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I can’t believe I have left Kenya…it feels like I had just arrived. But, it is rather interesting how accostumed I got to a few things there. Here are some things I noticed/thought upon returning:

(by the way…I’m just putting in random pictures from the trip to break up the text…)

Elephants at the Maasai Mara
  1. “Oh, wait, I’m not in Kenya, I can’t have a lengthy conversation with the customs agent at the Atlanta airport…”
  2. I walked into a public bathroom and thought, “there’s toilet paper in a public restroom?…And there’s soap…And there’s a hook for bags!…And the toilet’s flush soooo well!”
  3. “What are seatbelts?” and “I am going to actually wear a seatbelt!”
  4.  “We use a lot of paper towels and napkins…”
  5. “Oh wait…can I drink the water from the tap…”
  6. “Wow…everything costs so much here…”
  7. Saying, “Asante sana,” then realizing I’m speaking Swahili…
  8. We have a lot of things we could really live without…like smartphones…

Haha…anyways, I guess I have to get readjusted to our overly complicated lifestyle in the US.

Lions at the Maasai Mara

This is my LONG list of some of the differences I found in Kenya, so I commend anyone who actually reads the entire list. Please note: these are simply my observations and are based soley on my limited experiences…

Nila (my supervisor and Kenyan mom) got the kids to pose for this picture. On the left is Julia:)
  1. Lots of bugs in the cottage
  2. Chameleons around the cottage
  3. Monkeys make noise in the morning sometimes and its really loud!!! (but they are cute, and it’s pretty cool to say that the monkeys woke me up in the morning…)
  4. Lots of holes in buildings (contribute to the bugs)
  5. No fire alarms (which is good for when I cook)
  6. Shower head fell off twice…while I was showering
  7. Can’t drink the water. One time I was SO thirsty and didn’t bring enough water
  8. Donkeys on the street
  9. Flock of sheep on the street
  10. Crazy driving
  11. Typically no drinks with meals
  12. Not many napkins
  13. No plastic bags at stores
  14. Milk is in bags…I always spill it: every single time.
  15. Getting asked on dates… A LOT
  16. Saying, “How are you?” How did you sleep? As a greeting, to which they always say, “fine.” Greetings are very important
  17. All paper at the hospital (not electronic files)
  18. All the family member’s information is in 1 file, which makes it a little complicated
  19. No stapler at the hospital; we use pins instead
  20. Food is cheap, but not at the place I stay
  21. Everything is cheaper
  22. A big/friendly community of people
  23. We don’t use seatbelts
  24. Kids don’t have car seats and sit in the front
  25. Plastic shields inside of car from dust
  26. Less overall sterility at the hospital
  27. OVER prescription of antibiotics
  28. There’s a varying level of affluence… some people have plenty money for food and other necessities, some people are starving
  29. Christianity is very important in the culture
  30. The Baptist church I attended was very charismatic
  31. Mugs are plastic
  32. They cool their drinks by pouring between two cups over and over again
  33. I get called Muzungu (white person) or Chinese…no one really knows what I am and it depends on the area. In town, I’ll get called both, but at the tea village, it’s always Muzungu
  34. Very dusty roads
  35. Kids are excited over simple things, such as bananas
  36. A milkshake at the café here cost the same as the waiter’s salary for the day ($5)
  37. African Chi tea is the favorite, its primarily sweet milk
  38. At the school, some kids have plenty of food, other kids have none
  39. People are very hospitable here and feed me A LOT of food
  40. Chapati is very important; the kids have even made a song about it
  41. People walk on the streets
  42. After people greet and introduce themselves, they usually ask me, “do you have a boyfriend?”
  43. Another common question is “How many kids do you want?” (I got asked this SO MANY times)
  44. Another question, “you will come back and live in Kenya?”
  45. Or, “Get married in Kenya!”
  46. Or, “do you like Kenya?”
  47. The largest bill is the equivalent of 10 USD, and you could buy 50 mangos with that
  48. There was a warning about cholera in a mall in Nairobi
  49. They tie their babies on the back, and it looks like the baby will fall when they do this
  50. Doctors sometimes prescribe to the amount of money that people have at the expense that the medication may actually be harming the person
  51. Kids are so affectionate and friendly
  52. They don’t always use a cleaner before giving injections
  53. The IV bags are plastic bottles and don’t have a way for to replace the fluid that leaves. So we have to puncture the top several times with a needle
  54. In the OR, we wear Crocs and sandals…
  55. The gowns in the OR are frequently missing straps to tie onto the surgeon
  56. The power goes out during surgeries…No lights
  57. It is not uncommon for women to trade sex for food
  58. It is not uncommon for men to have multiple wives at the same time. One guy tried to convince us that being the 2nd wife was the best and got the most attention.
  59. Sustainability is a necessity
  60. No internet in the cottage
  61. Data is super cheap!!! $1 USD for 1 Gb
  62. Bargaining is still common
  63. The village market is stressful because of the bargaining and sale tactics
  65. The nurses can do whatever they want to the mothers giving birth- whether its slapping them on their back or pushing them around. No malpractice laws…
  66. The anesthesiologist drinks hot chocolate and eats lunch during the operations…in the operating room.
  67. In the village, there are no such thing as bathrooms or any designated areas. When a kid needs to go, they just go right then and there… Same in other areas along the roads
  68. Education is a privilege
  69. People know a lot of language
  70. A general positive view of Americans
  71. No toilet paper in public places
  72. Stooping toilets in the lesser westernized places
  73. People really like pizza and hotdogs here…its kind of like a special treat for them
  74. When kids are at school, parents only want them to focus on school…so less or no opportunities to dance or other arts
  75. When parents do have enough money to give kids vaccines, they get more types of vaccines, but less booster vaccines
  76. It is very green here. Lots of tea plants.
  77. Most houses are metal or concrete
  78. The government set up a shelter for people to set up stores, but people prefer to make stores out of the small logs because it’s closer to the road
  79. The ramps are SO STEEP
  80. They use either latex gloves or plastic gloves
With Mikayla at Two Rivers after church.

