2016 - Kenya Medical Trip

Weekend relaxing and returning home

First of all, we're home! I write this as we're on a bus from Chicago back to Fox River. My apologies that the last few posts have been a bit delayed from the events they describe -- this blogging is time-consuming for a chronic perfectionist with attention issues and a weird sleep schedule while abroad!

Saturday was mostly a day to relax and recuperate from the exhilarating but tiring week at the schools. The team had free time to relax by the pool or enjoy the beach along the Indian Ocean just behind our hotel. Most of us did just that -- after enjoying the opportunity to sleep in a bit.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to attend the wedding of two dear friends: Jenna Horgan and O'Neal Nyanje. Jenna first went to Kenya with one of Fox River's medical mission trips, returned on several short trips before deciding to spend a year in Kenya, and ultimately return to stay, O'Neal is a part of the Crossroads Fellowship family, where he serves on the audio team, among other things. Theirs is a long, beautiful story of God's working, but out of the scope of this blog. Suffice it to say, many members of our team consider them to be family so it was a joy to be there to witness two great people taking their next step together.

O'Neal and Jenna beginning their married life together

O'Neal and Jenna beginning their married life together

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Sunday morning was spent at Crossroads Fellowship church in Nyali. As you may recall from our first day in Kenya, this is where we spent the previous Sunday morning. This week, Susie Horne (Pastor Jim's wife) asked David and me (Jason) to sing with them on the worship team. That is always a special treat and a lot of fun to come together with our Kenyan brothers and sisters to praise our God. There's always a lot of energy and heartfelt worship when we come together in that place and Sunday was no exception.

This Sunday was also the Crossroads Fellowship Baptism Festival, so Pastor Jim Horne delivered a message on the importance of Baptism, looking at a variety of places in Scripture where Baptism either occurred or is discussed. With the significance of this crucial part of the believer's journey fresh in our minds, we walked next door to the church to Wild Waters water park, who graciously opened their doors for a large number of people to be baptized while their church family cheered them on. Over 60 men, women, and children were baptized in a fantastic celebration of faith.

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Sunday afternoon was another period of free time. Again, some took to the beach (there was even a small group from our two teams that went to find a nearby geocache) and some wandered up the beach to Yul's, a favorite place to get pizza, burgers, and gelato. We were blessed to have some friends from Crossroads Fellowship join us at the hotel to spend our free time in fun and fellowship.

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Of course, our last day in Kenya is always one of mixed emotions as many are sad to leave such a wonderful place with even better friends, but also eager to get home to our loved ones and our familiar surroundings. After we had said our final goodbyes, we had packing to do and a short time to sneak in a little nap before loading up the bus at 1am and departing for Moi International Airport at 1:30. 

The team departed the hotel in the very early hours of Monday morning.

The team departed the hotel in the very early hours of Monday morning.

Our travels back to the US were mainly uneventful -- which is just as travels through international airports after a tiring week should be. We had an almost two-hour delay in Istanbul (which may or may not have been a good time to blog about Friday's graduation day in Bomani...ahem), but somehow managed to arrive in Chicago more or less on time. It took longer than usual to get our luggage at O'Hare, but after a quick shock of the bitter cold in Chicago, we all made it to the bus and are still currently heading toward Fox River Waukesha. 

The team was pretty bright-eyed even after the first flight touched down in Turkey.

The team was pretty bright-eyed even after the first flight touched down in Turkey.

Thank you for following along and more importantly praying with and for us along our journey. There will, of course, be more stories to tell, photos to share, and videos to post about this short trip full of celebration and fellowship with our Kenyan brothers and sisters in the weeks and months to come. Not only that, but this blog continues to highlight work that Fox River Missions is doing in Kenya and Nicaragua throughout the year. So if you began reading here to follow this trip, we'd love for you to stick around and continue to read about God's amazing work that we are blessed enough to participate in. If you are a regular reader, please continue to share what you find here so that more people can know and hopefully join with us, and most importantly that God would be glorified in what we do.

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On our way home: Landed in Turkey

First of all, my sincere apologies that we're a little behind on the play-by-play of the trip. More is coming soon. 

Just wanted to update you that we have safely landed in Istanbul, Turkey. We have about an hour remaining in our layover before boarding and then we'll have a long flight to Chicago.

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So far, so good! Please keep the prayers coming!

