Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Cup of Tea

Our day began with a special Canadian celebration of Michael Nash’s birthday. He wore the pretty pink princess birthday crown as Kenyans and Canadians alike sang Happy birthday.  The group made its way to the Shiru clinic, at which time Andi, Jenn, Nash, Eric P, Kristin and Kevin headed off to the day’s outreach clinic in Cheptulu.

Compared to the first outreach clinic, Cheptulu was relatively tame.  It was set up in a small church, with Jenn and Andi having their “examination rooms” in the front behind the altar.  Many patients suffered from a host of conditions untreated for years, so it is hoped our Canadian medical advice was able to provide them with some relief.  There were a few surprises, but most of the day was spent prescribing medications for such things as malaria, heartburn, arthritis, various infections and malnutrition.  One of the patients was recruited as a Swahili translator and proved invaluable.  He was more than happy to assist us, claiming we were there to save them.  Spending his day translating was, he said, the most he could do to repay us.  It was obvious the community was incredibly grateful for our assistance and, together with the Kenyan medical staff, we treated close to 200 people.

Although the contractor said no work would be done today as the concrete footings were fresh and needed time to cure, on arrival we found masons in the trenches.  They were using water levels to judge heights and were preparing to lay the first line of bricks.  As those not at outreach has planned for a day off, we headed off for a factory tour of Mudete Tea.

Mudete is a firm that reputedly grows the best tea in Western Kenya.  Since tea is such an important industry (Kenya is the world’s third largest tea producer) we were unable to take photos of the plant’s interior, but we were able to take photos of ourselves dressed in lab coats and white Mudete baseball hats.  We saw the entire tea making process from tealeaf sprout to teakettle spout. 

After the tour some of us boarded public transportation back to the clinic and had a chance to experience some of the local culture.  Daniel sat beside a female farmer with a basket on her lap.  When it clucked he discovered it contained a live chicken.

After our tour at the tea factory, many of us purchased bulk tea at the factory store (factory window is actually a better description).  As transportation is always tight we split into two groups for lunch.  Half the group ate a restaurant where they tried chapatti with scrambled eggs. The other half of the scouts returned to the clinic for a regular Kenyan lunch of beans, potatoes and warm cabbage, then moved to a nearby public school for an epic game of football (soccer).  The results were a predictable loss with a score of 3:1 for Kenya.

By Krysta and Jamie (with further smart comments by Hannes)

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