Thursday, January 21, 2010
first few days
The flights here were easy except for the layover because I was scared to fall asleep for fear of sleeping through the boarding for my flight. I was lucky and for both flights I had an entire row to myself! Upon arriving, I breezed through customs and security and Kathleen, a woman from Boston who arrived two weeks ago and will be staying for a minimum of two years was waiting at the airport for me with Amani’s driver, Leonard. They brought me straight to Hostel Hoff where I got into my bed feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. The first night was really rough because I was so tired and felt homesick. I couldn’t believe that I had came to this place all by myself without Lauren or without Jill, Syd, Cols, Anne or Sheena. I was lying in bed wishing that I hadn’t come solo and was hoping maybe Annie could try to come visit at the end of the week instead of a few months from now. I was nervous about not being able to wake in time for my ride to Amani because I could not figure out how to use my alarm clock…little did I know that nature would take care of that for me. I was up four hours prior to when my alarm would’ve gone off…before the sun even came up…because the roosters were outside crowing (very loudly) even before the crack of dawn. As I was lying in bed trying to ignore the crowing I rolled over to find a lizard staring at me from the floor of my room but that was nothing compared to what Laura, another girl at the hostel found under a mattress. She found a family of mice living underneath her bed!!
The children at Amani are amazing. I will explain more about how the children’s home works later but my computer is running out of battery and I am scared to try to mess with the outlet because I just got shocked really badly from it…my whole arm was shaking when the electricity traveled up it and it really really hurt I started screaming and then it finally stopped but for now I would rather let my battery die then mess with it.
Yesterday Anna and I took five of the boys to the clinic for entry physicals. The doctor didn’t even talk to the kids but asked Anna what was wrong with them. He then wrote down what tests he wanted run and we went to another room with the boys where the tech did ALL of the work. She took the boys blood, and depending on what test they were having done she either used a metal lancet to prick their finger or a syringe to draw their blood, none of which she wore gloves for. Then the boys gave stool samples and urine samples and the tech took it all to a room in the back (I went with her to watch) where she centrifuged the urine and blood and put everything onto slides. She showed me some of the abnormal results under the microscope. She diagnosed what each boy had by observing the specimen under the microscope and then wrote the results down on their papers. The doctor then saw what she wrote and decided what to prescribe them and did not explain anything to the boys even though they were curious as to what was wrong with them. Two or three of the five of them have malaria, one has worms, and one has a UTI, two of them were healthy. We had to hang around the clinic for a while waiting for the Amani car to come back to get us and the boys were trying to teach me Swahili and playing with my hair. We were also playing hand games like miss mary mac but that was the only one I could remember enough to teach them. One of the boys has been writing words for me in English followed by the Swahili word and then quizzing me on it. We also found a really cool lizard and they took my point and shoot camera to take pictures of it. I had no idea that they would figure out how to view old photos but when I remembered that the pictures from new years and from home were still on my camera I went to see what they were doing…of course they are staring at the picture of one of my friends (not mentioning any names but you know who you are) making out with a boy on new years. Super embarrassing that they saw that…but atleast the picture was not of me.
When we got back to Amani one of the boys all of the sudden starting feeling really sick. He was dizzy and felt nauseous and within five minutes looked pretty sick as well. He was lying on the bed, really lethargic and crying when he was completely fine and happy fifteen minutes earlier. I sat with him and rubbed his back. We gave him his malaria medication right away and by the time Anna and I left he seemed to be doing much better, not sure if it was form TLC or from the medicine but it was good to see him feeling better.
Also, yesterday one of the social workers, Happy, had to take one of the girls from Amani’s ten month old baby girl to another orphanage that takes babies. It was sad to see this adorable happy little baby be taken from her mom but her mother isn’t capable of caring for her and Amani is not set up for infants.
Before I left America the Grille’s gave me the animal shaped bracelets that are really popular with kids in the US right now. The children at Amani (and the staff) are amazed by these bracelets…if anybody knows where to buy these and wants to send me 90-100 of them to give out to each child they would absolutely go crazy! I will post my address sometime soon but not right now and if anyone is up for doing this if they will fit in an envelope as opposed to a package that would be much cheaper for me to receive and much easier for me to get.