Thursday, April 26, 2012


Sorry for not posting earlier, I have been busy here at Tenwek. I was planning on posting when I had heard back from the Kenya Society of Phsyiotherapists (KSP) so that should have been Tuesday but I had forgotten that I am now on Kenya time. I heard back from the KSP on Wednesday. After no news on Tuesday, I had e-mailed them a reminder and was therefore quite sure I would hear back on Wednesday.

On Wednesday I attempted to check my e-mail often, however the entire network was down, not a Tenwek problem but a safraricom problem. In order to get my results I called my sister who checked my e-mail for me – thankfully I was successful in all parts of the examination.  Through an e-mail mix-up by KSP I also know the other student was successful – so professional.

 I am very thankful that this exam was a success.  There is only one problem: I am required to do a four week practicum in Nairobi within in the next six months. The fact that I have to do a practicum is fine but the time constraint is frustrating. I have asked and been denied an extension, my Kenyan Physiotherapist friend, who I just met today, is going to ask for me as well.  I am hoping he will have success but otherwise it looks like I will be doing another trip to Kenya sometime in the fall, before THE TRIP in January (dv). Please pray that I have patience to deal all of this.

In the meantime, I have been busy this last week at Tenwek.  It has been wonderful to see everyone, from the missionaries and their families to the nurses at the hospital. It has been great to reconnect as well as see that many of the procedures I had put in place are still being followed. They are always using HME’s now and from what I can tell suctioning is being done sterile. This made me very glad. The hospital has a new unit called the HDU (High Dependency Unit), this is equivalent to an ICU step down and it is great to have the space. I also have spent some time going to CT, another new thing for Tenwek. After bagging my first patient here and having his SpO2 drop to the 70’s because all the oxygen tanks were empty I quickly set up an oxygen concentrator in the radiology dept.

I spent the week working at the hospital, I relearned how to use the Bear ventilator and reacquainted myself with patients suffering with meningitis, HIV and TB.

Tomorrow (Friday) I head home, I will be spending a week in Calgary and then back to Edmonton. I am sad to leave Tenwek but I am looking forward to not living out of a suitcase anymore.

I will end here with a picture for you of the beauty around Tenwek.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Learning Patience

I have just returned from my meeting with the Kenya Society of Physiotherapists. In similar fashion to my exam (which I will tell you about later in this post) it involved waiting.  The interview started only an hour late. In the interview I was told that I had successfully passed my exam – Praise the Lord. However, the written exam will not be the only condition by which my application is judged.

The interview today was many questions concerning my knowledge and skills. They have promised to give me the final results, via e-mail, on Tuesday.  Needless to say, I hope the internet at Tenwek is working well on Tuesday.
Now that I have you caught up in what you really want to know I will share with you what else I have been doing.
On Wednesday, I had my written exam.  It was a very interesting experience. I arrived at the college at 8:30am as I had been told. When I met the examiner he said “you're early just sit and wait”. So I sat and waited. At 9:00am someone else came who was also writing the exam so together we sat, chatted and waited. The waiting lasted until 10:40am when he finally brought the exams in. He apologized for being late and gave the explanation that he had been finishing creating my exam.

The exam was, thankfully, a lot of what I expected it did have a few wild card questions that made no sense but as it was multiple choice chances were good, and apparently I passed.  There was one question which gave me a blood gas PaO2 40/ PaCO2 60 /pH 7.36/ HCO3-24, from this I was supposed to decide if the patient had aspirated or was hypoventilating. I found that quite hard, if I got a gas like this I would throw it out, as it is impossible aghh.   

I finished the first paper quickly (big surprise there) and then waited from 11:15-1:15 when I could finally write paper two, which was only 30 questions and 10 of those questions were also on paper one??? It was an interesting ordeal but it is finished.  At the end I felt confident of success but over the next few days I did have some anxiety about the results.  I thank you all for your prayers and support it encouraged me throughout the process.
Aside from writing exams and studying, I have enjoyed my time in Nairobi. I am staying at the Mayfield guesthouse. Everyone here shares meals together and I have spent time in the lounge getting to know the other guests. I have also spent some time with a friend in Nairobi which has been great fun.
Tomorrow (Saturday) morning I am off to Tenwek.  I am excited to see everyone there.  So the next post will be written from my future(dv) home of Tenwek.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In Kenya

So here I am in warm and humid Kenya. The trip here went fine. The most exciting parts being getting to the airport in Calgary – really snowy and white-outs in April, and arriving in Nairobi. The middle part was a boring long plane ride full of airplane food, a good movie selection and failed attempts at studying. Coming over the desert was pretty and we saw the sun set. My seat mate, who was at the window, took a great picture for me.

Once I arrived at Nairobi I knew what was coming – the Visa line. So I got into line as quick as I could and I waited. I have a unique talent of always picking the slowest line, so an hour later I got the stamp on my passport and I was off to find my luggage. This had its own challenges as the power had just gone out so I pulled out my little pen light and found all my bags – they thankfully all made it. The advantage of the power being out was the customs people did not feel like looking through all my luggage (~200lbs). From here I met my driver and we took off to the Mayfield guest house, my home for my week in Nairobi.

