Recent Posts

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Can Do All Things

Now that the wheelchair training is over, I have been able to shadow the PT's in their natural environment. It's only been two days in the clinic and I'm learning so much! It's incredible how much they trust me to do things on my own! Mirriam and I were evaluating a baby girl only 5 days old yesterday, who was born with bilateral club foot. She had me fill out the assessment form, and told me that she would teach me how to do the assessment. So today, she gave a book and now I'm reading all about the treatment of congenital clubfoot! During the same clubfoot assessment, Mirriam told me that I would start casting on my own too. Like seriously?

Baby Annah (5 days old): before and after casting

Today I was reminded once again that I would be casting on my own... starting tomorrow!! 

Everyday I have to remind myself that God does not put me in situations that I can't handle. I definitely feel inadequate at times, but through the grace of God I am reminded that He makes me adequate. I guess we'll see tomorrow how adequate I really am :) 
I have to share some pictures of the precious kids we've been seeing! I'm having a hard time choosing which kids to put up, so sorry (but not sorry) if you get tired of looking at pics!

Esther and I after her couseling with the PTs. She has her lower legs amputated tomorrow. 

Antony and I during his traction. I think he's posing for the camera :) Antony is a CUREkid. Read his story!

Cute little Mary. She was SO excited to see a mzungu (white person).

Splendor after her surgery. Look at that face! 

Mbuti after his surgery yesterday! Mbuti is a CUREkid. Follow his story!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Kenyan Life

I got certified in wheelchair assessment and prescription

And I went to my first Kenyan football game

(yes, this girl is wearing a cheerleading skirt and her football jersey as a cape...)

It was a good day. It's kinda crazy, but I'm starting to get used to life in Kenya. As John (our Kenyan friend that hangs out at our house) walked me to the football game, I saw two people on the street that I knew just from going to the dukas and hanging around the hosptial. I'm feeling so blessed to be meeting such wonderful people. For dinner we had two missionary girls over. They're working with the IDP (internally displaced people) camps in the Rift Valley and it was just really great to meet more mzungu's (white people) and to hear some great testimonies. I'll elaborate more once I can process everything a little more. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Smiles All Around

I got to see patients today!! What a learning experience. If you have never seen a pressure sore (aka bed sore), consider yourself lucky. But once I got past some of the sights and smells, I had a great time! James and I got to send Mwangi, a 19 year old paraplegic, home with a wheelchair! 

Now Mwangi can get to school on his own, and he will finally have the chance to live independently! 

"And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." Luke 9:2

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Building Relationships

Doing an internship with CURE has been a dream of mine for a long time, and it's definitely a dream that God has given to me. The internship was my primary reason for coming to Kenya, but it certainly wasn’t the only reason. My main focus while I’m in Kijabe is my job since I’m in the hospital from 8am to 5pm, and much of my evenings include making and eating dinner, working out, having some quiet time with the girls, and finding quiet time by myself. But that’s not all I hope to be doing with my time here with CURE. The whole CURE International organization emphasizes both medical and spiritual healing equally. Spending time with the children and parents in the ward and building relationships within the hospital staff is so important, and I have to try hard sometimes to make sure I’m actually doing that. Building relationships with the staff isn’t very hard at all actually since Kenyans are notorious for being welcoming (and they most definitely have been)! I’ve only been with the PT staff for 3 days, and just through the wheelchair conference this week I have come to love the people I get to work with and we are becoming great friends. It cracks me up how sarcastic and joking they are with me, especially the girls.

Just look at this lovely group of PT’s J

Here is the wheelchair that David (CURE's PT assistant) and I built today.

Showing love to the kids that may feel broken, unwanted, and ignored can bring so much healing. Eternities are changing every second, and I keep praying for the kids in the ward that they would see something different in me and the other staff. I encourage you to pray with me that they would see the joy that comes from Christ in the way we love them and maybe they would want that same joy. The hospital chaplain lead devotions for the conference yesterday and she talked about Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again; Rejoice.” We are to rejoice for the joy that the Lord has given to us! Something she said that I really loved was that we are not happy FOR every circumstance, but we are happy IN every circumstance. We have a choice to make. We can choose joy, or we can choose sorrow. I will choose joy. For the joy of the Lord is my strength. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Adventures

The internet has been out all weekend, so today I finally get to share with you all what I've been up to!

Saturday, Lauren took us for little tour of Kijabe and then Haley and I went for our first run here in Kenya. Let's just say it took our breath away. Literally. Kijabe is about 7,000 ft above sea level, so the lack of oxygen has you out of breath when your just walking up the hill to the dukas (stores). We're working on it! After our run we took the ENOs out to the porch of the ENT house to read until it started pouring down rain. Just look at that view!

On Sunday we went to our first church service about an hour late, but the part that we were there for was great! The pastor talked about how big God's love is, which is humbling to hear from a Kenyan when your on a missions type of trip. It's so amazing to think about just how big God is when your in an other part of the world. He created all of creation, even the friendly spiders we find in our kitchen just about everyday. After church went up to RVA, which is a school for missionary kids, to watch Lauren play volleyball. Some of my Asbury friends know RVA very well :)

Haley and I went for a run up at the RVA soccer (football) field. Please just look at the view behind this field that we can look at while we run. Beautiful!

Later Sunday night Haley went back up to RVA for their Sunday night service because a former Asbury Prof, Mr. Reincheld was speaking! He was Janah's (my roommate) french prof and his wife worked in the health clinic at Asbury. It's definitely nice to know some more faces around here.