Medical Team at Graduation Day - Bomani

Bomani had their beautiful graduation day celebration and recognized the children for their great work over the past 11 years in school! See the 2016 Kenya Grad Trip blog link for some great pictures and stories about that.  

The medical team enjoyed joining in on the day, spending more time in Bomani with the children, and having the opportunity to meet some of the parents. The first aid / CPR training team spent some time after graduation teaching a few teachers from Majaoni's school - Good News Academy.  

Jill, Cindy and Debbie - such great teachers! 

Jill, Cindy and Debbie - such great teachers! 

I also spent a little time catching up with Ann, the matron for Bomani and Majaoni, having tea and seeing her new kitchen. Certainly the biggest pot of rice I've ever seen! Ann takes great care of the children at the centers and our teams when we come spend time there. 

 

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It was a great opportunity to see a traditional graduation celebration and spend one more day with people that we have grown to love. 

Medical Clinic Day 3 - Bomani

The medical team worked with the children at New Life Center in Bomani today. This day was especially fun because they have a baby class in addition to KG 1 through Class 8. These littles ones are 3-4 years old, and what a great way to start the day! 

In addition, we saw teachers and staff at the school and provided reading glasses to some of them as well.  

 

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Jeremy, a doctor on Crossroads Fellowship Church's medical mission team, joined us today. He was a wealth of knowledge for us. 

Jeremy, a doctor on Crossroads Fellowship Church's medical mission team, joined us today. He was a wealth of knowledge for us. 

One common medical concern in this village is jiggers (Tunga penetrans, also known as chigoe flea). These are tiny parasitic arthropods found in tropical areas. They live in sand and soil and feed on blood by burrowing into exposed skin (most often feet and fingers). They lay eggs under the skin and cause intense irritation called tungiasis. Tungiasis causes secondary infection, toe deformation and nail loss. When the eggs are ready to hatch they fall off and the jigger dies. The eggs then hatch in the area they have fallen. For this reason, it can be difficult to get rid of them from treating one person. Instead the whole family needs to be treated and the home needs to be cleared of them. For some families this is a difficult and on-going issue. The best prevention is good hygiene and wearing socks and shoes. 

To remove the jiggers, we soak their feet in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water for 20 minutes which kills the jigger. Visible egg sacks can be excised.  

 

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Our tean enjoyed reconnecting with old friends...

 

Roger and Risper

Roger and Risper

Jodie and Dorothy

Jodie and Dorothy

And spending more time with our Kenyan friends... 

 

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Another great day of teaching today. Here is Sue in the prenatal class.  

Another great day of teaching today. Here is Sue in the prenatal class.  

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This was our last day of medical clinics. Tomorrow is Bomani's graduation and some health promotion teaching at Vipingo and Bomani. We look forward to another great day in Kenya and feel very privileged to be here, serving these beautiful people. 

Medical Team at Vipingo - Graduation day

When Fox River took the first trip over to see the schools in Bomani and Vipingo, we were so happy to meet the very first KG 3 classes. Now today we were so privileged to be there for their graduation from  Standard 8! They have grown up before our eyes, into these wonderful teenagers who will be starting a new chapter in their lives....high school. 

 

Following the graduation ceremony, the team was able to spend time with the children and the graduates. Some people made connections with children and really enjoyed a day of rest. On a normal medical trip our goal is to help as many people as we can so that doesn't leave time to take it all in and  make connections with the children. 

 

 

In the afternoon we had time to spend doing some health promotion teaching. Our goal is to leave here knowing we shared our skills and knowledge to help people improve their health and the community's health as well. 

 

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Jill and Cindy taught the teachers about first aid and CPR

 

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The time was well spent today, building relationships, teaching, and recognizing the graduates and teachers for a job well done.  

Tomorrow we will do our last medical clinic day in Bomani. We look forward to working with the children there.  

Clinic Day 2 - Vipingo

Today the medical team spent the day seeing the children at Crossroads Academy in Vipingo. In addition to all of the KG and Standard classes, we were also able to see the new graduates! In addition, some of the staff at Crossroads came in for reading glasses.  

Today was quite hot, it was only 92 degrees but most thought it felt much hotter. One of the major focuses on medical trips is health promotion education. Today the team taught the kids about the importance of drinking plenty of water and the symptoms of dehydration. 

 

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Yvonne, who also joined our medical team last year, consults on many of our cases

Yvonne, who also joined our medical team last year, consults on many of our cases

Joseph joined us today, his third medical mission with us.  

