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