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Kiara's Amazing Travels

HIV / AIDS volunteer work

KENYA | Thursday, 30 July 2009 | Views [751]

Hey everyone,

Long long time since I've spoken to most of you and really missing you all!! I've been a very busy girl the past few weeks and haven't really had access to the internet so it's been hard to keep in contact. I moved from my old placement at the orphanage to a new placement working in a medical clinic. It was originally supposed to be working specifically with HIV and AIDS victims but we have been doing a lot of different things as well. I am living with another local family – Rachael and her two children Eddie and Talia, who are all lovely and very welcoming. I'm also living with 5 other volunteers – 2 girls and 3 guys who are all really cool and I've been having a great time with.

So for the past few weekends and my traveling experiences.....

We went down to the coast for a weekend with a group of 11 people, ended up turning into a week of drinking, swimming, lounging and eating lol. I've been learning some good new drinking games, with disastrous and hilarious consequences, hopefully I can teach you all when I get back!!! Also went on a day trip down to 14 falls – literally 14 waterfalls in a semi circle, was beautiful. I ended up diving off one of the cliffs into the swimming area below – mind you I had to get one of the local guys to hold my hand and jump with me lol. My birthday weekend was spent in Kisumu which is in Western Africa. Highlight was fishing on Victoria Lake with some local guides while we watched hippos coming up for air around us!!! Spent that night playing drinking games and getting drunk for my b'day celebration which was too much fun. Ended up in the pool very early in the morning - just see photos for all the chaos and craziness. For my b'day we spent some time in one of the virgin rainforests in the area and then doing a repeat of the night before lol. I just got back from an amazing week in Rwanda with one of the guys Scott. I'll do a separate blog for that as we experienced a lot in that time.

So more about the WEMA medical and maternity clinic that I'm volunteering at now. On my first day I started mixing medications and making injections for the doctors and nurses. I saw a 5 year old girl have stitches in her forehead – and for all of you who know how much I hate needles you would have been very proud of me. I've been down and visited some local people who are suffering from HIV, to give encouragement and support and in return we have heard some heartbreaking and eye opening stories. I also gave my first intravenous injection to a patient with malaria (I didnt inject the needle just the medication which is very painful and was pretty hard for me to do.) There is another patient who originally had a cut on his ankle and instead of going to a doctor decided to try herbal medicine. I don't know who told him to do this, but for some reason he thought it would be a good idea to cover the wound in cow dung. He then proceeded to sit at home for 3 months while it got infected and he basically now has half his ankle missing. We have to help dress and clean the wound everyday– while looking at the bones and where the tendon should have been. I'm happy to say he is doing a lot better now, it's starting to heal quite well and he really appreciates our help (especially when I go around with fruits and veggies for him to eat!!!!)

Now for the most exciting bit. I helped in the delivery of a baby boy!!! WOW – the most intense experience of my life. I have to set the scene for you first. This is not a rich medical clinic, it's in the heart of a slum, is very basic and not always hygienic. The mother was only 18 and in labour with her first child. Along with her moaning and cries of pain, we could hear the bleating goats outside the open door!!! She was on her own, her husband had dropped her off and gone to work so we were the only comfort she had...THIS IS AFRICA RIGHT!! The only way I could help during the labour was to massage her lower back and buttocks to help relieve the pain. The poor girl wasn't able to have any pain killers so it got pretty intense towards the end. I have to say when the head came out – it was seriously the freakiest thing I've ever seen, then the baby just slipped out!! I cut the umbilical cord and we helped wrap the baby up and clean up everything else afterwards as well. I learnt a lot from this experience – especially that an epidural will definitely be on my list if I ever have children and my husband better be there to hold my hand!!!

There have been a lot of other things we've been doing but it would take too long to go through everything for you. I've been helping out by donating some money for food and some medication for children, majority of people can't afford pain killers so it can be really hard to watch procedures sometimes. Like people having teeth removed, or corns cut from their feet with a blade!! Yeah I know, gross right, we do see some very gross stuff at WEMA, but I must say I absolutely love this placement. Something different is happening everyday, we help a lot of people and I always learn something new, which is exactly what I came here for.

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