Lisa October 2016
My stay in Kenya
After many hours of flight, I was picked up at the airport by the volunteers who had already arrived before me. At the hospital, everyone gave me a warm welcome and I met Dr. Cheruiyot, Mama Rita as well as some hospital staff. Since I brought a present for the doctor and Mama Rita with me with the saying: "Have a break", they took it by heart right away, made a break from the hospital routine in the evening and went to a bar with us.
The work at the hospital
At the hospital, Mama Rita shows and explains the procedures and tasks. You can help with many things, even without medical training. For example, I was allowed to assist Dr. Cheruiyot in smaller surgeries or to help Mama Rita with patient treatment. My tasks were the distribution of medicine as well as Malaria-, pregnancy- and blood sugar- tests. I was also able to explain some things to the hospital staff on the laptop and thus create more order in the documents. Everyone was very grateful for the help and always received suggestions and proposals positively. I worked during the night shift and at the end, when hardly any patients come anymore, Mama Rita tells a lot about life and traditions in Africa. She was open-minded and talked openly and honestly about all the problems and also taboo topics like AIDS and contraception. She was also very interested in how things work in Germany. We had the conversation because I was present during an abortion in the hospital. Dr. Cheruiyot also explained the treatments and why he prescribes which drugs to someone. Most of the patients had Malaria, respiratory infections or wounds.
The village of Timbwani
Together with Mama Rita I often went to the village of Timbwani and visited patients who had recently been treated in the hospital. The people there are very poor and - although the treatment in the hospital is taken over by the NGO- sometimes cannot afford the journey there. But the villagers are very open-minded and like to show you their sparsely furnished rooms, where often the whole family lives together. During such visits you have to get used to the word "mzungu", that is what many people call out to you. This is Swahili and means as much as "white" or "European".
Food & Washing
Mama Rita cooked for me every day. Although I mostly ate local food, I found it very tasty. Besides, Mama Rita always made sure that I had enough to eat and was very sad when I did not eat everything. I also cooked together with her and she also wanted to get to know European dishes and so we made pizza and apple pie. But that was not so easy without scales, mixer and oven, instead there was coal, and everything had to be mixed by hand.
Also, the washing was not as easy as I was used to in Germany. There are hardly any washing machines there, it is washed by hand. The Africans have learned this from childhood on and can wash very fast and yet thoroughly; I for my part found this very difficult and I was looked at! ;-)
A highlight of my stay was the safari. It was breathtaking how close you could observe the animals. I saw all kinds of animals: elephants, monkeys, giraffes, zebras, ... I made the safari together with other volunteers and I can only recommend to everybody to do one.
I also swam with dolphins in the Marine National Park and went on an excursion with a glass-bottomed boat on Diani Beach. The beach is beautiful and the snorkeling there is even more.
I often went to Mombasa to do some shopping or get some souvenirs. Usually someone from the hospital came along. The locals often try to charge more expensive prices from white people, so I was glad to have the company. So, one should be able to negotiate well.
In conclusion, it can be said that everybody welcomed me with open arms, and everybody was grateful for the help. It was an unforgettable time with many new impressions, and I would fly back to Likoni any time!
from Lisa Hero