Monday, March 26, 2012

10 Things You Didn't Know about Kenya

1. There is a high demand for winter coats. To us munzungus, the weather here is hot with pleasantly cool mornings. Well, to Kenyans, this season is freezing in the morning. You will frequently see them wearing large coats when it is 80 outside. It's pretty much hilarious.

2. Africans don't all live in huts. In fact, Eldoret is a pretty "rich" town. Very dirty, dusty, but for Africa rich meaning lots of stores, people, restaurants, etc. You would have to be here a while to appreciate it. There are rich Kenyans. They drive benz's and wear fancy clothing. The Masai people do live in huts made of cow dung. The women  make the huts!

3. Goats and Cows are everywhere!

4. Most people speak English. They learn it in school.

5. Kenyans are very friendly. Everyone shakes hands. Almost everyone smiles or greats you when you are walking on the street, and not just people trying to sell something. They are a very warm people.

6. Ugali is there favorite food. Ugali basically cornmeal with milk and water turned into a kind of play-dough. The Kenyans love this! They would choose it over french fries.  At best, it taste very very bland. It's not bad if you mix it with something else.

7. No tigers. I felt really really dumb when I realized this, but when reading a children's book at Sally Test I learned there are actually no tigers in all of Africa! So the song, lions and tigers and bears, is completely inaccurate, because I doubt there are even bears in Africa.

8. There is a actually a large Indian population in Eldoret. This really confuses the Kenyans, as when we say Indiana, they often say, India? They are the wealthy business owners. This is also why we eat a lot of Indian food, which we have grown to love. I love paneer!

9. The Masai Mara, where we went last weekend, is actually connected to the Serengeti. I didn't know that. The famous wildebeest migration is actually from the masai mara to the serengeti. The serengeti is much larger. Someday I want to come back to see the migration. I have heard it is awe-inspiring.

10. They have "walmarts". Ok, not really walmarts, but same concept. In fact, Nolan and I just went to the biggest one on Sunday. There supermarkets are actually pretty large. Naukumatt, Tusky's and Naivas are the three big stores. You can tell only the rich buy much, while the poor only by bread and rice, the stables. The poorest don't buy anything at all. Only muzungus and foreigners probably buy lots of things like hand sanitizer ( which is expensive here) or chocolate bars (sniff sniff snickers)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hello from Eldoret

Ok, so nothing exciting going on this weekend. We are staying home, haha home in kenya, with the goal of buying more souvenirs and relaxing. We are lucky though, because I think I finally have had too many kids cough on me. I have some kind of funky cough going on. The medical team leader is going to check me out in a bit, but for now, I just sound like a funny frog.
    This is what they call the sausage tree. Can you see why? It looks like cattails . Did I ever tell you that when I was little I thought those were hot dogs growing on plants? :)
PS. Medical leader checked me out. Says I'm gonna make it. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hospital Stories

I realized that I have been focusing on the weekend trips, when really that is only 2 out of 7 days here. Just a warning though. The last few posts have been beautiful pictures with happy memories, but all of this might not be happy.

Our week goes like this...
Sunday evening: With everyone back from trips, Sunday night supper is our first provided meal of the week. Everyone talks about what they have been up too.

Monday: Hospital and free night. Nolan and I often take Swahili lessons.
Tuesday: Morning Report at hospital, Hospital, Kenyan lunch, Karaoke,
             Nolan and I don't go to karaoke because it is at a bar, but usually we get the place to ourselves with everyone gone. Faster internet. :)
Wednesday: Hospital, Restaurant night: Last night it was Sunjeel Indian food. Delicious, but too packed. I think they underestimated our number by like 20! More yummy paneer and nan ( indian flat bread)
Thursday: Morning report, Hospital, Dodgeball for the brave souls, Supper, Fireside chat,
     Thursday is one of my favorite days. All of the guys are serious about dodgeball. Usually only 1 or 2 girls play. I watch, it's very entertaining!
      Friday: Hospital and no supper night. I usually forget supper is not provided since so many people leave on trips. Usually we go out to town if not gone.

Ok, so you are probably like, that is very boring, why are they in Kenya? Well, the hospital is a million stories in itself!

On Tuesday. Nolan's friend Erica got attacked by a naked woman. They have a psych ward, but you have to be admitted to the medicine ward first. Erika said she was screaming about taking all of the earrings out of everyone. I guess she tried to strangle a doctor, and grabbed Erica, all while in the nude. poor erica !

