Hyenas, sanitation, and Longisa: a month in pictures (31/3/15)
We’ve had a good month…in the midst of the constant emergencies and daily unplanned people and technical/clinical issues requiring attention, it has been simultaneously wonderful and fulfilling. Some highlights from our last month:
Learning from each other: Andy and some of the Medical Gases Project team drove across the Rift Valley to Bomet (3 hours one way!) to visit a local government hospital and learn from their recent experiences installing a new oxygen plant and piping. They are about to start up a new ICU, and we swapped stories about keeping an ICU running in a resource-poor setting, with regular electricity and oxygen outages. A long drive, but incredibly valuable…and how often do you get the chance to dodge herds of Maasai cattle and zebra while driving?
On Fridays Mardi dons her stethoscope and gets to be a pediatrician for a whole day, doing her best to not be Medical Director so she can do what she loves: caring for patients. Sometimes getting photo bombed on the way out the door 🙂 Reserving 20% of her time for clinical work is a priority for her, as the never-ending leadership and management needs of the hospital will inevitably expand to fill the available time if she doesn’t.
Andy was privileged to lead a critical relationship alignment retreat between Bethany Kids and Kijabe Hospital these past two days. It was a holy and deep time. We are excited for what the future holds for these two organisations: together, they have funded and performed more than 10,000 life-changing surgeries in the name of Jesus for marginalised children in Kenya over the last decade. Imagine what the future holds! I greatly benefited from the assistance of Andrew and Elie at Alchimie Consulting in Australia, who helped me design the agenda.
Doing some risk management coaching via Skype from Kenya for some team leaders, currently on furlough in Germany. Truly the world is flat again. These team leaders will be the leaders of a team that Kijabe Hospital is partnering with AIM and SIM to launch in 2016 in a remote and volatile corner of Kenya. It was so interesting for me to take the risk management approach I learned on submarines and apply it to some prayerful planning with these guys. What risks can we avoid? What risks can we mitigate the affects of? Which risks must we simply accept?
Riley celebrated her 8th birthday this week! We are so proud of our brave and courageous princess. A sleepover with 3 friends = joy, nails, arguments, giggles, movie, 5:30am wakeup, desperate morning movie & friendship. And mommy and daddy survived, which was nice.
The Kenya Rural Roads Authority is in the middle of upgrading an alternate road from Kimende to Kijabe to be the primary access when the main road down the mountain is shut down during its reconstruction. Imagine the main hospital in your area having its primary access shut down for a year, with the alternate access to and from the hospital being via a single lane dirt road subject to rockslides, infrequent carjackings, and being washed away in heavy rainfall. That’s our alternate road for the next year. The contractors have already started to mobilise to start construction of our new road, and we hope they’ll finish sometime in the next decade 🙂
Our Sanitation Project is going gangbusters, and we’re looking forward to sending Hospital wastewater to the new treatment ponds (and not down the mountain where it currently goes!) starting in May. Commissioning of a new wastewater treatment plant is quite complex biologically, and will take around a year. We are incredibly grateful to the team at Inside Infrastructure in Adelaide, South Australia, who are helping us develop a Commissioning Plan, including how to ‘seed’ the new ponds with bacteria before we start sending all our wastewater to them. Today we had a video teleconference to work through some of the many technical details.
Our new dining room table, under construction by local carpenter, Isaac
We had a visit this month from good friend, champion of needy children and palliative care at Kijabe Hospital, great encourager and avid geocacher Julian Sporne. I don’t think he stopped smiling for the entire time he was here, even when his boat broke down and he was surrounded by hippos in Lake Naivasha!
It’s time for the long rains (March/April/May), and we might be the only people in Kenya praying for them to wait a week or two! We are laying the stone pitching for the floor and sides of the three wastewater treatment ponds, and it would be most helpful for completion of the Sanitation Project if the ponds did NOT fill up with water before they are supposed to 🙂
Sometimes you’re the hyena, sometimes you’re the hyena’s food. On a morning jog this month I came across the remains of a cow taken down by a hyena during the night, about 1 kilometre from the Hospital.