September 2014 Kenya – Physician Chat

Our time in Bodeni has, sadly, come to an end.  We’ve reached the part of the trip where the pendulum is swinging back and our minds are forced to reconcile the fact that our team’s mission is near complete (i.e., our early returners depart from Kenya Sunday). Today’s post contains questions for and responses from our physician team for the clinic that we held over the past 4 days.

What were the most common health concerns in Bodeni? by Dan Crabb
We saw a lot of respiratory problems like asthma, allergies and infections. Abdominal complaints were frequent from conditions like worms, parasites, typhoid, due to the unsanitary conditions in the slums. Would infections and skin rashes from scabies and skin fungus were prevalent. Vision problems were also common and the reading glasses we brought were popular! 

What did you not expect to see in the clinic? by Min Qi
img_5132In summary, this week has been one of building relationships based in love for God. I did not expect that this week would not be about medicine. More than treating tinea, worms, colds, gastritis, wounds/scrapes, we go to meet other children of God. We build relationships, and through that, we care for one another, pray for one another, and have hope together. We, through the grace of God, are united to live for him. These people have given me so much hope, joy, and love.

Photo Caption: Local clinics and hospitals are everywhere. Some are mission based others are government run. When we got there, the government hospital workers (doctors and nurses) were on strike due to discontent with their pay. Even saw Aga Khan university hospital here!

Did you find the language barrier or limited supplies frustrating? by Chris Wood
For me, I didn’t really find the language barrier an obstacle or a frustration.  The nurse translators, social workers, and CHE trainers were always available for me to ask questions and give an understanding of what was said in Swahili.  During the clinics, my nurses Dennis and Julius (my “Kenyan brotha from another motha”) were amazing helpers who were willing to ask the questions I needed to get a good history.  Regardless of this barrier, our team was still able to display God’s love and grace in action.

With regard to supplies–as someone trained in Emergency Medicine, we are taught to have a little bit of MacGuyver in us–to be flexible, and to make due with whats available.  From the first night of sewing up a lip laceration using a headlamp and a mishmosh of instruments, anesthetic, and sutures; to rifling through duffle bags for supplies to using exotic sounding British-themed medications, I never felt we were limited in serving and being the hands of Christ to the men, women, and children of Bondeni. Bwana asifwe!

What has been the most rewarding piece of having the clinic? by Jake Capito
IMG_0279The most rewarding piece of the clinic was its role in bringing people to prayer. As medical providers, we can’t single handedly solve the health crises here in the community. In fact, and this may sound crazy, but what we do is not really about helping the sick. We travel so far to establish a clinic that, yes, is about treating the sick, but most importantly showing love and care to those in need. By traveling thousands of miles we show we care, the people of Bondeni matter, and most of all that God is alive.

Our clinic is a gateway for patients to be prayed for, to accept Christ, and to create relationships. The biggest healing comes when the patients leave the pharmacy and enter the prayer room because in the prayer room is where real healing takes place. The prayer room is where the divine physician intervenes and spiritual healing occurs.

How does your role fit in the big picture of our trip? by Brad Bopp
In the big picture, I see the medical clinic as the early bird special or Black Friday sale items to draw people in. The least important part of the trip is the medical clinic. It is all about the prayer room. This trip is about relationships and Christ. And as a physician, I am a mere pawn on God’s mighty chessboard.

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