Monday, May 25, 2009


We arrived in Kakamega Kenya on April 8th and secured containers on April 11th. Wow, that a job. The containers we there when we arrived on site at a local school.

After a little bit of drama with unloading we were finally clear to take the containers to the hospital where we could unload. We called ahead and had men waiting to help us unload. BUT due to miscommunication the drivers would not allow us to open the door. Shaelyn a nurse in partnership with HART had other ideas :)

Despite any negotiating the sun was setting and we determined it was too late to start anyway with the sun beginning to set we decided to meet early the next morning to start unloading. The help was sadly dismissed.

The next morning bright and early everyone showed up with smiles on their faces and ready to sweat the day out. It took most of the day to get it all into the room provided by Kakamega
Provincial Hospital. Lots of work but worth the endurance.

At the end of the day we were covered in dirt and had some lines from the beating sun.

There were so many helping hands. In Our Own Quiet Way supported the unpacking as well.

The next day was organization time. We started to get the boxes in order according to the ledger that was created prior to the mission. The only problem was that one entire crate was missing.

By the end of all the shuffling, unpacking, repacking and shifting we found the missing crate and rewrapped the crates once more.

It was nice to be done but we still had a few special instruments to secure off site and complete the contract with the hospital.

The Kenya Broadcasting Company surprised us by showing up and doing a story on our work. We received so much support and phone calls following the interview. People would approach us on the street and thank us for the work we were doing. They were thrilled with the changes that we had brought with us and are looking forward to doing story on us in November of 2009.

Before we flew out of Nairobi we had the opportunity of sitting with the Vice President of Kenya and enjoying a delicious Italian meal. It was quite the icing on the cake. We look forward to a long and progressive relationship with Kenya and its people.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Samburu Tribe

We visited a small private Samburu village, it was one of the most authentic tastes yet. The people were very kind and educating.
This was James, he had been to school, studied and now lives in his village making improvements and helping his people. He was so tall! I kept telling him that Kobe Bryant would soon be done :) he just smiled
The women do all the work- imagine- The huts take 3 weeks to build on average. 
We watched them start a fire with sticks- no stones with sparks. 
Towards the end I saw some of the men practicing their bowing skills away from the village- well being from Idaho I could not resist showing them my "bowing skills". 3 years of watching of my scout brothers, yeah, you better believe I hit the target. They were all laughing and so impressed. It was such a highlight.

Monkey Check

The Zebras were surprisingly chubby. Maybe it's from growing up with horses but obviously the Zebras are not having trouble finding food. The riddle is "Is it a black with white stripes or a white with black stripes "?? now I know but can't relay it, you must find out for yourself.
Getting back one night to the lodges, there was a monkey check. Monkeys stop your vehicle by sitting in front of it and wait until payment is made which consists of nuts or berries. Sometimes they don't even wait for the toss they will kindly jump on your vehicle and wait. They were very playful.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Samburu. il Pejeta. Nakuru. Masai Mara. Lake Naivasha

Satan himself. It's sad because some of the cows were a little unbalanced with the horns. Causing them to walk sideways, what a drunken sight.
The Lions have such an intensity about them. They almost pierce your soul with their eyes yet at the same time see right through you. As if to say I don't care for you but oh am I watching you. incredible and my favorite.
So many elephants. We drove right into a herd of about 40. It was fun to watch the family behavior, siblings teasing, mothers nagging, dads.... eating
This photo I actually caught while they were crossing, although maybe they were going to kiss but got camera shy.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I flew into Nairobi on Sunday morning. Spent the day... updating the blog shmog that was three weeks behind. hey-you do what you can with dial up. That night I stayed at the hotel to eat. Such good food, I was thoroughly enjoying myself until a large, very large man came over and asked to join me. awkward- He was from Pakistan spoke very little english but managed to keep repeating this phrase “ I have two wife’s but need three ” Needless to say I missed dessert. 

Monday morning started at 6:00 am. I met the two other women I would be joining. A mother and her daughter from Phili. We became friends quickly. So we drove out of Nairobi north towards Samburu. We passed through rich agricultural farmland, which looked like someone had copy and pasted The Netherlands, very green smooth fields with flowers. Did not look like Africa. Stopped at the equator had the demonstration of the water, clockwise and counterclockwise. Pretty interesting. Continued to the base of Mt. Kenya with mainly dry scrubland and open Savannah plains. 