Sunday was a great day. I spent the afternoon with my friend Patti. I have not seen her in over a year and it was great to spend some time with her. She also had fun taking me around Nairobi and watching me attempt to interact with the culture around me. Let’s just say she has some fun stories.

On Monday I met with the Physiotherapy Department at Kenya Medical Training College. We confirmed my exam date.  It has gone from what I first thought was a two day oral exam to a one morning written exam. I am okay with this. I was also able to tell him I specialize in things above the diaphragm so he promised to not test me on the rest. J
I will end my post here.  Please pray for me as I write this exam Wednesday morning.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


So as an interim post I though I would share some FAQ's with you

1. You have done your time why are you going back to Africa?

A.When I was a child I felt called to be a missionary this calling was lost to me when I got sucked into life (school, work, money) however this life was empty. Yes, I believe you can be a Christian living in North America, however I again felt the calling to do more. To share God's love to those who had not yet heard to serve those who are less fortunate and to heal the sick.

Time spent at the Baby Orphanage

2.Why Tenwek? Why not go somewhere else?

 A. There is more than one answer to this question, so in no particular order here they are: a few years ago when I started the search for a mission hospital to serve at I e-mailed many mission hospitals. Tenwek was the only one willing to take a Respiratory Therapist. Since they took the initial step I feel like I owe them.  I also have established a friendship with the community and understand how the hospital works. In leaving Tenwek I left a void best filled by an RT. God has given me the gift to fill this void and has called me to serve him to his purpose, to glorify God through the work being done at Tenwek.
My friend a Kenyan physician, who I orientated to the world of ventilators

3. Why two years?

A. My previous visit was 6 months which was much too short. Going for two years gives me an opportunity to go for language training, establish better patient care in the hospital, and get to know the people better. I have also said if you are going to go: go big or go home.
Two of the ICU nurses I worked with

4. Will you be paid this time?

A. My previous visit was funded out of pocket with the exception of a generous donation from my church. I was not paid. This time I will not be paid a salary however through funds raised through individual (yes like you) and churches all(dv) my expenses will be covered. Once(dv) I pass my exam I will receive the green light to start fundraising, and will share how to do that with you.

5. What have you been up to since coming back from Kenya?

A. Life, work and trying to figure out how to get back to Kenya. In August, I came to the conclusion that God was calling me back to Kenya. I then started the application process. This was unussually long for me as being a Canadian and an RT  made things overly complicated. Through a roundabout way I have ended up going through an arm of Samaritans Purse called World Medical Mission.
The Global Mission Health Conference in Kentucky, Nov 2011. 

6. What are you going to be doing until January of 2013?

A. Continue working to build up my savings. I will also be taking some misisonary training. I will be taking a week long course called Perspectives in May. In the fall I plan on attending 5 weeks of training in Colorado to  prepare me for living in a culture and learning a different language. I also will spend the next year raising support both prayer and financial.

I think that concludes the FAQ's portion of this post and coincidentally also updates you on everything.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A surprise

So here I am, blogging again, when I stopped blogging a year ago I said that’s it unless I have any more adventures in Kenya. I’m back and the adventures are right around the corner. I have discussed what’s going on with some of you but I am sure many of you have no clue so I will start at the beginning.

While in Kenya last year, the thoughts of returning were frequently on my mind. In conversation with experienced missionaries I was given the counsel to go home settle back into North American life and then make my decision. So last year when I came home I bought a car, went back to work full-time and rented an apartment. I spent time getting used to the comforts of my Canadian life. However I was not content.  I knew there was something more.  I spent time in prayer, and discussion with friends and family. Through this I came to the conclusion that God was calling me back to Kenya to serve for two years.

With the decision made, it was time to get to work. I applied to mission organizations; it took 3 applications before I could find an appropriate sending agency. I am working with World Medical Mission an arm of Samaritan’s Purse. Once an agency was found it was time to move forward however there were concerns about a licence for me to practice Respiratory Therapy in Kenya. A licence is necessary to get a work visa (last time I was a tourist), as well as keep Tenwek hospital on the level. Finding a licencing body was not easy as Respiratory Therapists don’t exist in Kenya. Through prayers and foot work of my Tenwek contacts an application was made to the Kenya Society of Physiotherapists to be a Cardio-respiratory physiotherapist. We are hoping that this is a close enough match to a respiratory therapist. Documents were sent to them and they were in agreement so only one stage in the application is left – the exam which I write in three weeks in Kenya

Yup, a surprise, I received the phone call last week that the exam had been scheduled and off to Kenya I must go. So time off work was granted (Thanks so much to my helpful manager) and flights are booked April 12.  I take off for a fifteen day whirlwind trip to Kenya. This trip will include the exam (over two days), an interview, meetings and a visit to Tenwek hospital.

I am very excited about this trip and even more excited that I am making progress towards the goal of being on Kenyan soil for two years starting January 2013. I ask for your prayers that the travel and the exam will go well and that I will be able to build a relationship with the Kenya Society of Physiotherapists, opening doors for Respiratory Therapy to grow in Kenya.

I will try to keep you all updated through this blog.  The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of preparation and it is quite possible that my next post will take place outside of Canada.