Yesterday, Nolan had a rough day. Rounds started late, so they were still in room 1 of 3. It is common to have 2 in a bed, so they were talking about 1 of 2 babies in the last bed. I guess Dr. Asha looked over and realized the baby wasn't breathing. She said she had seen the baby breathing recently. She yelled for an ambu bag, and eventually got one, but I guess it was too late. They tried for 5 minutes with compressions and bagging, but Dr. Asha told Nolan she checked the pupil reflex, and it was gone, so that meant the brain stem was dead. I don't know how pediatric life support is in the United States, so we don't know if that is a trustworthy indicator, but poor Nolan had to witness the entire thing. He has had patients die, but never right in front of him, or a baby. I knew something was going on because they brought the mom out through the Sally test center. She completely lost it, understandably.

There were three more children abandoned this weekend. That makes around 11, lets see if i can remember their names,
Little Dan
Shadrach ( Shaddy)
Well that makes nine, and there are at least two more, so that sounds right. Some are developmentally slow, but others are just normal healthy kids. It breaks my heart. If adoptions weren't terribly difficult, I would take all of them home!

That's all for now.

PS. When our car overheated on the way back from the mara, these kids flocked from the local village. Not sure if they had ever seen a digital camera or a white person up close before. Our driver, a Kenyan, said this will be a day they remember. That made me smile!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More Masai Mara Pictures

 View from the Gate of the park

 Cha Cha's van: Our safari car

 Lion eating Water Buffalo

 Lion Paw

Bridge at our "campground" aka Luxury tent resort

Look close to see the babies!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nolan's Wildlife Photography Company

The Maasai Mara

This weekend was very amazing. We made our journey to the Masai Mara. We left at 6am on Friday morning. The ride was bumpy, and we didn't think we could take it much longer when we got to the bad part. 3 hours of the worse gravel road ever! We were very thankful to get there. 

I won't say much about this weekend. Words can't do it justice. Upon arriving at our luxury tent park, we had lunch and tea, and then went on our first safari. We seen cheetahs, wildebeests, antelope ( various sizes, shapes), hyenas, LIONS!!!!, 

Actually, Nolan kept a very good list of our safari.  You will have to ask him later for some of the details since it sounds sort of funny...
dead zebra
wild dog eating dead zebra
masai people 
big beak bird
wild dog
termite hills
baa baa brown sheep 
live zebra
gazelle/goat NOS 
masai warrior 
Thomson Gazelle 
Mere-cat (like Timon) 
yellow billed stork 
dead buffalo 
dead lion 
elephants  (2 + baby, far far away) 
baby donkey 
asian paparazzi (silly man in his personal car took pictures of us, we must look weird)
more elephants and baby elephants 
Lilac-breasted Roller
black-bellied Bustard bird 
Ground horn bill 
Dik-Dik, aka rabit-deer-goat 
killer leopard 
unfortunate impala 
killer hippos from whom Kevin narrowly escaped 
huge vultures 
secretary bird - partial to snakes 
African killer toilet tarantula from whom Navid narrowly escaped. 
cute little monkeys 

Africa is beautiful and we are loving it. 
Now a special Segment from Nolan...

So... in case you haven't figured out already... the above was a loose description of things we actually saw... but somewhat sensationalized. The following requires no amplification.

We were in the Mara, looking for leopards. Our Masai guide told us that generally less than half of all visitors get to see a leopard. He knew just where to take us and sure enough, before long we found a leopard. It was a beautiful animal, but saw us and headed straight for the woods behind it. We caught a couple pictures of him walking away and were a bit disappointed, but still grateful to have seen such an elusive cat.

The driver decided to move to the other side of that stand of trees, on the off chance that the leopard might come out the other side. On our way to our new vantage point, we noticed a pair of impalas, but did not give them much thought - in the mara, there is a little herd of impalas over every hill, it seems. I figured that leopard was probably sitting in the stand of trees, watching us and laughing, waiting to come out until we would leave. But I was wrong!

After maybe 30 seconds, the leopard did come sneaking out of the woods, maybe 20 meters in front of us. But as soon as he hit the clearing, he must have taken note of the impalas too - probably 100 meters away. He crouched down like he was calculating his attack. But he seemed to be a bit shy to perform for us. He relaxed a bit, still keenly watching. Then we heard what must have been a small herd of elephants - they were trumpeting, making a big ruckus, and quickly getting louder and nearer. They must have been playing or sparring - they were excited about something.

