Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Huruma Slums Clinic Day

Today we drove out to the Huruma slums of Nairobi. What an experience. All the cars, trucks, animals, and people coverged into one chaotic torrent going every which way. The roads are so worn and full of deep holes that it is a wonder we didn't lose a tire. Smells of cooking meats took turns with smells of human waste, exhaust fumes, and garbage wafting into our windows.  Once we were actually in the slums, we were instructed to close our windows to prevent people from reaching in to take belongings.

The slums are gated, and the roads are very narrow.  Not to mention they are littered with trash, people, goods, and children playing.  I have a newfound respect for our drivers, who are also our guides. After squeezing our 3 vans through a winding maze, we arrived at the Ark Childrens School, home to 355 kids. We were met with grateful teachers and excited students.  Our first mission was to give deworming medication to all the students.  While they had sour faces for us due to the not so great taste of the medication, their frowns turned to smiles when they were given a piece of candy, a rare commodity.

Next we grouped off into 3 rooms where we saw all the sick children, and a pharmacy room to dispense the treatment. Then the children came flooding in. In just a few hours, together we examined and treated around 100 children and adults for a wide varity of ailments.  We saw scabies, tinea capitus, folliculitis, skin infections, fractures, lice, malaria, molescum contageosum, ear infections with perforated ear drums, tonsillitis, ring worm, pneumonia, pharyngitis, urinary tract infections, and prenatal cares. I was in the pharmacy and it was very busy. All the children were ushered in for their medication with eager outstretched hands.  The 4 hours we were at the school flew by.

Afterward the ladies of the community invited us up to check out their hand sewn bags and purses.  Most of us had to take home a gorgeous colorful hand sewn souvaneir, for an unbeatable price to boot.  Before our journey home the school leaders, and our entire team took up hands and said prayers and thank you's.

After our long day we were all famished. Four of us attempted to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the back of the van while driving. The roads were so bumpy and wild, it was like making sandwiches on a roller coaster. Our ride back to the hotel was long, rough, and congested. It was rush hour in Nairobi and the roads which were usually crowded were now a discombobulated cluster of chaos. Single lane roads turned into 3-4 lane roads of cars, trucks, people, and bicicles going every which way. Finally after battling traffic for a few hours we arrived back at our hotel, ready for evening dinner.  Tonight will be a refreshing hot (hopefully) shower, and a good night's sleep to get us ready for a new adventure tomorrow. Tomorrow we will be traveling, and internet access may be sporadic. We will try to update the blog if possible.   - Jen Rieger

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