Sunday, February 18, 2018 – “Weekend Highlights” by Susan Czyzo

Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, was the location of our weekend activities. The Nyaburi Integrated Primary School and the adjacent hospital in Kendu Bay was where you could have found us, to be more exact. Staggered starts allowed those who wished to spend the morning restoring their energy banks to do so, while the early group hit the road around 9am. We’ve learned over the last few days that drives are as much a part of the experience in Kenya as being at the destination itself and today was no exception. There’s never a shortage of things to take in, be it people always on the move along the roadside; towns setting up for their weekly market; or even a very long and bumpy, off-road stretch of road. It’s become something to look forward to, believe it or not.

When we arrived at the Nyaburi school, a Saturday worship was already underway. As has been typical here in Kenya, we were welcomed very warmly by the students, a local choir and those presiding over the service. We then accepted the invitation to actively participate in the service and before we knew it, Joyce was doing a reading, Karen introduced a hymn, and Keith shared a spiritual lesson with the children through a story. For the record, Keith has since been designated as the group’s unofficial story-teller, after he impressed us with his skills!

Following another deliciously prepared lunch, this time at the guest house on the grounds of the hospital, we met Tamari, a former nurse educator, for a tour of the hospital. Somehow, we almost missed seeing the physiotherapy department! The consensus was that the space was outdated and much smaller than what we’re used to by Western standards. Overall, the hospital was clean, had several departments, and surgical and maternity wards.

On Sunday we returned to the school, this time to assist the in-house rehabilitation team with therapy development for the newly admitted students as well as to consult with them on more complex cases. We worked with physiotherapist Bernard and occupational therapist, Daril, to accomplish these two tasks. Once again, we tested the waters outside our comfort zones, meeting children with clubfeet, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and scoliosis, addressing strengthening, fine motor skills, positioning for feeding, and wound care, to name just a few. We were humbled by the work that Bernard and Daril do at this school on a daily basis.

Working diligently in the background once again was Joyce, on camera duty, and George, back at attempting to repair assistive devices. Joyce, as she floated around helping us with intake photos and many other tasks, had the pleasure of observing the scene from a distance. She was overcome with emotion when asked to recall her most memorable moment from the weekend: seeing the level of care and concern in the parents of a developmentally challenged little boy. She was especially moved by the way the father participated in the session with the therapy team, as most often than not, it is the mother who is solely involved in the care of a child with disabilities.

Rounding out the weekend, was a song and dance performance by a group of children from the school. Their colourful and vibrant performance definitely helped us fight off those post-lunch energy lows and take us through our drive back to the hotel.