Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day Nine - An Advisors View

Today the leadership team had the opportunity to see the clinic for the first time, so Eliud, the Director-cum-healthcare professional, gave us a tour of the site while the youth remained behind at Tindinyo Falls.  There are four buildings.  The main clinic building sees about 100 people a day and is a basic structure.  Although there are printed notices on the bulletin board and a small television in the open-air waiting room carrying local channels, the clinic is simple in the extreme.  Outside is a small incinerator with the chimney rusted away.  The second building was Government-constructed, used for public outreach and immunizations and not yet finished.  Eliud pointed out its deficiencies – cracks in the concrete floor and an overhead wire resting on the metal roof.   Building three was the lab and storage and contained the only onsite pumped water, delivered from two large black ABS tanks via galvanized piping and an impossibly small electric pump.  Building four was the staff quarters, complete with laundry hanging on the bushes, chickens and five-week old puppies. 

The others had an in-depth tour from the medical standpoint, an activity that left Andi visibly shaken.  After that we convened in Eliud’s office to meet the area Magistrate, the regional health coordinator, two nurses and another member of the Kenya planning team.  The scope of the project was discussed, as were planned activities, which included clinical trips to outlying areas.  We were also told our $30K had finally arrived in the Kenyan bank.   Once business was concluded, the smoky and ramshackle clinic kitchen produced lunch, which consisted of beef, rice and a fabulous salad.

After lunch we went to check on progress at the site and arrived just in time to see the big granite stone plummet into the hole.  Further inspection, though, indicated it might be close to surface.  There was a bit of thumping with a sledge to reduce the height, but it rapidly became apparent this would produce little result.  It was resolved to finish the footing layout before deciding the stone’s fate. 

Tour complete, the team hopped into Tom’s rattletrap for a trip to market.  We headed west and stopped along the road to investigate a pile of gravel (hardpack in Kenyan construction language).  The gravel had been chipped from a very large stone outcropping and sorted into piles by size, a huge undertaking.  We soon arrived in Selem, where the Saturday market was in full swing.  We had an extensive shopping list, but found only a few dry goods.  The vegetables, though, were another matter.  They were plentiful and nice.  Of course, six “Mzungus” (whites) piling out of a vehicle in rural Kenya attracted attention.  Undeterred, we plunged into the throng and began business.  Tom did most of the negotiating when it was required, but some items had a fixed price for fixed quantity.  We bought about a bushel of potatoes for 250 shillings ($3.00 CAD), tomatoes, peppers and red onions, as well as a large pot, a couple of dozen spoons, some scrubbies and a scrub brush.  On the way back to the van Kevin had an impulse purchase of a bunch of green bananas, which he carried back to the car on his head (a woman’s task in Kenya).

After our shopping we began the drive back to the resort and, when passing the clinic eastbound, were hit by a very dark thunderstorm.  On arrival at the clinic it was in full swing and we dashed from the van to the lodge.  The youth were gathered on the front porch and informed us the power had been out for two hours.  They had had a good, if repetitive day.

By David

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