We saw some game on the way in to the Lodge, Zebras, Elands and lots of birds. 
Samburu Serena Lodge and Resort is very nice... too nice. You are rolling through the Savannah and then you suddenly drop into a beautiful lush green tropical themed paradise. Most of the staff is decked out in Masai attire. I thought Ogio might appreciate this photo above. 
The monkeys are everywhere. Very playful, tonight one tugged at my pants and wouldn't let go. I had to kick it- not really he let go after a while. They make me smile, the hotel staff with turn on the sprinklers when they are around. One mans pain is another girls pleasure. By the end of the week they will be hanging out at room number 56 :) 
This is a dic dic, they are everywhere in the reserve. Not very shy, about the size of a lab. We saw one head butting another today.
The vervet monkeys are also everywhere. Not a hard species to point out :)
I think the Lions had just finished eating, they were pretty lazy. David, our driver had to lock the doors because I kept trying to get out. 
Notice the bird in the buffalo's nose. wow, how annoying . Or perhaps a luxury, how nice to never have the need to blow your nose. The buffalo were huge! 
The Oryx, after seeing this photo I now know the meaning of "deer in headlights" phrase. They were beautiful. We saw probably 15 of them grouped together and their tails spin like little motors. Funny to watch, they tend to turn from you too. So you just see their white bums, tails shaking. Groovy-

The safari was fun. Tomorrow morning we get up at 6 am to see the early morning sessions. Then we are off to a Samburu village to see locals. After that more game drives.

This whole thing is kind of torturing me. Big fuzzies but no touching-

Home sweet Home

Bishop Stams, the catholic center where I am staying has been busy. Weddings, holidays and more outreach guests. I helped Winnie and Janet ( the two cooks, also my claimed african mothers ) prepare Sunday dinner. Ugali, potatoes, beef and spinach. It was interesting. Ugali is flour mixed, baked and then cooked. And when I say mixed- it is like stirring cement. 

The beef was easy. It is incredible cooking for 100 plus people all by fire. The staff knows hard work. And it's smiles the whole way through, laughing and pausing for occasional tea time.
It's funny how a meal can taste so much better when you help prepare it.

Emily took me to her friend Castro. He works for an NGO but by trade is a potter. Incredible work, he starts showing me some previous work and he pulls out these high end home magazines. He has no idea how good he is. He was very humble and kind. 
He then escorted us to Crying Rock. Which was a good thing because had he not been there we would have been charged. There are many stories regarding the rock but most believe it is Lot from the bible. He was told not look back or he would be turned to stone- hence the large rock. 
I started teasing Castro and his brother Benjamin. " Lot was one BIG guy " They laughed and laughed even harder when I started climbing it. Next year I am bringing my harness and rope. I'll show them.

This goes to show how if there is a will there is a way. The rock the kid is standing on is very narrow. Rises to a point. His balance was incredible. 

Post Mission Update

Things are going well. There are a few hang ups with patients but the majority is outside of HARTs control. So much corruption. Saw Charles, he was all smiles. His two sons joined him in the journey to the hospital. They were eager to tell HART thank you. They had thought for sure their fathers arm would be amputated. A similar thing happened to a friend and amputation was the result. They were shocked to see him after surgery.
Metrine with the arm has had some complications but is also grateful. So much weight was removed. When I interviewed Doctor Kwasa that was one of the famous cases. He mentioned that if someone had not woken up post surgery the record time has been three hours before case closed. He mentioned what an example it was for the doctors and nurses to stay ALL night to save her life. 

The young boy with sickle-cell has had minor infection but the young mother was so grateful for the service.
I think the doctors scared Michelle, as soon as she saw those scrubs coming her way she started crying. But her nails were still painted beautifully. The burns have improved drastically from the dermatone. Her mother was so cute. She had carried such a guilt from the accident. Coming home to a screaming child that had been burnt by sitting on the fire.
So many people say thank you. They keep asking when the american doctors are coming back. And they also mention that the american doctors need to stay for months not one week. Cases keep coming as you can imagine. 

This is two year old Brian from a village south of Kakamega. A canadian couple works at an orphanage by the time they heard about the doctors and made it to the hospital it was too late. But she gave me all and any information that we would need to contact him. She wants Brian to be first in line next year. Looks similar to Metrines case, she said by the end of the day he throws his arms on a desk and just sits because they are so heavy.