Well, that really put a chill on the leopard. He laid down and seemed to lose interest in the hunt; but he didn't leave. So, we continued to wait. I think we waited 20 to 30 minutes. 

Finally, he perked up; he seemed to be calculating again. He stood up, began slowly stalking across the road, maybe 5 meters in front of our van. It was just like a domestic cat, stalking his prey; then, in a moment, he took off in a sprint into the stand of trees on the side of the road opposite the one from which he'd come. We lost sight of him for a moment, but could see a blur intermittently through the trees.

Then the cloud of dust. The leopard tackled the impala, perhaps 30 meters in front of us. We could only half see the impact, but what came next we did not expect. A ball of leopard-impala-fury came running, tumbling, fighting toward our vehicle. They ran a curved path, and careened directly into the front bumper of the safari-van. I am sure that the location of our vehicle was far from their consideration at that moment in time, but it made for quite a view of the proceedings. And it was a bit scary too. We wondered for a moment if they would roll or jump up the hood of the vehicle, and our safety seemed compromised.

The pair continued struggling and came to a stop about 5 meters in front of the vehicle. After some further struggling, the leopard prevailed. We were overwhelmed by the situation. The strength of the leopard, the flight of the impala, the proximity of the fight, and the good fortune which found us in the right place at the right time.

I happened to be in the best spot of the safari-van. I caught nearly the entire scene on video. Upon returning to our lodging, we were excited to show this video to the Masai warriors working there. They were very excited and told us that they do not know anyone who has seen a leopard kill in the Mara. Every time a group of Masai saw the video, a few minutes later another group had heard and came to watch. One appeared to be in his sixties and also had never heard of people witnessing such a scene. 

Although it was a violent thing to see, we felt like we were lucky to have been there. When we are able, we hope to upload said video to YouTube, but it is rather large and this may take some time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hell's Gate/ Naivasha part 3,4,5????

Ha ha, Its pretty bad when you have divided your post up so much you can't remember who many posts on one topic there have been. This will be the last post of this past weekend, especially since we leave for our next trip tomorrow!. SAFARI!!!! at Masai Mara ( I know this is spelled wrong).

Ok, so the next morning we got up to a nice breakfast and another nice hot powerful shower. You would appreciate the shower more if you were here. Then, we got our life  jackets on to go hippo watching!!! With 6 on a boat, we went on the lake where there is a protected hippo population in the 100's.  You don't get to close though becuase although they are herbivores, they can be very aggressive, and will hurt you. One of my new friends and I decided they would make a hippo sandwich out of you. The hippos were AWESOME! Nolan and I got separated by boats, but that actually worked out great becuase he took a bunch of funny pictures of me squinting in the sun due to lack of glasses and excess of sun.

I wish I could remember all of the birds they showed us. I know we seen a King Fisher, a tiny black and white bird with a long skinny beak. We seen a type of eagle. They threw it a fish, and it swooped down, grabbed it and flew back to his tree. We decided he has the good life. If a boat comes by every hour, he is one well fed fish.We see pelicans, gulls, and many other birds that I'm sure bird-watchers would really appreciate.

We arrived on Crescent Island, which is actually a peninsula. There they have a protected wild animal population including mule dear, water buffalo, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, impalas, and supposively hyenas, but they are rarely seen in the day. It was amazing. We just walked around this huge field like area, right next to the animals. They were skiddish, so they didn't come close, but I was so close for not being a fence in between. So much fun!

On the way back, we stopped to eat at another park called Navasha, We didn't pay to get in, but we have heard its a good place to go on a mini safari if you don't want to go all the way to the Maasai Mara. Well, the monkey population must have decided it would not be caged in. Monkeys and baboons were on the outside of the gate where we ate! At first we were like, oooh, a monkey, oooh another monkey, but by the end, we were like, oh no another monkey! Not really, but there were lots! My favorite was a mommy monkey with a brand new baby. He was tiny tiny!

We seen lots of baby monkeys with their mom. I will tell you about my favorite. Ok, so during the meal, a lady guarded our table with a sling shot. We were all like, wow, that's overkill, she must want a good tip, until after the meal. As soon as we got up, the monkeys came closer. The sling shot lady stepped away for 30 seconds, and two monkeys jumped onto the porch, ran across the table grabbing whatever food they could find, and broke some dishes. She ran out and started shooting them, but by then it was too late!

