Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vets hold a successful “walk-in clinic”

Dr. John VanLeeuwen and the vet group, including Sheila McIver, Jennifer Burns, Shelli Meleck, and Erica Allen, scheduled a “walk-in clinic” for cattle in the Barria Market area near Kiirua from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on February 1, 2009. The intent was for members of the Muchui Women’s Group, and their neighbours, to bring their cattle to the “tick dip facility” where their animals could be examined and treated if they were sick, or simply treated with a dewormer that was donated by Canadian pharmaceutical companies (Merial, Pfizer, Vetoquinol, Wyeth).

When the vet group arrived at the location at 9:30 am, there were already 30 cattle waiting for them. And that was a sign of things to come. By noon, they had already dewormed over 200 cattle and examined 20 sick animals, and word was spreading fast so they just kept coming. They had a great system going, very efficiently moving cattle through the handling facilities, with help from Shauna Mellish, Angus Mellish, Susan MacKinnon, Shaad Olingo, Martin Gikunda and Salomi Ntinyari.

By 1:30 pm, there were at least another 100 cattle waiting for deworming, and they were still coming from every direction, leading the group to start thinking about how they were going to “shut down” the clinic. That is when the dark clouds started rolling in, and so some of the owners started trying to get their cattle dewormed without waiting their turn. This led to some unruly behavior, which spooked the vet group a bit. Then “the blessings” started falling from the heavens, making the decision for the group. In this area of Kenya, the twisty undulating clay roads become very slippery and impassable by vehicle if it starts to rain hard. So the group packed up their things, and told the crowd that they might be back if the rain was not too bad. Well, 1 ½ hours later when the heavy rains stopped, there was no going back. So unfortunately, the late-comers were disappointed. This was a one-day clinic for this area, with training sessions planned for the next day in Thubuku, so the local animal health people would have to take over where the Canadians left off.

The final tally was nearly 300 animals dewormed and 40 sick animals examined and treated. The group felt really good about getting that many animals treated, and about the great camaraderie that developed when working efficiently like a well-oiled machine.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


submitted by Susan MacKinnon

After driving on the roads here in Kenya, it is going to be difficult to complain about the state of roads on PEI. Our combi driver, Clement, refers to them as "free messages".

Although similar in color to PEI soil, it ends there. Kenyan soils are very fine textured and turn to gumbo when wet, and in a very short time can become impassable. Shaad Olingo has been doing a great job of watching the clouds for impending rain and quickly ushering us to the tarmack (paved road). Last Sunday we got caught in a downpour and had an exciting ride on the narrow, rutted, winding road.

Rain or shine there are always people walking along the side of the road – kids going to school, business people going to jobs, and door to door salesmen carrying their goods on their backs. Donkey’s or oxen pull carts filled to overflowing with everything from lumber and milk cans to Napier grass for feed.