Overall, this week went very well. It was probably my best week in the hospital since I arrived in Kenya. I am loving working on the pediatrics ward and interacting with the medical students and residents on my team. Though it can be tough being the "foreigner" in the hospital at times, I am learning a lot and managing to build good relationships with some of my patients. It's always a nice feeling to walk into the wards in the morning and have my patients smile with excitement at me, despite the fact that I cannot speak to them in their language.
I knew last weekend when I saw a Kenyan walking in town with a Notre Dame t-shirt on that this would be a good week. It made me so excited to know that the Kenyans are Irish! I think it made my week, and I can't believe that I haven't blogged about it until now!
When any of us North Americans are running or walking around Kenya, we often get "Mzungu" shouted at us by the locals. Mzungu is more or less the swahili way of saying "white person". It would be the equivalent of getting called a "gringo" when you travel to Central or South America. I occasionally get "Indian" shouted at me...as a matter of fact, when we were running, one of the locals yelled out "two mzungus, one Indian". I'd say he was pretty accurate. I went running a few weeks ago with two medical students from back home. It's not uncommon for Kenyans cheer for us from the streets or even to come off the streets and start running with us. So there was one guy - probably about 20 years old - who got up from sitting in his yard and started running with us. Three miles later, he was still there! At one point, I was running in front of him, and he made the comment that I run like Cristiano Ronaldo. For those of you who don't know, Ronaldo is currently one of the best soccer players in the world. I just laughed when he said it, but it was definitely the highlight of my run!
I guess it's worth mentioning that I moved over to the medical student hostel this past Monday. It's a very interesting place. It's not the most sanitary, but it's do-able. Your cockroach radar just needs to be very, very high! Marissa and I are starting to become cockroach killing pros--a skill that I hope I don't need when I get back to the States. There have been multiple rat sightings in the men's bathroom on the first floor, but the female bathrooms have been spared thus far. I'm hoping that the rats do not figure out how to get up to the third floor anytime in the next 3 weeks! I actually like living in the hostel better than IU house because it is more cultural. All the Kenyan medical students live there, so we get to spend more time with them. Our rooms are tiny - probably about 6 feet x 8 feet with two people per room - but they are adequate for sleeping. Being in the hostel, we no longer get free meals at IU house, so we are responsible for finding our own food. This has been good for us, as we've been able to eat local Kenyan food in the hostel cafeteria and in restaurants throughout town. All in all, it's been a good experience, and I think I will enjoy my remaining time there.
Anyway, nothing too exciting is really happening. Just a lot of working in the hospital lately. I realized the other day how much I wish I could be sharing this experience with my family or great friends. Of all the places I have traveled internationally (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Honduras, Kenya, Uganda), I have never gone with anyone that knows me well. I think it may be time to change that. Mom & Dad, Brian & Sean, I wish you were here. This is a beautiful place, and with my guidance, I think you would enjoy it. I hope to explore the world with all of you someday, starting with Italy next year!!
Thanks for following my journey thus far. My half-way point has come and gone, and in just over 3 weeks, our group of four will begin making our way back home. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to hear more about. I hope to post pictures of downtown Eldoret and the hospital soon, so be on the lookout! Please take care and know that I am thinking of all of you every day. Hugs and kisses. God bless.