Thursday, December 17, 2009

Impunity and the Siamese twins

The headlines of the Daily Nation today read:
"How corrupt officials stole free primary school cash"

Several senior officers at the Ministry of Education were suspended for misappropriating 37 million shillings (370,000 euro). The money was donated by DFID (UK international Devleopment fund) for free primary education for 100, 00o children. The report states that payments were effected through 44 payment vouchers, involving 29 senior officials. The funds were embezzled through fraudulent accounting used supposedly in workshops and training. DFID has since withheld 1.2 billion for Free Primary Education untill audit queries are addressed, culprits charged and cash recovered.

Donors are pulling out due to the corruption. Thousands of innocent children will be affected and may not be able to go to school next year because of greedy officials who were employed to act in their best interests.


This is what it means in Kenya: embezzlement, corruption, lying, stealing, and openly to as if people are not accountable for breaking the law if they caught

Today, I received a referral from an OT about Siamese twins joined at the stomach, sharing a liver and other vital organs. Their parents have abandoned them, leaving them at Kenyatta National Hospital, to be cared for by the nursing team, who do their best to look after them.

Their abandonment has caused a few issues.

Firstly, the parents have not signed consent for surgery so the twins may face many years of being bedridden, rather than having an actual chance at living

Secondly, due to the lack of stimulation, the children haven't learned to speak yet.

They are 1 year 3 months and are spoken to in several different languages depending on which nurse attends to them: Kikuya, Kiswahili, and English by their Irish Speech & Language Therapist; Somali, their mother tongue by their parents who occasionally come to visit.

I met them today for the first time. They are learning to stand with the help of the dedicated Occupational Therapist. They reached for me today and one of them actually pulled a rib of my hair out from the root...painful!!

They have been abandoned because the parents live far away on the coast and don't know what to do with them. Disability is a major stigma here and brings shame on the family. I'm guessing this is part of the problem but I can't be sure as I haven't met the family. There is also the risk that one of them may die as they share vital organs. The parents may fear they will loose one or both of them.

Nevertheless, the father has given up hope and isn't involved in their care

Doctors have consulted a surgeon in China who has performed a similar surgery with success.

We are waiting to hear. Its in the hands of the therapists now to improve their quality of life

So I'm on the management team.My first case of Siamese twins with language delay
I am looking forward to seeing them again in Jan. Today, I just did a brief consultation with advice for the nursing team.

Apart from work, I'm heading to Zanzibar to begin my Christmas holidays. Not that you would know Christmas is coming. All the annoying stuff is omitted. No Christmas carols, or crazy shoppers or christmas parties. Just people awaiting time off work to be spent with their family upcountry.

No gifts or special food. Just another day off with no fuss

Thats the way I like it. This year, no fuss. Rather, sunshine, swimming, spice tours, going out to new places on a tropical island, snorkeling, not worrying about what I wear.

Flip flops and a syrong, vest top too. No makeup

Simple and easy and fun. Zero stress

Can't wait

Happy Christmas to all at home

I'll text on Christams day


  1. I'm proud to call you my friend Marie. You are doing your best to help create a humane, fair and equitable society. You have also figured out what is important in life: bearing the burdens of others. That one principle is the foundation of self worth. You have given the greatest 'gift' of all: compassion for others. And that Marie, is the true meaning of Christmas. You inspire me.
    Your friend

  2. Agree.
    You are doing something very worthwhile and it is inspirational. Hopefully one day i'll be able to do something similar.
    I'm with you on the stress-free Christmas. Similar here and I am loving it !