|Operating Theater Staff|
|Ct scan of large sphenoid mass|
|Operating Theater Staff|
|Ct scan of large sphenoid mass|
I arrived safely to Kijabe, Kenya last Saturday at 7pm. I left Rochester at 7 am Friday morning so it was 36 hours of travel! My luggage arrived and there was no inspection for which I am so grateful. My least favorite aspect of the journey is shopping in Nairobi for supplies. This was especially difficult as I have not worked at Kijabe previously so I did not know what would be available.
Monday started a busy week. I operated 5 days and can say I am now comfortable with the way the operating room flows. The staff have been wonderful and are quite knowledgeable in the typical ENT procedures. The cases I have been performing are back logged surgeries from the missionary ENT who has been overwhelmed with work. I have performed a number of surgeries from cleft lip, cleft palate, reconstruction of ear tympanic membranes, mastoid surgery, tonsillectomy and ear tubes.
The cleft lip repairs are always such a blessing to perform. Although technically challenging the surgeries are transformative for these children. The deformity is considered a curse in this culture but God’s redemption is so evident through this surgery. Below are several of the kids we operated on this week. Smile Train is providing the funding for these surgeries.
This weekend after rounds I was able to walk to town to purchase some supplies needed. The locals sell their goods in a market and at Duka’s. I was able to purchase my vegetables and eggs for the week for $3.00! I continue to learn the art of cooking in Africa. Some tips I have learned are don’t put your vegetables in the refrigerator- they will freeze. Hang them in baskets in the kitchen where the cockroaches can't get them. Gather long sticks in the woods to light the propane stove so you don’t burn your hands!
Thank you for joining me in this venture,
KIJABE, KENYA 10/22–11/8/21
I love this photo as it depicts how I am clinging to Jesus as I prepare for my next trip. Kijabe is a Christian mission hospital and a large referral center for central Kenya. They have had a team of three Otolaryngologists in the past but are now down to one with a long surgical queue. Many of the surgeries are cleft lip and palate. I am hoping to give a much-needed rest to the one remaining Otolaryngologist. Kijabe means “wind,” and its name is fitting because the times I have served at the nearby AIC Cure hospital, the weather has been cool and windy. The main tribe served is Kikuyu, but I understand that many from Nairobi travel to Kijabe because of its good reputation. A nearby cemetery houses missionaries from the 1800s. History tells us that part of the missionaries’ preparations were to have all their teeth extracted to avoid deadly dental infections prior to the antibiotic era and to travel with a casket knowing that they would never return!
My greatest need for this trip is your prayer support! I will be bringing only a short list of supplies I feel I can’t go without. I will be relying solely on the surgical instruments at Kijabe. I expect to be involved in a number of different surgical cases and as always, need prayer that Jesus will be the surgeon, and I am just a tool in his hand. Below is a number of other prayer requests:
· Safe travels and arrival of luggage without tariffs
· Protection from COVID and other illnesses
· Adequate sleep
· That the surgical cases being lined up are chosen by him
· That God would heal his people
· That he would prepare hearts to know him as Lord and Savior
1 Peter 4:11: “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
My biggest prayer of all is that God will get the glory. Thank you for your faithful prayers.
It always seems to take a week for me to adapt to the pace and cultural differences at Tenwek. I feel over my head in numbers of patients. Each step I take is often interrupted by a medical question from a local or staff member. My agenda needs to be to take care of the person in front of me. I can not plan on a schedule or anticipate the next medical problem or surgical case. And yet I can trust that the Lord is guiding my feet and bringing those to me that He desires me to care for. I can trust that He will never leave me or forsake me. That He has not called me without equipping me. But when I look at the problems before me it is hard not to wonder "why me?". There are so many others that are more capable. " His power is made perfect through my weakness"! Where I am weak, He is strong!
This past Saturday we ventured over to Kitoben Children's Home to visit Alice and Samwel, who run the home, and all of the children. Every visit we make we see some new changes to the school. They have completed a beautiful, multi-purpose dining hall that will serve both the home and the school.
Here's a pic of the outside of the new building:
One of their greatest needs now is to build a new, larger latrine on the school compound which will cost about 350,000 KES or about $3,500.00. The government now requires all schools to have a quarantine space for children that come down with COVID, which is another added expense for the schools.
The children are well here and are loved by Alice and Samwel. They constantly teach the children about Christ and what it means to follow Him and to serve Him.
Here's a pic of the inside of the new building
At the end of this first week at Tenwek, I've had the chance to look back and reflect on the experience thus far. And it's been amazing. My time has been split between two main paths. First, I have been shadowing some doctors in the operating room and am truly experiencing first-hand the ins and outs of surgery. I have witnessed parotid tumor resections, tonsillectomies, pituitary gland tumors resected through the sinuses, cataract surgery, and more! A great part of watching these surgeries is the preparation I can do pre-operation. I have read about the surgeries beforehand and grasp, to some degree, what is going on and the anatomy involved. The doctors have been great resources and have helped me learn a large amount in just a span of one week.
The second focal point of my time at Tenwek, which I would like to highlight, are clinic days. Here, I have been assisting my mom in her ENT clinic performing various tasks. Most importantly, I have had the opportunity to head up the hearing aid distribution, under the jurisdiction of Dr. Miller, of course. My responsibilities span from first administering a hearing test to a patient to actually fitting them with a hearing aid. This ministry has been a great blessing. The Kenyans are extremely grateful and nothing beats the smiles that come when a son or daughter speak softly to their parent and they hear clearly for the first time in many years.
Everyone who comes through the ENT clinic receives prayer over them. We have such an opportunity to spread the Word here and give the glory to God for how He works in our lives and the Kenyans. While the hearing aids we supply grant physical hearing, we pray that each who receives will also proceed to hear the Lord. We pray that each individual will hear the calling of Jesus and become one after His heart and goodness. I am constantly amazed by the Kenyans' faith, perseverance, and gratitude. I hope to model this as I grow as a person and in my relationship with the Lord. Thank you to all who have made this ministry possible and I cannot wait to share more in the upcoming week!
All the best,
Week one has been full of surgeries and clinic visits. I am always amazed how the hospital staff have no idea I am coming yet within two hours of starting my work the word is out and a line is forming. The need for ENT services is so great here it is hard to walk from one end of the compound to the other without getting stopped several times to diagnose a staff member's problem.
On Monday, my the surgical team had prepared a patient with a large salivary gland neoplasm. This had previously been partially removed but recurred soon after her last surgery 4 years ago. It was steadily growing and there was concern for malignancy.