So the one monkey, has a baby and now a handful of food in each hand. He jumps off the table, and then turns around to see our friend Lenny standing there. Lenny was not doing anything. Lenny was probably just as surprised as the monkey, but the mommy monkey felt threatened. She went up and smacked him. It was the funniest thing on the entire trip. I so wish we had a video. It was probably funny because of all of us, Lenny was probably the least likely to get in the monkeys space, and attack it!

Well, I had better get ready. The preacher from Kenya is coming to get the Bibles this morning!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

After hell's gate, weekend part 3

After our bike/hike we were exhausted, covered in dust, and ready for  a hot shower. Well, not yet, becuase Cha Cha our driver, had something planned for us. It was worth it too!

We drove across town to the edge of the lake where we see thousands of flamingos. They are protected at Lake Naivasha. We even seen the tip of a hippo. Oh, the tip of a hippo is its ears and eyes. It was really far away, but so cool.

So after a photo op with the flamingos, we went back to camp. Did I describe our tent for you? Well, tent is a bit of a stretch. It is better described as luxury electrified cabin with a couple of tarp walls, two four poster beds, a bathroom way bigger than our room in Eldoret, and a hot shower. It was probably pretty expensive as we had no part in booking it, but it was nice to live in luxury one night. It probably would have been worth it just for the shower. So, if someone says they have been tent camping, ask them if it was luxury tent camping, which is not camping at all?

They prepared a nice supper buffet for us. Best thing was fried fish, but they had chapati too. No dessert for us poor Americans. :(

And to our delightful suprise, there was a turndown service which put hot water bottles in our bed.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hell's Gate Park

The first stop on our weekend trip was Hell's gate Park. My dad would love this place. You rent a bike (not of the highest quality I might add) and ride on an unpaved path through the park. The sweetest thing about it is that the wild animals are truly wild, meaning they can wander anywhere near you. No fences! Within five minutes we had seen a warthog family. By 10 minutes we had seen water buffalo and zebra, soon followed by a giraffe and ostriches. Thankfully all of these animals were friendly.

   I had expected a leisurely ride around the park. Well, first of all, a bumpy dirt path with all my junk is not leisurely. Secondly, when we reached our stop, we took a 2 hour hike through the canyon, complete with climbing up rocks, jumping streams, and the finale of a big hill with a rewarding view. It was beautiful!
  On the hike, we got behind a group of about 40 Kenyans. They were sort of slow, so we tried to pass them, but got stuck at one of the rock-climbing(being lifted by a strong Kenyan) points. Well, I felt really bad when we got to the turn-around point. It was a natural amphitheater in the Canyon.  They were actually a church choir of some kind, and started singing this beautiful song in Swahili. Nolan thinks they were catholic. They were very friendly, and asked us to join in. I took a video, so hopefully when I get home, you can listen to the Kenyans sing with a little help from our group.

  So after the hike, we are all extremely tired. The ride back was not far, but we realized on the way there, we had been going slightly downhill. Now we had to go slightly uphill, which may not sound bad, but really put us all to the test on the bumpy gravel-ish road. Oh, and it was one way, so any time a car came by you had to take a huge drink of dust and either pull over or hope for the best. It was fun and thankfully the clouds covered the late sun.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lake Nakuru and Hell's Gate Park Part 1

This weekend was so full, I will try to describe it in several blog posts. Amazing, fun, interesting, and funny... would all be words to describe this trip. For only spending one night away, we packed a lot in, and I don't want to describe all the first things in super detail, but then blur the rest, so I will do a mini-series.
    We left at 7am on Saturday morning. It was chilly in the morning so I wore long sleeves and jeans. MISTAKE. By the time we got there it was sunny and hot. Not intolerable, but hotter than normal.
    The first picture is from the "reststop" at the equator. I didn't go in or near, but I imagine it was stinky. It was still cool, sunny, and beautiful. It took about 3 hours to get there. The ride there wasn't bad because Nolan and I had seats in the second row. I also had a book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is actually pretty good.
    Well more later,

    First stop, EQUATOR ! We had been south of the Equator in Nairobi, but we hadn't been on the exact line.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Food in Kenyan

        Yesterday was our night to eat out. We went down the road to Mama Mia's which is actually mostly Indian food or food with Indian flair. I was going to tell you about what we ate, but I think it would be more fun to tell you about all of the tasty foods we have eaten here... Oh, and I will skip the boring American stuff.

