Week 3 Kijabe, Kenya

February 20th, 2018 by emilymyers
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Monday was another successful dessert night. I find myself looking forward to the fellowship with the old volunteers and meeting the new volunteers that are arriving weekly. It has become a Monday night routine and I am realizing how attached I have become to these people and how hard it is going to be to leave this place at the end of next week.


This week was my last week in the outpatient pediatric clinic. Debra my clinical officer (CO) is absolutely amazing. She has taught me so much the past two weeks and I am extremely sad to be leaving her service. She always makes me take chai even though she knows I don’t like it. I think she thinks I will eventually start liking it, but it has been three weeks and I still don’t like the chai. We had another really busy week in the clinic. There were too many patients to try to recall everything I saw this week, but I was able to see my first encephalocele.


During my time here I’ve made friends with another medical student, Ashely Parkk and the pathologist, Jose Mantilla. We have been doing most of our weekend activities as a group and started having family dinners last week and this week. Jose does most of the cooking and Ashley and I do most of the eating, but its nice to have some company and get together for dinner and good conversation.


Saturday,  I set up a pottery class with a local artisan, Obadiah. Ashley, Ashley’s host family, Julia, and I took a taxi to Naivasha and attempted to make a bowl, mug, cup, ect. The potter pretty much helped us all, so that our pieces didn’t look like something made by a 4 year old. I had a lot of trouble throwing my clay on the wheel to where it wouldn’t fall off. My particular slab of clay fell off the wheel four times before I could finally get a mug made. I commend these men for their talents and artistry and hope to take some pottery classes when I return to the states. If you’re reading this and you decide to come to Kijabe make sure to check out Fired Earth pottery. Obadiah is one of the sweetest men I have met and welcomes anyone into his shop for classes or just to buy hand made pottery to take home! Sunday, Ashley and I took a taxi into Nairobi and went to an Ethiopian restaurant for lunch. It was phenomenal! We then decided to go to the local Maasai market. We shopped, we bargained, and definitely had a successful day out.




Week 2 Kijabe Kenya

February 12th, 2018 by emilymyers
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Week two started off great. Every Monday night the long term volunteers and physicians host dessert night at one of their homes. It is a time to get to know each other and provide a means of fellowship for everyone. This week someone made the most amazing ginger snap cookies I have ever tasted, and the son of the family was the DJ and played Michael Jackson the entire time.


I also started this week in the outpatient pediatric clinic. Unlike the clinics in the US, the physicians here only see newborns to age 5 and after age 5 they are usually sent to the family medicine clinic. It has been a whirlwind to say the least. I am seeing so much pathology. Of course, we still see common things like asthma, URTI, constipation, and ear infections but I also have seen some pathology I have yet to see in the US. Another major difference in the clinic here versus the US is that the person working the clinic also sees the pediatric patients that come to casualty (the ED) and does the workup on the patient prior to handing off to the inpatient team.


With this system, I was given the opportunity to perform three lumbar punctures on patients with presumed sepsis. I saw a child with organophosphate poisoning that was unable to be immediately admitted due to the inability to pay the deposit, which was extremely difficult to wrap my mind around. I’ve seen coccygeal teratomas, multiple imperforate anuses, and numerous cleft lips/palates with malnutrition, TB, and a large CP population. I never expected the outpatient setting to be so diverse.


I ended the week with multiple hikes. Saturday we hiked Hell’s Gate, took a boat ride on lake Naivasha, and hiked around Crescent Island. Hell’s Gate was breathtaking. We hiked down into the gorge. Of course, I slipped off the rocks into the water but it didn’t matter because the views were worth every bit of my wet, squishy socks and shoes. The boat ride was peaceful, relaxing and we got to see more hippos. We finished the day with Crescent Island. It’s hard to imagine ever going to a zoo again after this trip. As we hiked around the island we walked next to giraffes, gazelles, wildebeests, and zebras roaming freely. The views from the island were beautiful and it was the perfect end to the day.


Sunday was spent hiking the volcano, Mt. Longonot. This was the most physically taxing experience I have ever endured. The hike to the rim and all the way around the rim was 5 ½ hours. I initially thought the climb to the rim was extremely difficult; little did I know that the hike around the rim would be even more difficult. Even though it was challenging, I learned that I could push my limits a lot farther than I expected, I am tougher than I thought, and that facing my slight fear of heights was extremely scary at the peak of the volcano but with God anything is possible. The experience and the views were worth every drop of sweat that day.


Recently someone told me, “Wherever you are, be all there.” I try to remember this each day and focus on living in the moment to make the most of what little time I have here.

Week 1 Kijabe, Kenya

February 12th, 2018 by emilymyers
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My first week, I felt slightly out of place and as though the medical knowledge base I had established thus far had not nearly prepared me for my time here. The variations in the abbreviations they use, the equipment, the medications, and the pathology all seemed foreign to me. I had a lot of learning to do, but what better way to learn than outside of my comfort zone. I spent my first week in the HDU/ PICU. I was seeing things I have never seen in the US, such as bilateral hydatid cysts in the lungs of a 5 year old, TB meningitis, a bedside exchange transfusion for neonatal jaundice that was performed by the intern. Interns, medial officers, and clinical officers are expected to do their own labs, walk them to the lab to be processed, and pick the results up from the lab. I was taking my own patients and allowed to come up with my own plan, implement it, write orders, and perform labs as needed for my patients.


Later that week Julia, one of my roommates, took me to the Supa Duka and nearby market. I had been living off of peanut butter and Bevita breakfast bars since I arrived. I think God knew I needed someone to show me the ropes and let me know that their first week was as difficult to navigate as I felt mine had been. Luckily, the next day was Friday and I was going to Maasai Mara Safari club for the weekend with some of the other volunteers.

Saturday morning came and we were headed for the safari. On our way there we stopped at a Maasai community village. We spent about an hour learning about the Maasai culture. It was extremely interesting to see the way that the families in the community live and how they provide for each other.


The safari was absolutely amazing. The hotel was more luxurious than I had imagined. I slept in a tent near the river and could hear the hippos all day and night. We saw 4 of the big 5 animals during our 3 days of “game rides”. I was also able to experience ugali with beef stew, which was very difficult to eat with my bare hands. I felt extremely grateful for this week and the experiences I have had thus far.

Introducing Myself

December 22nd, 2017 by INMED
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Hello! My name is Emily Myers. I am a medical student at A.T. Still University-KCOM, and I’m starting my INMED service-learning experience at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya beginning in January 2018.