Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 29 addendum


I spent most of today with Baraza – Ray of Hope’s Coordinator – and my teammate Robin. We took five million buses and matatus to travel fifty feet … or so it felt. I didn’t mind at all, as I was excited to see the big city of Nairobi, having spent the previous seven days in Kawangware, the slum I’ve come to love, but not the only part of Nairobi I had come to experience. Today, Robin and I got to see so much more. 

We laughed after every near-death experience we had, and I never missed an opportunity to point out where the lawsuits would be if we were in the States: deep, wide holes in the middle of the street, one of which almost claimed Robin’s life (or, at least, limb) when we backed up to avoid oncoming matatus, trucks, and man-powered carts filled with water collected from the nearest fill-up station. She missed the random hole-in-the-street by a quarter-inch, as we couldn’t look behind us while backing up, what with all the vehicles – makeshift or otherwise – to dodge.

Robin, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, met with a nurse at Pumwani Hospital, a well-esteemed maternity hospital in Nairobi, to discuss the hospital’s neonatal resuscitation methods. She and Baraza asked the local nurse questions, and then the nurse gave all three of us a brief tour of the communal delivery rooms, as well as a baby warmer with a newborn on it. 

Robin slipped me a little medical knowledge on the side, as we continued to the Office of the Attorney General of Kenya, where I was scheduled to meet with Baraza’s niece, Carol, a staff lawyer in the Office. She and I compared U.S. and Kenyan laws and procedures, and I slipped Robin a little legal knowledge on the side, as Carol and her friend drove us to meet with our team and the entire Ray of Hope staff for dinner.

The Ray of Hope staff had planned the dinner to celebrate a few things: It was a birthday party for Florence, the Ray of Hope Director; our team had worked hard at Ray of Hope all week; and the family size of everyone seated at the table had exponentially increased with the partnership of our respective groups. The love in the room was immense, as if we had all been together for years. 

After dinner, half the total group went out dancing, and we had a wonderful time. I contracted a little whiplash when the matatu driver took on a speed bump at five million miles per hour on the way home, forcing those of us in the backseat to bonk our heads on the ceiling full force … but hey – I didn’t step in any holes-in-the-street, so I’m not complaining.

I am very happy here.

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