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Monday, June 25, 2012

Kenyans will be Kenyans

I only have one more week at CURE, and I feel like I still have so much more to learn. Something I have learned is that Kenya is very laid back, and sometimes disorganized. What hospital in the US would let undergrad students just sit in on a surgery?

And let me scrub in?

The hospital is very relaxed because that's how the Kenyan culture is. We have cerebral palsy patients come in on days that we don't have clinics, so those days are the most random schedules ever. In Kenya, they don't make appointments to see the physical therapist. They will be told to come back in a week, so sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Some days well be sitting in the rehab room and Mirriam will be checking email while I just sit around. I'll ask if we have any more patients for the day and most of the time she'll say, "I don't think so," or "we should have 2 more but since it's after lunch they probably won't come." It kind of drives me crazy, but it's totally normal in Kenyan culture. A lot of our patients come from far away and they have to wait until they have the money for transportation to come to the hospital. So appointments just don't really work here.

Kenyan culture is also very relaxed when it comes to privacy; At least when it comes to who is in the room while a patient is being seen. CURE's rehab room is literally about the size of my dorm room at Asbury.

That doesn't stop them from putting up to 3 families in here waiting to be seen. Like I said, no privacy. And it's not unusual for the therapists to answer their phone in the middle of an appointment and have a full out conversation in front of the patients. I can't help but laugh every time it happens. In America you just wouldn't even think about answering your phone when your with a patient. But like I said, Kenyan culture is very relaxed and I don't think that's changing anytime soon. Kenyans will be Kenyans. 

Our clinics are not much more organized, but they are much more fast pace, and we see a lot of patients. Fridays we have our clubfoot clinic, so we see about 30 babies and children with clubfoot. I think those days are my favorite! We see some really cute kids :)

Although I tend to get frustrated with the disorganization in the hospital, I love how easy going and loving everyone is. I feel like I can ask to do anything and they will let me try (within reason of course). Right now for example, I am sitting in the OR waiting to see a surgery because we don't have any patients in physical therapy. It's only because of their laid back attitude that I can have most of the experiences that I've been having here in Kenya. My slightly type A personality wants to schedule my whole time here, but what would be the fun in that? 

CURE International genuinely loves the children they treat and they will do everything in their power to make sure their patients get the best care available. I hope that wherever I end up one day that I can bring this same attitude. 


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