a valuable member of the team. I have taken leadership over the management of multiple patients. Team members are often very interested in learning how we treat patients in the USA even if such treatments do not exist in Kenya. I have taught fourth year students about physical exam skills.  And I have been handing out those stickers and Pokemon cards that I've had stuffed in my white coat pockets along with my pulse oximeter, stethoscope, reference books, etc.

I must mention a couple other experiences last week. The Dean of the IU School of Medicine, Chair of Surgery, Chair of Medicine, and other IU faculty visited last week. On Wednesday, there was a banquet celebrating the AMPATH consortium and the partnership with Moi University. It was incredible night. There have been many key players in the success of this partnership, but none more than Dr. Mamlin (he prefers to be called Joe). He moved here from Indiana to dedicate his life to fighting the HIV epidemic in Kenya. The details are described in the book, "Walking Together, Walking Far" by Fran Quigley. I got to spend a day with Joe in the AMPATH clinic in Turbo, and small town 45 minutes away.  Joe is something else. We know he's at least 80, but he still dedicates his life to serving his patients. I found myself at ground zero of the fight against HIV, sitting next to Joe behind his desk as patient after patient came through the door. I saw Joe take money out of his wallet for the patients who couldn't afford transportation to their next location. I saw him crack jokes with his patients in fluent Swahili. He translated for me while I filled out antiretroviral and opportunistic infection prophylaxis prescriptions with a big grin on my face. I saw him be one of the coolest physicians I've witnessed.

We spent last weekend at Lake Nakuru Park. It's about a three hour drive from here, and the eight of us had a great time crossing the Equator in our large safari van. The diversity of life and scenery was astounding. I can only compare it the first time diving in a coral reef (my first experience was in Grand Cayman, an undergraduate IU Study Abroad Trip). I was in a landscape I have never seen before. The lions were a highlight, of course. This country is a treasure with so much to offer, and I keep chuckling to myself when I think that I sacrificed a vacation month to be here.

Upendo

Upendo 2 Team rounding the pediatrics wards.

Car

Heading to the Turbo HIV Clinic, squeezed together in the back of Joe's car.
I fit right in, don't you think?

Baboons

We were slightly delayed by traffic while driving to Lake Nakuru Lodge.

lion

Lion sighted! I captured this photo by placing binoculars in front of my iPhone.

Nakuru

Lake Nakuru

Posted at 10:21

Karibu!

Indianapolis to Philadelphia to Doha to Nairobi to Eldoret. Four flights but I made it in one piece! I traveled with fellow IU fourth year medical students, Maria and Whitney, and we joined Jess in Nairobi. I watched three movies on the transatlantic/transeurope flight (I don't sleep well on planes). Each one has a connection to medicine, I think.

The Intern stars Robert de Niro, a retired widower who is hired as an intern for Anne Hathaway, a young businesswoman with a booming online clothing business.  It's a touching film, and de Niro finds success in this venture against all odds because he values service. He always arrives to work early and is the last one to leave. He never hesitates to help solve any problem and is always ready to lend a handkerchief. The same dedication to service is what we strive to be as medical doctors.

The Martian stars Matt Damon, who must survive after being stranded on Mars. Like the red planet, the soil is a deep red color here in Kenya, unlike any shade I've seen. I'm not alone here, but we are on a mission. Like Ares 3 in the film, we are not the first and not the last to travel from the states to learn and serve this community. We are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us for the past 25 years, and are striving achieve new goals.

Inside Out is a Pixar animated film featuring a child's emotions as characters. I was touched by the manner in which the film emphasizes the importance of sadness. Sadness is inherent in healthcare. Often, we want to avoid sadness by setting up distractions. However, as physicians we need to display empathy, and often the best way to show we care is to share in our patient's sadness.

We arrived in Eldoret yesterday evening. I spent a lot of time in LA this past year, and all I can say is LA drivers are nothing compared to Eldoret drivers. I have never seen such aggressive driving. Four cars side-by-side on a two-lane road as they jockey for position.  But we made it to our new home at IU House to an incredible welcome. "Karibu!" with smiles from everyone I met. We felt like celebrities, being the first IU students since the travel ban was imposed last year.

I woke up this morning to calls from at least five species of birds I had never heard before. It was delightful to hear in the month of February. After some orientation and lunch, we went on a tour of the Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) campus. We first walked through a new cancer building which will be absolutely wonderful, offering radiation therapy for the first time to patients in this region. We then visited the AMPATH Centre which is chiefly involved in care of patients infected with HIV.  We also visited the adult medicine wards, laboratories, dialysis room, emergency department, outpatient center, radiology building, and children's hospital. It is impossible not to be moved in this setting.  Patients and family members lay in the grass outside.  Limited space. Nurses lifted a patient in a wheel chair over steps because there is no ramp.  Multiple patients per bed. The only CT scanner is down. Seeing "OS" written all over medicine order sheets. "OS" is "out of stock."  Only 5 ventilators in the ICU. Resources are scarce, but even while taking a tour, you can appreciate the magic that happens here. People coming together to help patients recover against all odds.

I can't wait to get started tomorrow.

 

gardens 2

Beautiful garden outside my room at IU House.

walking 2

Walking on the red dirt path to the hospital campus.

