Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Tenwek I call home is running out of room

So I’m starting this post while taking an extended lunch break, why – it is pouring outside. I thought the rainy season was over but I would be soaked to the bone if I tried to walk back to work right now, even if I had an umbrella as the rain is coming sideways. Yesterday, the rain and wind came together so hard that a large tree limb broke off. I was glad no one was under it and that the staff cleaned it up as soon as the rain slowed. This rain is necessary for the plants to grow and keep the Tenwek I call home green. About a month ago I blogged about the Africa you think I live in (but don’t) so this is a follow up to that post as I am writing about the Tenwek I call home.
Tenwek is in rural Kenya halfway between Nairobi and lake Victoria and is in tea country – this means we drink a lot of tea, always with lots of milk and sugar as well as grow lots of tea. Fields full of tea bushes are a beautiful site. Many of the local people are farmers growing corn, beans, potatoes etc. They also may work at the hospital, a bank or a store. People get around in their own vehicles, walk, take a taxi or bus or hire a motor bike driver to get around. They speak a mixture of kipsigis (local tribal language), Swahili and English.
The misty hills

A tea farm about 30 min from tenwek

The view from the road leading to the hospital

Tenwek however is something different in the midst of Kipsigis land. It is a large hospital that provides care for the area as well as trains Kenyan physicians, from all over Kenya. We have the ability to not only teach medicine but disciple many in their faith. Here are some of the physician groups that we train.
  • ·         Clinical Officers (CO’s) – CO’s have their schooling at formal institutions but come out here for 1 year for their clinical internship they spend time in OB, Medicine, Pediatrics and surgery. We have 8 of these at a time
  • ·         Medical Officers (MO’s) – MO’s have completed medical school but come to us for their intern year, like the CO’s they spend time learning/working in each of the services OB, Medicine, Pediatrics and surgery. We also have 8 of these at a time.
  • ·         Family Practice Residents – After completing their MO intern year Kenyan physician’s can work for a few years before going into residency. We train 2 residents per year in Family practice which is a 3 year program, so that is another 6 people.
  • ·         Surgical Residents – Tenwek trains surgical residents as part of PAACS (Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons) We have 2 per year in general surgery, and we just started an Ortho program which is another 2 per year so we have 14 surgical residents (if the math is confusing one year we took in 4 General surgery residents) and once the ortho residency fill up we will have 20 residents.
  • ·         Medical Students – as part of their MO training we have med students come out for a few months this is about 10 at a time
  • ·         Others – There are also other visiting African residents that spend time at Tenwek. As Tenwek is one of a few mission hospitals to have an ICU other residents come to learn here for a few months from other training locations in Africa. We also have residents coming to learn ophthalmology. So we probably have 2 of these at a time.

Every one listed here is African and they are all at Tenwek for training if you total up the numbers that is 48 people that we are training, and as the programs get full we will be getting more. Also some of these individuals are married and many  have children. With all this going on we are running out of housing. It is the hospital's responsibility to find housing for all these people and our current housing has run out. There are plans to build a new complex to house these trainees and we would appreciate your help. Would you be willing to make a donation so we can continue to house and therefore continue to train high quality doctors for Kenya and Africa?
Some of the trainees gathering for bible study at Dr W's house. 

World Gospel Mission has an account set up specifically for this project. If you are an American you will get a tax receipt, if you are Canadian unfortunately you will not but I hope that will not prevent you from giving to this important project. To give either follow this link or send a cheque to World Gospel Mission
note: for Tenwek Housing Account #125-35006

Donor Services
World Gospel Mission
PO Box 948
Marion, IN  46952-0948

Thank You.

