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
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
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.
outside my room at IU House.
Walking on the red dirt path to the hospital
Five IU medical
students and one from Brown.