Thursday, April 8, 2010

From Kenya,With Love!

This is part of the fourth letter I wrote home from Kenya...enjoy!
Jambo from Kenya!
Get's another long one...but a good one!
I hardly know where to begin!
This past week has been filled with the most amazing, unique, breathtaking experiences!
Yesterday I heard from the Department of Public Health at the University of Utah, letting me know that I have been accepted into their MPH program. I have to let them know by April 29th whether or not I accept, so I'll be doing some fasting and praying to make sure it's the right thing for me to do right now.
Another highlight of my time here in Kenya happened yesterday as well. I delivered a placenta! My friend Natarsha and I got a phone call from a friend of ours who works at one of the clinics we visited and told us that a woman was there, about to have a baby, and that we could come if we had time. We re-scheduled the meeting we were on our way to and raced over to the other clinic. Not 10 minutes after we arrived, the baby started to come. The women here are so strong! She didn't have any drugs for pain, she didn't have a husband there to hold her hand, and we were informed that we should not try to comfort her or give her anything to grab onto--as that would show weakness. All we could do was yell at her to push while the nurses were pushing on her stomach and holding her legs apart. The baby's head popped out and he was stuck. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Someone ran to the other room to get Dr. George who came in, leaned over the woman's stomach and basically gave the woman a reversed heimlich manouver, thrusting at her stomach until the baby shot out like a torpedo. He quickly got the baby breathing, and called Natarsha over to cut the cord. The nurses took the baby to clean it up, then Dr. George called for me to come over to the table. He handed me the clamp that was still attached to the end of the cord connected to the placenta. He gave me a quick instruction on how to safely pull the placenta out and then told me to go for it...and out came the perfect complete placenta! What an unexpected and awesome experience. Dr. George is an amazing Dr.. He's a very generous Kenyan who serves a very poor community. He loves teaching others, and gets so much joy from seeing others get excited about what he loves! I hope to have more opportunities to work with him!
The delivery was a much more pleasant experience than the circumcision we observed last week. They don't circumcise boys when they are baby's here. It's usually done between the ages of 6 and 14. Last Wednesday, a six year old boy came in, and before the procedure even started, the boy was already crying. It only got worse. The nurse cleaned him and prepped him for the procedure...then the drama began! What should have been a short, fairly painless procedure ended up taking nearly an hour! The nurse injected him with what looked like about 5 ccs of lidocane/adrenaline, and as the needle when in, he wailed! I'm convinced that either they didn't give him enough or that they injected it improperly because with every clamp, cut, and suture, the poor child screamed in agony! I was able to keep my composure, but had to turn my head to hide my emotion when the boy hit a super peak of pain and cried our for his "mama!" His father was holding back his arms and upper body, one nurse was bracing and holding down his legs, and the nurse performing the operation had to battle with the jolts of the boy's little body every time he writhed in pain! Finally when he was finished, I handed him two lollypops as he walked out of the room...poor kid. THey say that in the Masai culture, the young men are circumcised with either a knife or a sharp stone and if they even flinch with pain, they bring dishonor on themselves and their families...good thing this kid wasn't a Masai.
Speaking of Masai, my safari this past weekend was AMAZING!!! We spent 4 adventure filled days in the Masai Mara and at Lake Nakuru searching for animals, getting stuck in the mud, off-roading through the bush!

I wish I could describe the feelings of pure awe I felt when I first saw the herds of giraffes towering over the acacia trees and fighting with each other!

We saw wildebeasts, zebras, hyenas, jackals, topis, dik diks, gazelles, lions, elephants, birds of all sorts, warthogs, crocodiles, hippos, rhinos, baboons, blue monkeys, flamingos, buffalo, and were even lucky enough to spot a cheetah and a leopard climbing down from a tree with a bit of prey in it's teeth. The Masai Mara (the Kenya half of the Serengeti) is so expansive and beautiful--I felt like running through the grass singing "Born Free"...but don't worry I didn' never know what's hiding there waiting to pounce. Lake Nakuru was probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and I highly recommend it to anyone who comes to do safari in Kenya!
I'm still enjoying visiting with HIV support groups, hearing these strong women's stories. I love going to their homes and sitting down with them, hearing about how much faith they have in God and how much they truly believe that it is because of Him they live from day to day! Something as small as clearing up painful skin irritations (a frequent side effect of ARV drugs) they attribute to God!
I didn't get to celebrate a traditional Easter this year, but I can't even begin to describe how close I felt to the Lord as I was surrounded by his magnificent creations, as I was able to help new life come into the world, and as I've been able to open my heart to those who are suffering so much, yet who remain strong in their faith in Christ! I love my life!! There is so much to be grateful for!
I hope you all enjoyed General Conference and had a wonderful Easter!
Wish us luck with the Free medical clinic we're doing this weekend!
I'll send photos later...the computer i'm on won't let me upload photos :(
I love you all!


Kristin said...

How cool!!! And that baby doesn't look little either!

Carla said...

Congratulations on getting into an MPH program Cim! You'll probably blow most of the other students out of the water with all your international experience. And it's wonderful to read about your experiences in Kenya doing more great work. :)

Leah Jones said...

Wow Cim! That is so exciting! I can't wait to talk to you in person! I love reading about it! I miss it so much!

indeazgirl said...

It is so cool to see all your FB pictures and hear about these adventures. I went to the IVHQ website and had to read all about it. For all the things I have done in my life, seeing things like this is something I really hope to do someday. You have had some incredible experiences.