Joseph joined us today, his third medical mission with us.  

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In addition to the conditions found yesterday, there was a higher prevalence of fungal skin infections noted today. 2 children with heart murmurs were identified and will be sent for further assessment with a specialist. Overall we found the children to be healthy, with about 55% reporting no illness. 

Again we were so happy to have our Kenyan team with us and got the opportunity to spend more time getting to know them. We know that without them we would not be able to accomplish half of what we do on the medical trips. Many of them we have had the opportunity to serve with in years past. 

 

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We had the best help in the pharmacy! They kept up with med dispensing and assisted with dosing. 

We had the best help in the pharmacy! They kept up with med dispensing and assisted with dosing. 

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Tomorrow we look forward to being able to be at the first graduation ceremony for our kids who began at Crossroads Academy as our first KG 3 class! They have worked so hard and now they will begin High School soon.  

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Clinic Day 1 - Majaoni

Today the medical team was joined by our other half...our interpreters and Kenya medical team. We got started at Good News Academy in Majaoni at 8:30am by unpacking our supplies and medicine and got our work stations set up.  In the morning we saw half of the 11 classes and then finished the other half by 4:00. The schools in Kenya have 3 kindergarten levels called, KG1, KG2 and KG3. Each class after the KG classes is called Class or Standard, followed by the number. For example, first grade is called Class 1 or Standard 1. At Good New Academy, the school goes up to Class 8. There are 34 students per class. 

 

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First station: Registration/Check In. Cindy and Mercy 

First station: Registration/Check In. Cindy and Mercy 

Heights and weights taken

Heights and weights taken

The practitioners saw many different diagnoses today. The most prevalent being coughs, allergies, tinea corporis, tinea capitis, headache (mainly due to dehydration), ear wax impactions, and upper respiratory infections. Overall, the majority of the children had a healthy child check up. This improvement in health over the years is evident based on the high percentage of healthy children seen (43%).   

 

Jen checking the throat of a boy diagnosed with strep throat

Jen checking the throat of a boy diagnosed with strep throat

Roger doing an irrigation, due to wax impaction  

Roger doing an irrigation, due to wax impaction  

Debbie teaching her interpreter to help out

Debbie teaching her interpreter to help out

Jodie doing ear exam

Jodie doing ear exam

Roger

Roger

Dawne examining fungal infection  

Dawne examining fungal infection  

Yvonne and Jill collaborating  

Yvonne and Jill collaborating  

Our wonderful pharmacy techs

Our wonderful pharmacy techs

One major goal of the work we do on the medical trips is to provide health promotion education. Sue and Debbie saw expectant mothers and provided prenatal assessment and counseling. Thanks to the donations of friends in the US, we were able to provide baby blankets, quilts, baby clothes, and prenatal vitamins to each lady.  

 

Sue

Sue

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We are looking forward to another great day with the kids at Vipingo tomorrow. 

Medical Team Update

Did you know there are two Fox River teams in Kenya right now? One team is focused on activaties with the kids at our schools, specifically with the kids who just graduated 8th grade in November and will be moving on to high school soon. The other is a medical team that will be setting up medical clinics and addressing the kids' health needs.  

The medical team arrived safe early this morning at 3:00am. We picked them up and got everyone checked into their rooms. They were a tired but excited group! Some chose to sleep a few hours and others chose to stay up and enjoy their first morning in Kenya.

At 10:00am we headed to Crossroads Fellowship Church in Mombasa. Jim Horne, missionary to our school in Vipingo - Crossroads Academy, gave a good message on starting the new year right and the worship team kept us moving and awake! It was a great way to start the trip and put us in the right mindset for the upcoming week.

We had lunch at the hotel and then did some shopping at Nakumatt (Kenyan version of WalMart) to pick up some snacks and supplies for the week.

When we returned to the hotel we began the fun process of sorting through the supply suitcases and getting our things organized for the week. Everyone made it until after dinner and most retired to their rooms early to catch up on much needed sleep!

Sorting through the medical supplies

Sorting through the medical supplies

We are so looking forward to working with our Kenyan partners this week to provide medical care to the kids at our schools in Bomani and Vipingo as well as Majaoni. Good News Academy in Majaoni is a school that is a part of Bobby & Lisa Bectel's ministry, as is Bomani.