Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The hospital, new apartment and Christmas plans

So I have finally moved out of the Mbagathi way apartment.. away from the constant noise of traffic and over to the peaceful grounds of Kingara Road, near Lavington. What a culture shock the move has been. I feel as though I have left Africa momentarily..

There is a pool downstairs which no one uses as the water is too cold; the house woman cleans the house twice per week and there is a TV, not that Kenyan TV is that spectacular but at least I can watch Brothers & Sisters and other gems like North & South (upper class woman from London in 19th century moved to Milton and falls for industrialist- new money so she has to compromise...all that English reserve, the slow burning romance is developing nicely..its wonderful.

Anyway besides watching DVDs, I have been very busy at the hospital. My colleague lost his father in law and as man of the house, he is expected to look after everybody else so he has taken indefinite leave, which means that instead of showing up late at 11 am for work, he doesn't come in at all. I have inherited his caseload. My door is always open. As one client walks out, another one walks in.

Sometimes, I need a translator as parents communicate only in Kiswahili. When this happens, I shout outside my door, "ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH? GREAT FOLLOW ME AND TRANSLATE FOR ME PLEASE."
and then some poor sod from the waiting room, who popped in for a hearing test, is conducting a speech and language assessment in English and Kiswahili! So much for confidentiality!

Speaking of confidentiality, there is none. People walk in and out of my room as if its their living room; to chat, wash their hands or tell me all the intimate details of the next client's medical history, in the middle of my session.

People are not big on privacy either. People stare in the window to see what I'm up to. I am slowly getting used to this but it takes a lot of patience and cultural sensitivity.

And then there is the constant searching for the file. When a client comes to see me, they pay a fee of 500 shillings to open a file. Sounds straightforward but not in K. Hospital. This process can take anything from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I'm sitting in front of the client wondering whyon earth they were referred to me as it may not be immediately obvious.

I have become a lecturer to 4 foreign audiology students..bright 20 somethings from Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya. They seem so focused, motivated and eager to learn, unlike many students I know (I myself only focused in 4th year, dossing my way through 3 years of lectures and practicals)

So, I'm having a christmas party next weekend. Just a few mojitos and beers before heading out next Friday night. If its nice, it might even turn into a pool party (always wanted one of them).

Preparations for Christmas are beginning. Rather than shopping for a list of people, I have booked a cottage in Tiwi beach for New Years, bought a "forthy thieves" New Years Eve party ticket, a bus ticket to Dar Es Salaam and a room in Kendwa Rocks, Zanzibar...nice change from Sullivans in Gort

10 other volunteers are also coming so it should be a nice crowd. Looking forward to 3 weeks of beach time! Well thats all the news from Nairobi.

Goodbye and Goodluck

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