The proposed building to house 44 people. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I have now been in Kenya for over a year it has been over a year since I have seen my family but I just had a visit from some great friends. I have known Janelle, Kayla and Nella since 2005 when we all went to NAIT and studied Respiratory Therapy together. Through the years we have remained great friends and are the type of friends who due to work, travel, and just general busyness we may go a while without all being together but when we get together again we pick up right where we left off.
Time here with the ladies was fun. Janelle and Nella had an extra adventure getting here as their flights were delayed and then baggage trouble but I was so glad when they all made it to Tenwek. There was an invasion of Canadians and RT's at the hospital as we were able to work all together for a few days. It was fun to have other RT’s to bounce ideas off of. The extra hands also came in handy one morning as we had a power outage for ~30 min and each RT could take an area ICU, HDU, RR and breathe for the patients by squeezing the bag until the ventilators worked again. It was a crash course in how to use the Servo 900C for Janelle; you will have to ask her how it went.
With the extra RT’s at the hospital we did some additional teaching for the nurses and doctors and were able to sort through the equipment rooms in ICU and HDU. Throwing out old/unusable supplies and making the routinely used supplies easier to find.
Nella organizing,

So many little pieces

No time in Kenya is complete without Chai

Creating some tasty food. 

More Chai

The Canadian RT invasion

A trip to Kenya is not really complete without enjoying the beautiful animals that God has placed here so the 4 of us went on a 2 day safari to Maasai Mara. This was a wonderful time. While there I realized this is probably the first time in a year where I did not feel stressed. I am not saying I am stressed out all the time here but living in a culture that is not your own it is sometimes difficult to completely relax. Times when I have gone away to Nairobi or my travels to visit friends I have always had things to do or not been able to completely relax. To be a tourist in a place where I did not have to worry about food, transport, or what language I was speaking was a wonderful vacation. Never mind the wonderful food we ate and the amazing animals and just beauty of the Mara.
Rather than go into more details I will end here with some pictures of the awesomeness.
How close have you been to a Rhino?


Just me and  some Cheetahs 

I love giraffes

God paints a beautiful picture every evening. 

Lovely ladies

A baby Elephant was one of the highlights of the safari

One last beautiful sunset. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My December

So this past month has been hectic and Christmas snuck up on me. To share what I have been up to here’s what I did each week of December.

Week 1 – Spent time in Lodwar with friends as I posted about previously. Got back to work on Friday left again on Saturday for another wedding.

Week 2 –I spent the weekend in Kericho. Monday morning, after the wedding, I headed to Turi, a boarding school that WGM has their annual Christmas meetings. As the meetings do not pertain to me I spent time supervising the children, getting a sunburn, and dealing with a GI bug that prevented me from enjoying some of the wonderful food at Turi. I got back to Tenwek Wednesday night, and worked Thursday and Friday.
Christmas Concert at Turi

Week 3- Worked Monday to Wednesday and hosted youth conference Thursday and Friday. As there was a Doctors/Nurses strike at all the Government hospitals the hospital was crazy busy,meaning I was the only leader aside from the speaker at the conference with 20 youth. By the end of day one, I was exhausted.  I was a little more prepared for day 2 so it went better. Saturday I was supposed to accompany the same youth to an orphanage for a Christmas visit but my pager went off at 3am and I worked till 8am, so I left the youth in the capable hands of one of the other leaders who had the weekend off from the hospital.
Playing games with the youth
Week 4- I worked Monday morning running home to pack in the afternoon as my new house was ready and I could move in. I dragged suitcases down the sidewalk dumped them out in my new place and go back to refill them. I then took a break to join the other missionaries carolling at the hospital – which is packed as there is still a strike going on. After caroling we enjoyed snacks and fellowship with fellow missionaries. I then recruited the children to help carry my suitcases to my new place – moving is done, now to unpack. Tuesday I worked at the hospital and escaped home every once in a while to unpack and get settled. It was Christmas Eve - when did that happen?  I enjoyed the evening with some of the interns and residents as we all watched a movie. A perfect unwind after a crazy day, or month.  Wednesday – Christmas Day I enjoyed food and fellowship with some fellow missionaries. 
Christmas dinner ready to go.
I was very thankful to be included in their celebrations. Thursday – finally a day off, as boxing day is also a Kenyan holiday – which confuses all the Americans. Anyway, I was able to unpack some more and get settled in my new place which will be home for the next 15 months. Friday was another busy day at work with the ER department literally overflowing with patients, thankfully the strike is over and the other hospitals are returning to work so things should hopefully settle down.
So now it’s the end of December, where did the time go? I now have a few days to get settled into my place before some friends come. I am excited to show them my life here as well as spend some time with them and go on a safari. Life just keeps on going.

Happy New Year.