TB clinic 2

Tuberculosis clinic.

IU students 2

Five IU medical students and one from Brown.


Posted at 09:40

Preparing to take flight

Before I commence, a brief introduction.  I'm Adam from Indianapolis.  I majored in Classical Guitar Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In my spare time I play shows and upload Youtube videos (8 million+ views now). I'm now a 4th year medical student at IU, and just a couple weeks ago I learned I will continue my training at IU for ophthalmology residency!  I've been the Global Health Student Interest Group Fundraising Chair for the past two years. It's been a terrific experience to get to know classmates who have a similar passion for global health.

After my 1st year of medical school, I spent a month on a volunteer medical trip in El Salvador with the IU ENLACE Program partnered with CoCoDa. I lived with a host family in a village called Aguacayo, which is next to the beautiful town of Suchitoto, nestled on a lake called Lago Suchitlan.  This experience confirmed my love for experiencing new cultures and providing help where there are limited resources.

This past year has truly been a roller coaster. Last February I was accepted to the AMPATH Kenya elective. I was thrilled. Then the trip was canceled following the terrorist attack at Garissa University.  This was a huge blow to my classmates and I who have looked forward to possibly participating in this experience during our medical school career.  Fortunately I was able to join a 4th year elective with ENLACE in El Salvador. Then this trip was moved to Nicaragua due to increased gang violence. I was crushed and my host family is frequently in my thoughts.  Then the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health declined our application, and the trip was completely canceled.  By a twist of fate, the AMPATH elective was reopened a couple weeks later.  I had petitioned along with my classmates, and I think our voice helped shaped the decision from above.  So the moral of the story is, it is difficult to study abroad.  And it remains a fact that the people who need the most help happened to live in areas of turmoil.

Now, I was very well prepared for El Salvador.  I minored in Spanish, so I had a moderate grasp of the language and knew much about Latin American culture from many of my classes.  This time….totally different story.  In the span of about two weeks I signed and uploaded all my forms, booked my flights, received my onslaught of vaccines. Now I'm packing, and getting ready to leave in two days. To Africa.

Africa!  I know very little about Africa.  I learned the locations of all the countries in 7th grade (I have since forgotten).  In 8th grade, I read Kaffir Boy, a book which exposed me to racism in apartheid South Africa.  In college, I went on a trip to Israel and we hiked mountains in Eilat where we could see Egypt in the distance.

In the past couple days, I have spent a lot of time learning about the history of Kenya from resources I've found online.  The amount of change in just the past decade is absolutely astounding.  I also searched "Africa" on Netflix and discovered "Wildest Africa," a nature documentary series.  One episode highlighted the climate and biology of Mount Kenya, and the other that of Lake Turkana.  Both regions are undergoing rapid climate change, which glaciers receding on Mount Kenya and Lake Turkana diminishing by 30cm.  These diminishing sources of water have a profound impact on the delicate ecosystems, and on the tribes that live in these harsh climates: the Kikuyu Tribe at Mount Kenya and the El-Moro tribe at Lake Turkana.

Unfortunately, I am only able to stay for one month because I have my Medicine sub-I rotation in March and Radiology in April.  I chose to spend my time in pediatrics.  I am specifically interested pursuing a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship after residency.  I hope I can spend a day or two with ophthalmologist as well during my trip.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I can bring during my trip.  I'm bringing all of my medical gear and plan to stuff my pockets for the wards.  And I'm bringing games and toys for the kids. 

toys

For the kids. I've always wanted an excuse to buy Pokemon cards.

I'm also bringing my trusty Taylor GS Mini Guitar. It's a travel-size guitar which fits in overhead compartments on airplanes.  Though I have much to learn about the culture in Kenya, there is one thing I already know: music is a big part of their lives.  I hope my guitar can offer a connection.  I already started learning a few fun songs specifically for this trip:

Hello by Adele in Swahili: https://youtu.be/Bso4F_yp-i4

Jambo Bwana: https://youtu.be/vUrVeRGo5IM

Hakuna Matata from the Lion King: https://youtu.be/xB5ceAruYrI

Africa by Toto: https://youtu.be/FTQbiNvZqaY

Africa by Andy McKee: https://youtu.be/KHFcg1Bg83w

Mombasa by Tommy Emmanuel: https://youtu.be/-k8EQ1aPzcw

Those last two are going to take a lot of practice….

Honestly, the best way to prepare for me was to get a head start on building my connection to Eldoret.  On Thursday, my bandmate Tyler and I performed a fundraiser concert at TwoDEEP Brewing Co. here in Indy to benefit Hunger Banquet, which raises money for the AMPATH and Tumaini Orphan Programs.  We had a great crowd and the show was a huge success, raising $294. If you don't have your tickets already, go to iusmhungerbanquet.com to save your spot and join us on March 5th!

I hope this next month challenges me. I know will see poverty and suffering unlike what I have witnessed before. I will be frustrated I'm sure at the lack of help I will be able to provide.  If I can spread a little hope and joy, I will be happy and inspired beyond measure.

I am so excited and can't wait to post from Kenya!


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
-Marcel Proust

twodeep

Soundchecking for our AMPATH Hunger Banquet Fundraiser at TwoDEEP Brewing Co.

 

 

Posted at 05:00

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