Hello from Kenya!

Hello! My name is Roshni Dhoot and I am a rising 2nd (!) year student at IUSM. I am originally from Valparaiso, IN and attended IU-Bloomington for undergrad. This summer, I am spending 8 weeks with AMPATH as a Slemenda Scholar, primarily in Eldoret, but with so many opportunities to visit clinics in surrounding areas and work in the field.

Tomorrow (6/8) will mark two weeks here in Kenya and these past 14 days have been nothing short of amazing. I am spending the first three weeks rotating in AMPATH's many clinics: from medicine and pediatrics to HIV resistance, diabetes, and palliative care. After that, my focus will shift to field research on AMPATH's mobile diagnostic X-ray truck that travels to clinics without imaging capability, to see what issues are preventing the truck from functioning optimally. I actually had the opportunity to observe it in action and talk to several clinicians and engineers involved the project about their opinion and I am really excited to see what I might be able to contribute to such a necessary and innovative initiative.

In addition to being in clinic and out in the field, it has been great to talk to so many amazing people in the field of medicine and especially in global health. At IU House, where I have been staying, people from many different fields (public health researchers, chemists, surgery residents) come and go, but everyone is willing to answer questions about their motivations and career goals. In fact, dinner has become one of my favorite parts of the day because everyone usually stays for 1-2 hours afterward just to talk about their day and any other topics that might come up.

My favorite conversation to have has been about the reason I came to Kenya-to learn about sustainable healthcare systems in developing countries and how I might fit into this extremely complex, important landscape. During undergrad, I became aware of the damage that can be done to developing systems and economies by volunteers who come with the best of intentions, but for short periods of time and without the skills that the community may need. Not wanting to do more harm than good, but still very interested in global health, I wanted to spend some time reconciling my desire to serve abroad with the potential negative impacts of my presence in a community in which I would not reside long-term. Reading Walking Together, Walking Far (a great and short read about AMPATH and its history!) really convinced me that if I wanted to learn about sustainable healthcare, empowering home communities, and what global health really means, AMPATH was the organization with whom to do it. And here I am-not yet having reconciled these seemingly conflicting ideas in my head, but definitely on my way. More on this to come, I hope!

We are also highly encouraged to travel on the weekends and so this weekend, we went to Hell's Gate National Park, Lake Naivasha, and Mount Longonot. Hell's Gate included a very fun bike safari and hike through a gorge and other rock formations. Lake Naivasha was a boat safari which included several species of birds and a few animals (read: hippos!). Finally, Mount Longonot was a five hour hike up to 2780 m (9180 feet) and by far the hardest physical experience I have ever had in my life. See very unglamorous pictures below!



Posted at 06:49


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