Monday, July 11, 2011

Jambo! From the Mzungo 6!

Written by Danaiet Teame, Gloria Smith, and Danielle McConnell

We have just finished another jam packed week in Kiirua! We started off the week as per usual in the hospital, Monday and Tuesday. Monday morning started off with a great presentation by Dr. Nthurima on Hypertension. After this, we split up to three different areas of the hospital: maternity, outpatients, and surgical. We are still getting used to the routine and the staff and have much to learn! Many babies are being born everyday, and many more to come with at least 10 pregnant mothers in for checkups.
Wednesday, the dream team (Harrison, Amy, Hannah, Danaiet, Gloria, and Danielle) left St. Teresa in the morning with Jennifer Murogocho destined for two primary schools, Kamukethe and Kinyenjere to do teaching on proper hand washing. We had a great time doing this! The kids were amazing and many of them remembered a tune the students from last year had taught them to sing while washing their hands. The head master at Kamaketha, Henri assisted us in organizing the classes and translating for the younger students. The pipeline to the hand washing station was being repaired so we improvised and filled jugs of water to rinse the students’ hands. At Kinyenjere School, which is about two times the size of Kamukethe, all the teachers warmly welcomed us. We presented to the students at their hand washing station with the help of one of the enthusiastic teacher Charles.
Thursday was spent in the community of Kimirichia doing community outreach with Dorcas, a community worker, and Freedah, a social worker from St. Theresa’s. Back at the compound we were greeted by the Van Leeuwan family and company (Laura and Valerie, two Vet students). It was great to see Canadian faces and to hear all the news from Canada!
Friday, we spent the entire day at Machaka with the children! We spent the morning with the babies, helping with feeding and then we helped serve lunch to the older children. The Van Leeuwan clan joined us for the morning, and was off to Kinyenjere School in the afternoon. We stayed for a generous and delicious lunch with the sisters.
We had a lovely weekend, which was spent mostly with the Van Leeuwan clan. Saturday afternoon we hiked one of the many hills in Kiirua, close to Kinyenjere School, with the guidance of Noel. We had a great view of the Kiirua area from the top, even with the haze of the day. Sunday we were so lucky to be a part of an amazing and generous ceremony that was thrown at Kinyenjere School in honour of the sponsors of the school, which included the Van Leeuwen family, and the youth group that the Van Leeuwan girls are a part of. All teachers, students and their families, as well as the Machui Women’s group collaborated to organize the event and the different groups sang, danced, and even recited a poem for us. Thanks to all of the sponsors, Kinyenjere boasts an increase in student enrolment, an increase in mean national scores, and an improved health status of the students with the provision of milk and the school gardens. We were all so grateful to be a part of the celebration and were humbled by the gifts and meal that were so generously given to us. Though the people at Kinyenjere were so generous and hospitable, it is a very difficult time for the people of Kiirua, as the crops are dry and food and water is sparse.
It was a busy but exciting week in Kiirua. Looking forward to week 4, with a hospital presentation on Monday morning and another two school visits on Wednesday! Stay tuned for next weeks update!

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