The three weeks I spent volunteering in Kenya will stay with me forever. When I arrived in Kenya I was given the opportunity to move where I carried out my placement so that I could be with the other volunteers and so I spent the next three weeks working on the women’s ward of Malindi District Hospital.
It was such an eye opening experience. The way the staff managed with such limited resources (even down to a lack of gloves and antibiotics) was incredible and humbling to see. The medical officers were beyond welcoming and made sure to include us as much as possible. We went on ward rounds and learnt about the conditions they commonly see (and limitations they face when treating them); helped on drug rounds administering IVs and tablets and observed procedures such as chest drain removals, stitching and HIV testing. Whilst we were there the Tana River fighting flared up and we helped out in A&E when a convoy of patients were brought to the hospital- in addition to giving us amazing medical experience it also allowed us to witness the difficulties faced in Africa that don’t always make the Western news. On our last few days we donated our medical kits to the hospital- their excitement over the things we take for granted like paracetamol, rehydration salts, torches and iodine made me so glad we did.
Whilst we were in Malindi we stayed with host families which meant we got to experience a little more of the Kenyan lifestyle and also try traditional Kenyan foods such as Ugali and bitter greens. When we weren’t at the hospital we explored the local town- visiting tourist sites such as the Gedi ruins, relaxing on the beach and wandering round the markets. We also spent several afternoons at a local children’s home where we spent hours dancing with them (the Macarena became a firm favourite whilst we were there!), being taught Swahili, running around with them and learning some of their songs which was a really great experience. Along with the other volunteers I went on a weekend Safari in Tsavo East seeing so many animals- including Lions, Elephants and Giraffe- and staying in a Lodge overnight which was a brilliant way to round off our time and so much fun.
It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’d definitely recommend it to other people. We did have to stay flexible- often there wasn’t much to do in the hospital (especially as a doctors strike occurred whilst we were there) and everyone has a (sometimes frustratingly) laid back attitude but it gave us the opportunity to talk to our hosts and the doctors and learn more about their lives in Kenya and challenged us to push ourselves forward and take every opportunity that did come our way!
Posted on March 25, 2013 3:14 pm
During my first week I stayed just north of Kathmandu. I met other volunteers from different international organisations. Among them I met a volunteer who came through Frontier and was doing the same project. During the stay we learned to cook Nepalese typical dish, Nepali culture emergence activities, yoga, visited places Boudha and Thamel, local scavenger hunt and hiking.
On our second week we were transferred to a beautiful small town in the south outside Kathmandu valley. The hospital was established by charity and is running through it, serving the local villagers who don’t have a good income. The rich population travelled to hospitals in Kathmandu for better treatment. In future it aimed to expand and provide more service to the people. The medical equipment was basic, and medical hygiene was not practised accordingly. But a new senior nurse had joined in later after we’d come. Her plans were to improve the standards of the hospital. We three volunteers helped her achieve this. The doctor was very good, friendly and helpful. He went through each and every case we came across and gave us extra information.
We attended the hospital on weekdays and in the weekends we visited Chitwan, explored more of Kathmandu, visited temples and religious places. Pharping was a scenic place up in the mountains, rather pollution free than in Kathmandu. I only drank mineral water to avoid getting water borne diseases. It was monsoon season in Nepal so the water would be contaminated and cases of typhoid, enteric fever, jaundice and food poisoning were seen.
Overall it was a good hospital experience and many beautiful places to travel.