New Project

October 26, 2013 - Mombasa, Kenya


My six new colleagues were waiting for me since September but thanks to the Kenyan communication habits, I reported to work one week after I arrived.

It’s a small Dispensary. It is meant to be a district hospital, but the required staff is not yet employed.

They welcomed me warmly and are the friendliest co-workers one can wish for.

I don’t have a lot of work to do. I’m just helping here and there, which is fine. I’m never bored because of the fun I have with my two best friends. One of them is the P.H.O. (Public Health Officer). Most of the time I go for fieldwork with her. Meaning we have to inspect schools and small shops or kitchens, if everything is in order and clean. If a toilet is available for example.

One time I have been told to greet all the students. Suddenly I found myself in front of many big eyes staring at me and they wanted me to sing for them. Spontaneous moments like this build up my strength.

I’m being asked many questions when we sit for our lunch-break. That sort of questions: “do you have cows, maize, farming, poor people, prostitution, Aids and mob justice in your country?” “Why don’t you wear school uniforms, why don’t you drink tea with milk, why don’t you sing your national anthem in school?” or “what -you know how to clean utensils? You also have sick people in Germany? But I’m sure no bacterial infections…?”

Most of the work that the nurses here do (there is no doctor) is to consult patients on family planning, which is hard. Young people are not expected to have intercourse and many contraceptives have the stigma of burning the ovaries or making one infertile.

Break-time at work means reading newspaper, since the news at home don’t get much attention. Much info I’m getting is upsetting me. A pupil caned to death by her teacher because she failed exams. Or the question “is it ok to marry a girl from another tribe?” Something unbelievable for my eyes: A man who has five wives and with them 30 children.

The most-exciting incident was to watch a delivery. I saw how the nurses did the whole process of delivering a child without many instruments. It was a great moment.

I’m looking forward to the remaining two months.


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