Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life and a Miracle

This is what I see on my sunday afternoon walk

I love this tree I walk past it everyday on the way to work

I took this picture early in the morning when I was called in, the OR is behind the picture, ER is to the right and ICU is on the top left, bottom left is medicine and peds, see the ramps

I have not shared to much what life is like here living in Africa. Many things are the same here as they were back at home but than I think of everything that is different.

We have power here and it works most of the time, I have only really noticed two blackouts since my arrival and I don’t think they lasted to long. Power here is interesting and complicated. I am not sure why it was made so complicated but it is. ½ of the outlets in the house are 120V and the other ½ are 240V none of the plug-ins are North american style but instead we have three styles of outlet, which I think are the Great Britian style/Africa (are they the same?) and than small round ones (south Africa??) and than big round ones. Confused - I am. I think the Great Britain style ones are 120V but I am not positive. To plug in all my stuff - computer etc, we just use power bars, but I need to be careful with my equipment as some of it is only 120V and I do not want to blow it by plugging it in to a 240V. So that is an interesting part about living here.

Another difference here is the Water.  I do have central plumbing which is wonderful I find the bathroom sink interesting as there is one tap and spout for cold water and another tap and spout with hot water. I guess I wash one hand in cold water and one in warm water - good thing the water does not heat up to fast or I would get burnt. The water is treated here at Tenwek and I have been told by one of  the Doctors here that it is safe to drink however it can turn a lovely brown colour at times so I don’t think I want to. This water is treated with Alum? And therefore makes getting hair clean difficult. That is where the rainwater comes in. Rain water is collected of the roof into a large black tank, and our house helper filters this water and puts it in bottles. So to rinse my hair I boil some of this water dilute it with some cold rain water, yesterday I did not dilute it enough and nearly burnt my scalp, ouch. The rain water is also used for drinking, brushing teeth, and cooking. 

What else can I say about life here, the food. The locals, I am told, have a very bland diet of  rice, ugali (corn meal mixed with water) and other different foods, therefore there is not a safeway on every corner. We can grow and purchase some produce locally as well as a few staples I have not yet been to the grocery store in Bomet (the nearby town pronounced bow (as in bow and arrow) met). I was quite happy to find out that Coke is available right here at Tenwek, as well as Fanta and other grat drinks. I am currently trying my first bitter lemon (drink) and it is quite tasty. Many things we have to buy in Nairobi about a 3½ hour drive away this is where you can buy tomato sauce, soup mixes, cheeses,  etc. This makes cooking slightly more complicated as you have to make due with what you thought you would need when you did groceries 3 weeks (or 3 months) ago. However I am eating well and my plan of losing weight in Africa probably won’t happen .

The title of this Blog also includes the word miracle. I am sure there are those who are reading this who do not believe in miracles but the amount of sickness here it can not all be explained by medical care. I don’t think I have seen so many sick kids as I have seen in the last few weeks. Part of this may be attributed to the fact that I did not work at the children’s hospital and any sick kids would mean a call to the transport team and they would be taken off to the Stollery. Here we are it, the sickest kids either come to us or are sent to us by the nearby district hospital. Anyway on to the patient, a 14 month old child severely malnourished I am not exactly sure of the weight but this child is tiny. Came in and required a non rebreather mask to maintain an adequate oxygen level. This child was breathing at about 80-90/min and with such low muscle mass I am not even sure how that was possible. She had no energy to cry, nurse, or open her eyes. I was so worried that her body would just give up and she would stop breathing and die. This was her on Thursday and Friday as she was in the ICU. Through the grace of God she was able to pull through. Today she was transferred out to the pediatric ward. Now only on ½ LPM of oxygen. Still small and weak but she is whimpering, nursing and looking around. She still has a long way to go and I ask that you all pray for her, but I think a miracle has happened.
Well that is all for now


  1. Always good to read your blog. I hope you can continue to see the miracles and the beauty - and then share it with us. spot

  2. Annette,
    Thanks so much for the are living a dream of mine that I hope to one day, God Willing, fulfill. We are praying here that you will be used in ways beyond our imagingation!!

    Shanna Stolte

  3. Dear Annette,
    Yes , we do beleive in miracles. God moved your heart to go on this mission and we wish you the Lord's strength and blessings.
    Love Hans & Lena Visser