Last night:
paneer: Indian: Cheese Quote from Google, "a fresh cheese common in South Asian Cuisine. It is of Indian origin often referred in the Vedas dating back to 3000 BCE." it's hard, they fry it, saute it, cover it in sauce. delicious!

pizzas:Italian/Indian: the meal was tapas style with I think about 12 courses. 5 of them were pizza, but not just normal pizza, They take normal Indian dishes and make them into pizza, like chicken (cucu) tikal pizza???

lamb chops: I think we all know about those.

Florentine crepes: French?: NASTY: Ok, I like peas, but let me describe this crepe from Nolan's point of view. We had just eaten several courses, and were ready for dessert. What do they bring out? Crepes, Sweet, he thought, and he eagerly bit into one, just as he heard one of his colleagues say,"There are peas in them" EPIC fail. If they had any chance of being good, which they didn't, as being compared to delicious nutella or whipped cream means instant failure. Probably grossest thing in Kenya. I thought of you Connie. :)

mixed vegetables: this is sort of a joke, after stuffing ourselves on tons of delicious foods the last main course they brought out was mixed vegetables. Poor little carrots and green beans didn't have a chance. I think one med student took pity on them and ate some.

Ok, That is all for last night.

ugali: kenyan: Hard to describe, basically cornmeal with water/milk? turned into a sort of mush, Very bland, but Kenyans love it. I could do without. Don't tell the Kenyans!

chapati: Kenyan: my favorite Kenyan food. Fried flat bread. Salty, oily, and Delicious. One of my Kenyan friends at Sally Test is going to teach me how to make them, so hopefully when we come home, I can  make chapati for everyone!

samosas: origin?: I thought samosas were Indiana, but they eat them a lot in Kenyan. Most of the stands on the street have them. A flaky pastry deep friend with either meat or vege filling on the inside. Also amazing! Nolan liked the meat ones, and I liked the ones with spicy potato filling.

Corn on the cob: (miaz: They sell it on the street, in like 1/2 cobs for a few shillings. Haven't tried it, but I think corn is a big part of their diet.

wheatabix: Great Britain: Whole grain cereal that comes in little cubes, but soften in liquid.  I know this isn't Kenyan, but Nolan and I made up a little jingle. "Have you had your wheatabix today" Not so much in the food, but Great Britain's influence is seen heavily in their culture.

Bananas: They are so much better here, much sweeter and far superior to bananas at home.

Mangos: Should be their national fruit: They sell them everywhere on the street. Fresh mango juice most mornings here which is 100% as it is thick and pulpy. Most people don't like it, but it grows on you.

Cabbage: I had no idea cabbage was such a Kenyan food. They eat it in salads, main dishes, plain, boiled, chopped etc. They even have a version of Texas coleslaw crunch. I will probably need a long break from cabbage when I get back.

Milk: NON REFRIGERATED: Nolan told me they flash pasteurize their milk, so once it is processed, they seal it in containers, and it doesn't need to be refrigerated. Very creepy at first. It has quite the twang, but is growing on me. Also, the whole milk often comes in triangular shaped bags. You will see people drinking it on the streets. Sort of like the milk bags in elementary school, except these are paper.

Ok, well, I think I have filled you all for now. I miss everyone, please tell me how you all are doing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

Not much to report for the last two days.. Back to the hospital. I continue to observe, while Nolan continues to be a stellar pharmacist.
The most exciting thing ( yes I know this is sad) is that tonight they had chocolate cake for supper! They never have dessert, so for us, this was a big deal. I suppose when getting food is difficult, the last thing Kenyans think about is chocolate or sweets. Nolan and I have been rationing out our Cadbury eggs, so chocolate cake was very welcome. We sat with two psychiatrists and a Internal Medicine/Psychiatrist at supper tonight. I felt really dumb, but had the chocolate cake to console me.

My favorite little boy at Sally Test center was acting out today. I think he was tired and hungry, but he kept throwing his little truck down, demanding to pick it up, throwing a fit if you don't let him, and then when you fiinally give it back, he throws it down again. This is one of the abandoned children. He doesn't talk, covers his ears at music, but loves to be held, which is what makes him so sweet. I also got to hold a cute little baby today, which is more eventful than it sounds as everyone likes to hold the babies.

