Saturday, July 30, 2011
Accessibility at its finest!
Written by Danaiet Teame, Gloria Smith and Danielle McConnell
We have returned back to Kiiura safe and sound after spending an amazing five days with Danaiet’s family in her homeland Ethiopia. We started off the week at the hospital and had an exciting day in the OR on Tuesday. All three of us had the amazing opportunity to take part in the birth of twins. The mother delivered by caesarian birth and we each had a role, two receiving the babies and one scrubbing into the surgery. The result was two beautiful healthy babies, one boy and one girl. This was something that was exciting to us, as none of us had taken part in the delivery of twins and we were each able to contribute.
On Wednesday, the dream team Harrison, Danielle, Danaiet and Gloria headed to Kiiura Boys and Kiiura Girls Schools to share our knowledge through education sessions. Edwin the new Horticulturalist recently hired with Farmer’s Helping Farmer’s became part of the dream team as he joined into our presentations and was introduced to the schools. We arrived at Kiiura Boys in the morning to find that only form 3 and 4 were present. Form 1 and 2 had been sent home early for the year due to a food shortage at the school as a result of the drought and food crisis happening here in Eastern Africa. We taught on the subjects of malaria and hand washing and were told that we only had 30 minutes to complete our teaching before the boys had their morning break. Two hours later we had to cut the boys off from asking questions because we had to make it to Kiiura Girls School before the end of the day. The boys were very eager to learn, not just about malaria and hand washing, but asked us questions on every possible health related topic, such as nose bleeds, heat attacks, chemotherapy, BMI, and genetically engineered food. We were very thankful to have Edwin and Harrison as part of our team as some of the questions were related to their field of study and together we were able to answer all the questions they had. After arranging another education session with the boys in September, we made our way to Kiiura Girls. There we were surprised to see that over half the school consisted of boys from Kiiura Boys School. A recent fire at Kiiura Boys limited the space available and the boys were moved to Kiiura Girls to learn for the remainder of the school year. We taught both the boys and girls on malaria before having girl talk and teaching menstruation with the girls. We also inquired with the girls about the reusable sanitary pads that they received the previous year from Farmer’s Helping Farmer’s. The girls were all very pleased with the pads, as they are able to attend school and not miss any time when it is that time of the month.
Thursday the three of us took off to the community of Machaka, along with Dorcas and Freeda from St. Teresa’s Hospital to do HIV outreach. We met up with Dennis, a nurse at the Machaka clinic before beginning our journey into the community. Dennis was a great help as he is well known and familiar with most of the faces in the community. The day was spent educating then testing people for HIV with a simple blood test. As we were making our way back to Kiiura we were met by some locals in the community who wanted education on HIV. Dorcas did a wonderful job providing education in Swahili and drew quite the crowd, as more and more people joined. They then wanted to be tested for HIV and although we didn’t have enough test kits left to test everyone, we set up a station in the middle of a field. At the end of the day we felt like we finally understood the meaning of accessible and health promotive health care. We were amazed at the accessibility to the education and testing that we were able to provide, and our ability to be versatile was evident when we set up our mini testing clinic in a field with goats.