?We’re learning a lot more than we expected”

04 October 2013
We briefly mentioned Tara Chavan yesterday. She is a member of the volunteer team in Londiani and, today, the latest member to give us some insights into the team’s work. And here they are… It’s now Day 5 in Londiani and it has started out as a lovely sunny day – which seems the norm so far! Today there was a partnership seminar in the grounds of St Kitzo’s so there were lots of local Kenyans who stayed overnight last night. There was a great buzz in the air. After our traditional breakfast of porridge, toast and/or eggs the group divided into two teams. The medical team headed off to participate in a cervical cancer-screening clinic in Kimugul. The other part of the team participated in the partnership seminar. There were some amazing stories at that seminar. One of the most interesting involved a guy named Dixon who stood up and talked about a disability clinic in his community attended by about 100 disabled children. The amazing thing was that he told the others in the group it wasn’t right that most of the time it was only the mothers who were bringing the children to the clinic. He said the fathers needed to be more involved because the child belonged to both the mother and the father and they must equally love the child. Looking around the room it was great to see all the men nod along in agreement. Later in the day the two doctors who had been to the cervical cancer-screening clinic came back and told us how impressed they were by the skills of the Kenyan nurses. The nurses performed tasks (such as cervical staining and examination) that back in Australia and Ireland are performed by specialised doctors! In fact, both doctors returned saying they were the ones who had learned new skills from the Kenyan nurses. The two doctors were equally impressed by the enthusiasm of the 49 women who had all arrived for their first cervical cancer screening. That wasn't the only learning experience. I also came back to learn from Sophie, our lovely cook, how to whip up a tasty cabbage dish - and no, it didn’t involve boiling it, which may surprise some people! In fact today was a day full of surprises and challenging of the preconceived ideas that some of us may have had. It seems that during this trip we volunteers may be learning a lot more than we expected. I’m now looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure and new learning experience.