Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prayers for Mpeketoni

On Monday morning, we woke up to the news that 48 people had been killed overnight in a coastal village near Lamu. Although that is quite a ways away from where we are, it is unnerving since it’s the largest attack since the shootings at Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September. We knew our families and friends would be concerned as well, but everything here is peaceful. There has been a lot of talk of politics and security as a result.


In addition, Monday was a demanding day at the hospital. I attended a family meeting in the ICU after which the medical team withdrew to comfort care on a woman with malaria that had shut down her kidneys. We had a non-compliant patient in the women’s ward with HIV and a fistula between her esophagus and trachea. Somehow, she’d eaten some porridge even though she wasn’t supposed to and had aspirated into her lungs. She kept crying out that she wanted to die. While she didn’t understand English, she let me hold her hand and stroke it, and she gradually settled down. She died later that afternoon.

Every day at around 10-10:30 and 4-4:30 we have chai break. The cafeteria staff delivers a mixture of warm water and milk with which to brew tea, and the chaplains all converge on the office for tea and fellowship. It’s a wonderful time together, perhaps my favorite time of the day.


Monday evenings are always dessert and chai/coffee nights hosted by the long-term missionaries. We made our way across town to Dr. Bird’s house. The former medical director of the hospital, he and his wife have lived there for fourteen years. Of course, the World Cup game was on! It was a good opportunity to visit with other people (mostly short-term missionaries) from various parts of the hospital who we might not see otherwise.


Fortunately, today was quieter at the hospital, and we were able to walk over to the market at lunch to get a few things we needed. The market is like a farmer’s market in the US and is comprised mostly of women selling their wares. We bought the things we came for (namely, eggs and bananas), and a few things we didn’t come for like a bag of samosas and English muffins. I didn’t know how the packaging for the eggs would be, but they just asked us how many we needed and then put them in this plastic bag.


I was terrified that they wouldn’t survive the walk home and that I would drop them, but they were fine. People’s animals here are all free-range, quite literally. They roam around eating whatever they can get. Without even having labels like “organic” and “cage-free”, that’s exactly what kind of eggs we got, for a fraction of the cost.

One of the benefits of getting some sun is witnessing the sliver of sunset over Mount Longonot.


Asante sana for reading!