Monday, March 3, 2008

My month in Kenya

Just some reflections on my month abroad to the mountains of Kenya taken as part of an elective. As you may know I hate residency and my program in particular so my month abroad was a breath of fresh air. This was in spite of the fact that 1000+ civilians were killed just for belonging to the wrong tribe and I had to ignore an evacuation request from my overseas coordinator. So I either hate my residency so much that risking my life in a dangerous country was a needed break or the thrill of being in a volatile third world country, "got my juices flowing". The answer is obviously a combo but mostly the second.

So just a couple of blurbs noted from my particular region, the mounatins of western kenya; No electric, no TV, no landlines, and no cold beer.

Firstly while there were none of the obvious amentities noted above there was no shortage of smiles. This is on stark contrast to all the grumbling going on in our hospital myself included, which reinforces the expression, "money doesn't buy happiness".

Secondly there is no stopping soccer internationally. The children would wrap up discarded plastic bags tie them into a ball and you have 20 beaming children playing a competitive game of "football". This goes to such an extreme that even without formal electric some entrepreneurial individual bought a satellite dish, generator, and (warm) beer from some distance away and beamed in soccer games and news charging 7 cents admission to hopefully eventually turn a profit.

Thirdly people do not play the sick role as they do in the US of A. Everyday in the morning all the patients would walk or would be assisted into our field, hang out in the sun, and socialise until evening when they would return to the ward and retire for the night.

Sickness witnessed: Malaria, typhoid, dehydration, gun shot wounds.

Not witnessed: Fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, diabetes, or heart attacks.

Which country would I rather live in? Kinda hard to choose but I would be lying if I said I wanted to leave, almost cried when I left.