Six Years in Kenya (17/4/17)
Apr17

Six Years in Kenya (17/4/17)

This weekend, we have been celebrating and reflecting. Six years ago, on Easter weekend 2011, we arrived in Kenya after quitting our jobs and selling our house in Australia with a 4 & 2 year old in tow. Having read a few books, studied rudimentary Swahili and some of the cultural differences we could expect, we landed excited and filled with anticipation.  Our first lesson: don’t let your 4 year old sit on top of the...

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Six Years on Pediatrics: Looking Forward, Looking Back (15/4/17)
Apr15

Six Years on Pediatrics: Looking Forward, Looking Back (15/4/17)

Somehow, this April marks 6 years of us living in Kijabe.  And finally, this month at the hospital I have had a little space to breathe and recollect, as the national doctors’s strike finally ended after 100 days.  Patients are not so often coming to us as their 5th and final stop, too late to help.  I have had several shifts now without a child dying.  Which has meant a little space to be able to enjoy the big picture. We have...

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Announcing…a new eye hospital in Congo (27/3/17)
Mar27

Announcing…a new eye hospital in Congo (27/3/17)

Keen readers of this blog and our Steeres in Kenya Facebook page may have noticed my being circumspect about a major project I’ve been privileged to support over the last year.  Often in the development of a major charitable project, until the project is ready to be ‘launched’ for fundraising it’s kept under wraps so that launching and fundraising occur simultaneously–no small task when you have donors...

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Pipes, muck and eager young minds (22/3/17)
Mar22

Pipes, muck and eager young minds (22/3/17)

In 2015 I was approached by the leadership of Rift Valley Academy to help solve their decades-old issues with insufficient water supply and contamination issues.  500 hundred students attend the school, representing 30 nationalities with their parents cross-cultural work spanning across all of Africa and the Middle East – providing a clean water system for this community has an impact that is difficult to overstate. I agreed,...

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Hope, Part 3 (28/2/17)
Feb28

Hope, Part 3 (28/2/17)

It has been a big week.  The nursing strike at Kijabe made it clear that a change in leadership was necessary – and the hospital’s Executive and Nursing Directors were replaced.  Our new interim Executive Director, one of Kijabe’s pediatric surgeons, navigated a compromise, and by day 6 our nurses were back at work, doors were opened, and the hospital is again full of patients.  We are back to where we were a week...

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Shutdown (20/2/17)
Feb20

Shutdown (20/2/17)

Last night at midnight, for the first time in its 101 year history, Kijabe Hospital closed its doors to all but emergency and critical/ICU patients.  Profoundly frustrated over many issues, including a multiple-year failure of the hospital executive leadership and board to address their very low salaries and long hours, our nurses walked out mid-shift.  Patients abandoned – doctors, clinical officers and a handful of...

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Farewell (8/2/17)
Feb08

Farewell (8/2/17)

Since we started working in Kenya 6 years ago, I’ve learned is that a crucial (and often-overlooked or postponed) part of working through grief and loss is honest processing of difficult situations.  Part of acknowledging the pain of the overwhelming number of sick and dying kids we are seeing during the doctors’ strike is being emotionally honest about the impact.  I find that writing helps me deal with the death and...

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Hope, Part 2 (5/2/17)
Feb05

Hope, Part 2 (5/2/17)

This is Joseph.  Born with his intestines outside of his body (gastroschisis) 2 days after the national doctors’ strike started, but born at Kijabe where doctors and clinical officers and nurses were on standby for his birth.  Babies with this condition simply don’t survive in Kenya – but this week, on day 55 of his life and day 57 of the ongoing strike, he went home.  Mum and I could not stop smiling. Isaac was...

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What medieval monks can teach us about despair (3/2/17)
Feb03

What medieval monks can teach us about despair (3/2/17)

We sent out a letter to our partnership team a couple of days ago to update them on the current health crisis in Kenya and its impact on us.  If you are a partner and didn’t receive this, please let us know. The outpouring of encouragement we received back was heartening, reminding us again how much of a team sport our lives are here.   A few of our friends said something along the lines of ‘we just don’t know how...

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Hope (25/1/17)
Jan25

Hope (25/1/17)

Today, Brandon was born. 11 weeks too soon, 3 days after his mum’s waters broke.  550 grams (1 pound) in weight, urgently delivered by c-section.  As I stand near the operating theatre, the obstetric team hands me a bundle that is much smaller than we expect.  The clinical officer and I have agreed in advance – if he’s not breathing because he’s too small, we’ll try to help him breathe and see what...

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