I am excited to report there is another wife here! I went on the weekend trip with her, but thought she was just another one of the doctors. Well, she is definitely smart, but isn't a MD, but a biomedical engineer. I think I've made a friend! We went to Sally Test together and then to the grocery store. It's nice to know I have a fellow comrade!

Email has been a little better. ( Don't want to jinx myself) Email me news from home. I would love to hear about how everyone is doing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Waterfall, Rift Valley, and Krueger Farms

So yesturday, I was a bad wife. While Nolan was laying in bed, I went exploring with his friends. He was feeling mostly better, just not up to long car rides and hiking. I was glad he didn't come for his health's sake, but it was lonely being without him. Although those silly things I usually say, I couldn't say, because his pharmacy friends I don't think would understand.
      Ok, so I got up early to check  my email. hahahahah. As if! I did get a lot of things done though. We got to talk with McAfee's which was nice. I think we kept them up to late before church, so if you see Trevor snoozing, its our fault! :)
      We left at 9. I guess the medical students we invited, invited their one people, so it wasn't a relaxed ride, but a uncomfortable excursion with 12 people in a van that should only fit 10. We were joking that we looked like a matatu, but then decided we couldn't be a matatu, as no one had a chicken, and no one was hanging out the side of the van. We did see a matatu later with three guys hanging out going down the road. I will say, Kenyans have the entire carpooling thing down great. If Americans could carpool like that, we would save a ton of money, gas, etc.
     Appreciate these pictures... they took a hour to download.
    This first picture is of the waterfall. Nolan's comment upon seeing it was that Williamsport Falls was bigger. Well, I don't know the feet of either, but it was majestic. Unlike in the states, there was nothing from preventing us from walking all around it, which was quite dangerous. We all got completely muddy, as for one hill, the only way down was to pretty much slide on your bottom. I decided after that we could be called the Muddy Bottom Boys (Soggy Bottom Boys from Oh Brother Where Art Thou), as well all had very muddy bottoms.
   After that we did a little Olympic Training at the high altitude center. :) We did see some athletes and coaches at the restaurant. We thought about being all creepy and taking their pictures so we could have someone to root for in the Olympics. It is much harder to breath/exercise at this altitude and this was even higher than Eldoret.
    This picture doesn't do the scenery justice. We paid 100 shillings to enter, and I was like why do we have to pay about a dollar to park. Well, I soon seen why. The view was amazing!!!! I had heard we were on the edge of the rift valley in Eldoret. Well, this restaurant, Kerio View, was on the cliff on the very edge of the Rift. I'm told you can see the rift from outerspace. We were on the edge of a mountain of the biggest valley I have ever seen. You could see for miles and miles. It was almost more of a giant canyon. It is really hard to describe. I really want to take Nolan back here, because I think it is something you shouldn't miss.
   Last picture, Giraffes! We hiked up a small mountain, that might be small, but was a lot of work. We were all exhausted.  Luckily though, once you got to the top, you could see the giraffes, so you had a reason to go on, and not give up and lay in the grass at the top. There were three giraffes. Mommy, Daddy, and baby. Mommy was even pregnant. They tell me Male giraffes are darker.
So far my wildlife observed...
goats, lots and lots of goats,
cows, lots of skinny cows.
birds, they sound a lot funnier here, sort of like children crying
secretary birds
Some kind of wierd "king?" bird with a sort of crown.
lizards, including one in our shower!

Well, I love you all, Cheerio

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Here in Eldoret

        So last night, the internet worked for long enough to post something. Today we have able to get on, and I could view my blog, but until now, unable to sign in to my own blog. From MSN though we learned there has been some tornadoes in Indiana, the midwest, and South, so we pray you and yours are all safe.
        Ok, not much today. I was outside on the road when this time, a HERD of cattle passed me. Luckily their owners told me what to do, but I was a little scared. Cows here are so skinny though, I probably weigh as much as one. I think I could take a cow!
       So keep praying for Nolan. He feels ok when he stays drugged up (OTC of course), but I want him to feel 100%. He didn't get to go to town with me and his friends today.

