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

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