on days with David
For those of you who have followed our journey for the past years, you know I have struggled a bit to find a role and purpose at Kijabe. In some ways it will be a lifelong process, but I do have quite a bit more clarity right now after processing during our time in the states and jumping back in to life in Kenya.
Taking pictures has been a struggle since we arrived – it’s both what I love to do and something I really feared to do. Photography should be about giving, not taking, and the response I would have when I would stop a patient in the hallway an ask to take a picture was always lukewarm. . .which would show in the pictures.
We brought over a little 4×6 printer, ordered acrylic frames from amazon, and it has changed everything. I printed one picture for a mom from a refugee camp in northern Kenya, brining a little one for pediatric surgery. And soon I was being pulled to every patient in the ward. . .they are happy, it is a gift. Giving pictures, not taking them.
And for some reason, all of the kids want to eat the pictures:)
The gift can be double-edged. John, our needy fund manager, and I recently visited several patients that we helped through Friends of Kijabe donations. Brandon was a sweet little one-year-old who had been cared for at the hospital during a bout of pneumonia.
John called me this week and said, “can you come, Brandon has died, mum is here at the hospital.” I printed this picture, had a quick cry, ran to the hospital, gave the picture to mum. . .more tears.
Virtually no one in Kenya would have a printed picture of a young-one. . .and the opportunity to hand this to a mom in the midst of her grief is a bitter-sweet blessing.
Other blessings – two Sudanese boys here for surgery. It’s not always easy to communicate well with patients, but their cousin is a 22-year-old with fluent English and some fascinating stories. Peds physiotherapy recently received some wheelchair donations, and they are really nice. But they are really nice AND really fast. So days-of-thunder wheelchair races are happening all around the wards. Thankfully no big wrecks yet:)
Arianna described another facet of our work right now as playing Santa Claus. We have received hats and blankets from LCVH (our church in Birmingham), blankets from Mt. Pisgah (Phil McLain’s church), booties from Australia, and quite a few other donations. So we wander around the wards or newborn nursery, involving the nurses, derailing rounds, and spreading mirth. Christmas in June.
Our cousin Beth is out with us for the month – she’s an amazing artist, doing a series of paintings to decorate the pediatrics ward. Art is a luxury that we don’t often focus resources on as a hospital, but with Arianna’s never-ending wall-cling projects and gifts like these, we are involved in making the hospital a bit more beautiful.
I had a first this week – being able to assist Arianna with a procedure. When I pictured going to Africa, I imagined Arianna being a doctor and me coming and helping her where needed. But then we landed and I quickly realized that is the role of the wildly talented pediatric team.
One morning this week, Arianna was helping our friend Stephanie, an audiologist, with a sedation for a hearing test. I stopped by to take a few pictures, but the medicine, while it put the girl to sleep and relaxes her brain for the EEG, did not prevent her hands from going straight to her ears. So I stood and held her hand for the hour while Arianna and Stephanie did their jobs.
Hand-holding is truly the extent of my medical qualifications, but it was fun.
Last, some pictures of regular life. These are several of the veggie ladies who run the small fruit market in Kijabe.
We all went to crescent island last weekend – always cute, but especially so the 5-day-old baby giraffe!!