     I woke up at 0730 and it was so peaceful on a Saturday morning. Still no internet access, but I got to have a nice breakfast.
    Since Nolan was sicky, He missed out on the trip to town. It seemed busier, but town always seems busy here. Cultural overload. People everywhere,  mostly looking at you, because you are one of the 6 mzungus *white people*. I can count how many other mzungus...3 not in our group. I think I have stated before that other than the many shops, people sell everything on the streets. Shops include chemists(pharmacists), clothing, grocery stores, cell phone minutes, and many other things you would find in a normal city, except smaller, and most everything is cheaper. Nolan and I bought a phone charger for 3$. I thought the man would try to take us, but then again, maybe that is alot for a phone charger. I bought a souvenir for Audrey :) and the other people were telling me their families had requests. Well, I forgot to ask for requests before I left, so if anybody wants anything, please email me, or comment on my blog.
        I took some pictures of our home here...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Internet has been horrible!

Hi everyone, Hello from kenya. I am attempting to blog, as the internet has been horrible lately. Nolan tells me something about an anchor chopping 2 of 3 internet cables in the ocean???? All I know is the internet is horrible. Occasionally my email will load, but I usually can't open the messages, or check facebook, or anything but see my mail. Oh, and the bank alerts pop up. Chase just wants to make sure we are secure :)
Today, I am going to make a list. I cannot begin to detail all of the different experiences we have had, so I will just try to list the BIG things, or funny, or at least things that made an impression.
1. Nolan and I spent our first two days on the medicine wards. Nolan is doing his pharmacy thing, while I am doing a quality improvement project for the one of the IU doctors here.  I am not doing any patient care, just observing, and I am sorry to admit I am happy for that. Conditions here are so bad, and they lack the most basic necessities to provide quality nursing care. Since most of you aren't in healthcare, I won't go into the details, but let me just say that while Americans complain if we have to share a room, Kenyans don't, yes don't, complain that they have to share a BED. I seen someone get bagged and coded on my first day.... she didn't make it. Nolan saw a case of pellagra. He says he saw three of the four D's of pellagra: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, but not death. The team started the patient on a B vitamin complex. Nolan says he is unlikely to ever see a case of pellagra in the states. Imagine living in a country where all of the food is not fortified. I wish I could show you pictures for you to understand how bad it is, but they would be hard pictures to see. maybe later...
   In the few days we have been here, I have been going to Sally Test. It is an inpatient center for the children in the pediatrics ward, plus a few children who have been abandoned. While the medicine wards directly across the path are sad and full of death, this is the opposite. The children are ill, but there is so much love and caring. One little boy while play and let you carry him, no matter who you are. The caregivers tell me he was almost strangled by a stepmother and abandoned. He doesn't talk, but did clap his hands while we were singing. It was precious. I've seen a girls disfigured from burns, kids with large tumors, and kids with cancer who all smile. We have nothing to complain about.
3. Abby saw cows running on the path on her way to the hospital. Luckily they didn't trample her. Cows here are skinny!
4. We had delicious Indian food on Wednesday night out. We hear we will eat more Indian food than Kenyan. That's ok, it's wonderful!
5. We are thinking of taking a day trip on Sunday with Nolan's pharmacy peeps. ( Abby said this obviously.) We were going to go to Kakamega Forest, but the resort was booked, so we are going to Kruger farms and somewhere else. I am excited to see some of the Kenyan houses. We are in a nicer area at the IU compound and have only ventured to town, so we have seen little of how Kenyans actually live.
6. We were really craving chocolate so we made chocolate chip cookies tonight. No butter, so we just swapped in the Kenyan's favorite spread, Blue Band. Well, Blue Band makes some funny cookies. They sort of looked like pancakes because they spread! Between an odd fat and a nonadjustable gas oven, it's surprising they tasted good - but they did :)
7. We will try to post pictures tomorrow. If we move the computer, it might die, or the internet might die.
8. Mango juice: Fresh every morning... thick, but delicious
9. Scott- have not seen that River Rock restaurant. Will look next week.
10. When I went to Nicaragua, I paid about 10$ to talk to Nolan for 10-15 minutes. Do you know how much it costs here? For a 15 minute call it only cost about 60 cents. SWEET In Kenya, no one has contracts, they  just buy  minutes, similar to the track-phone system, except a much better deal. Everyone in Kenya has a cellphone, even though most are poor. In fact, one doctor said you aren't a true Kenyan unless you have two phones. Funny, but true. They have different phones to call different people. Just like Verizon vs. At&t, you get better rates in network, so they buy the cheap phones. Nolan and I each have a Kenyan phone, which is good for safety. 
11. Pray for Nolan to feel 100%. He felt sort of yucky today, and although is improving, made his wife worry! Luckily though, I feel very secure living with around 30 doctors and 10 pharmacists.