Today, I finally started work in the hospital! The physical therapy department is having a wheelchair conference all week thanks to the a group that is donating wheelchairs to hospitals all over Kenya and other countries in Africa. They are here to train the staff in how to assess a patient who may need a wheelchair, how to determine what kind of wheelchair will be best for them, and how to fit and assemble a chair themselves. In Africa, they just give away any wheelchairs that they have available because they are so hard to come by. This causes major pressure sores and other problems that end up hurting the patient more in the long run. I get to be a part of the conference, so by the end of the week I'll be certified too! I'll be so ready to work with patients at the end of the week, but I have to say that this is kind of interesting stuff haha! They also showed us the workshop where they make prosthetics for the CURE patients. (This is for you LeeAnn!)


Well my computer is about to die, and I have a long day of training again tomorrow, so until next time, Kwaheri (good-bye)!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hands On

Here are some pictures from the hospital yesterday! 

Painting nails in the ward with the mommas

Me, Haley, and Lauren hanging out with "Mr. Bones" in the O.R. lounge

I probably won't be posting this often all the time, but after I posted yesterday I ended up finally getting to meet with the rehab staff! I'll be working with Miriam, Elvis (yes, his name is really Elvis), and Mary in the smallest rehab room I have ever seen. I met mostly with Miriam to talk about what I'll be doing and I got super excited and a just a little bit nervous. As I think most of you reading this know, I am starting my senior year of undergrad in August, which means I have no real PT training except for what I've seen in my practicum and the few times I was in therapy myself. I tried to explain this to Miriam, but the system in Kenya is a little different, and I think she was kind of confused haha. In Kenya, if you want to become a physical therapist, you go to secondary school (which is the same as our high school) and then you go right into a 3 year physical therapy program. Trying to explain to her that the only training I've really had so far was in science and basic biomechanics made her think I was still in secondary school. Explaining undergrad was kind of tough, but I think she sort of sees what I was getting at. Even without hardly any PT experience she wants me to help her with strength training, mobility exercises, as well as cleaning wounds, removing casts and re-casting, and removing screws after surgery. I said I wanted hands on experience, and boy am I gonna get it! Like I said, excited but nervous.

It's going to be such a wonderful experience and I just love that I get to share it with you all! Being here with some great friends that I've already made and getting to see the precious little kids everyday is such a blessing. God has provided more than I could have ever imagined and He is just confirming my call to be here everyday. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Prayer requests:
- Continue to build relationships with the girls I'm living with and the hospital staff. Finding community is so important!
- That my relationship with the Lord would be strengthened everyday.

- Internet is up and running! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

So, here is my home for the next 7 weeks!

A lot happened between leaving South Jersey and arriving at the “yellow house,” so here it is. Okay, so I flew from Philadelphia to London, where I had a 4-hour layover before my next flight into Nairobi. While waiting in my terminal in London, a Kenyan woman approached me and asked about the CURE t-shirt I was wearing. I told her that I would be working at the CURE hospital in Kijabe for about 2 months, and she said her husband works for CURE! Today, I walked into the OR at the hosptial and met Dr. Mbugue, who when I told him my name was Cassie said, "Oh! You met my wife in London!" Crazy.

I arrived in Nairobi about 9pm Wednesday night, where I was expecting to be picked up by someone from the hospital with Haley. Haley is a junior at the University of South Carolina planning on going to school to become a physician’s assistant. We are both doing internships with CURE for the same amount of time, which is really comforting! I found Haley in the airport after we got our bags, but then the man that was there to pick us up was not from the hospital. He is employed by CURE to transport people from Nairobi to Kijabe, or in our case, to a hotel in Nairobi. So, we ended up staying the night in Nairobi, and then David came and picked us up in the morning to bring us to our final destination. Now I thought that we would be staying at the ENT house, which is a big guesthouse owned by CURE just down the road from the hospital, but we are actually staying with Lauren in the “yellow house” right on the hospital campus. Lauren is the CUREkids coordinator here in Kenya, so she will be here for a year. You can see the CUREkids on the CURE website here. Here are the three mzungu's! (Me, Lauren, and Haley)

So,  thank you to the lovely Lauren that invited us into her home for 2 months! Here is my room:

And here is the downstairs kitchen and living area:

We are basically at the top of a mountain that looks over the Rift Valley and it is beautiful! Here is a picture, but it doesn’t do it nearly the justice it deserves. It’s just amazing.

It’s also the rainy season right now, so Haley and I got to nap during a huge thunderstorm yesterday afternoon. It was kind of great. I was told that I should have brought rain boots (which I was planning on bringing, but totally forgot!), so I think we are planning a little trip into Nairobi. The three of us have actually been planning our free time quite a bit and I have to say that I’m super excited for what Kenya has to offer! For now though, I’m just super excited to get started on our schedule at the hospital and meet the physical therapist I’ll be working with. Today we went to work with Lauren in the operating room, but there were no surgeries today so we've been hanging out in the doctors lounge, taking pictures of the kids in the ward, and panting nails for the moms and little girls.

Hopefully next week I'll be starting in PT, but for now I'm just getting used to the area and meeting the hospital staff. Kenyan's are so welcoming and they are all so excited to make us feel at home here!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have exactly one more week in the good-ol' USA until I leave for Kenya. So how am I preparing? I'm spending time in the Word, eating a lot of food, and sleeping as much as I can! God is so good and I can't wait to see what He has in store for this summer. Just to give you all a visual of where I'll be, here is a picture of the hosptial I'll be working at. Of course I'll have more pictures when I actually get there :)
A missionary friend of mine shared her life verse in chapel last semester, and I've held onto it as my verse going into this trip.
"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." - Isaiah 45:2-3
I encourage you all to please pray for me as I go, and if you feel led, you can donate toward my trip here.