If you made it the entire way…wow!!! I’m impressed… anyways, it has been quite an adventure, but greater adventures await. For example, I am now quarantined by the health department of my school for 14 days… A lot can be done in 14 days or 336 hours. As an example, since I can swim 50yrds in about 30 sec, I could swim from the ports in Germany to Finland and still have 49.28 hrs to rest afterwards…

Doing important things…like eating a mango in the hospital


Happy Adventuring!


Talking to a Public Primary School

I went to a local community primary school and talk to girls in 6-8th grade. I had the opportunity to tell all these girls that they are a masterpiece of God, and to be confident in who God made them to be.

Before going to this school, I, with the help (lots of help) from the girls at women’s centre, sewed 150 bags and filled them with pads, soap, and panties.

The girls got to improve their sewing skills, learn about pressing, and other sewing techniques.

We then went to the school, and I gave a talk to the girls about periods, encouraging the girls to not miss school and assuring them that they were not “unclean.”

Some of the girls that received the bags:)

It was great to see their confidence grow from when I first met them to when I had to say “goodbye.”

Thank you for everyone who donated to make this possible!

Unfortunately, it looks like I will be leaving a week earlier than I had planned. While I am sad to leave as what seems prematurely, I am so grateful for this trip and everything that has happened over the past 6 weeks. In reflecting on my goals I had set for this trip, I can say that this trip has surpassed all my goals and expectations. I had hoped to:

  1. Help with medical care in any way I can– I was able to help out in more areas than I ever imagined, from suturing and operations, to taking vital signs and feeding newborns.
  2. Help with education– I am so glad that I got to visit villages and promote healthcare, as well as teach about health in different schools. These were such meaningful experiences, as this education is so vital to keeping the overall community healthy.
  3. Help people in Kenya
  4. Meet people- I have formed so many relationships with people and everyone here has left a lasting impression on me from their kindness and hospitality
  5. Go to church- I am so grateful to meet people at different churches and see what God is doing in Kenya
  6. Learn to be flexible...yeah…leaving a week early because of a global pandemic?
  7. Learn about medicine in other countries – I am so grateful for the doctors for showing me the differences in Kenyan healthcare!
  8. Learn about other cultures – It is such an honor to have been invited in to the homes of the people here. I appreciate everyone here for teaching me about their life! Also, a big thanks to everyone who taught me Swahili and Kikuyu!
  9. Allow for exploration of creativity – Everyone one here has amazing skills in creativity; something that I aspire to– whether it’s in healthcare, education, or daily life, their creativity is so evident.
  10. Learn inter/independence – I have done so many things here that I would have been afraid to do before now. I can remember less than year ago during college, I went to church, but hid outside the sanctuary in a isolated corner because I was too afraid to go and talk to anyone. For several weeks I went and was near tears each Sunday…Or when I had to knock on my RA’s door to ask a question. It took me approximately 2 hours to do this…you can ask my roommate, she kind of forced me to go and knock on his door…I played piano at my College ministry and hated what I did afterwards because I could only think of everything I did wrong…However, on this trip, I yelled at the top of my voice people’s names in the streets of Limuru to call them into the hospital (even though I almost always was pronoucing them incorrectly). I talked to so many strangers and played/sang for many different communities here. I got to talk to the pastor at the church and the musicians. I talked to large audiences without using a script–a big fear of mine and something I’ve only done about 2 other times.

All this to say, that God is good and he knows the best timing. Although I am leaving earlier than I planned, God has done so much on this trip, and I am grateful for each moment and every lesson I have learned.

Ok…enough cheesy talk!

More Stories Later!

Happy Adventuring,


Chasing a Doctor Around Kenya…

Today, I went with a patients on ambulance to get an ultrasound from sepsis after a C-section. We had thought it was going to be a short trip, as we were going to go to Banana town, which is about 20 minutes from Limuru. However, after confirming with the doctor we were coming, we arrived only to find out that the doctor had left to go to another hospital. We rushed over to Nazareth hospital, where we waited for a long time…we were certain that he had already left that hospital as well…

While waiting, the nurse and I were trying to pay for the patient, using mpessa, which is like the venmo of Kenya. But the patient had a very old phone so we were having trouble trying to figure out how to use it…Anyways, we finally payed and the doctor actually stayed at that hospital! Fortunately, the patient was finally able to get the scan…

From our fun girls’ day out in Nairobi with Julia (a volunteer at Hope School) and Maggie (from the Women’s Centre)

We got to visit the tea village again, and I taught the kids how to play ring-a-round the rosy…

They were great students, and they went and played the game over and over again. Also, after much struggling, they finally figured how to get my watch off my hand. So many kids were just playing with the buckle and when one managed to get it off my hand, they smiled so big. They tried it on themselves, but always, eventually, put it back on my wrist. But because the push so many button, they often set alarms, sometimes for weird times. One night, Mikayla’s (another volunteer) watch alarm went off at 2:30 am because no one realized the kids set the alarm. We both stumbled around in the dark trying to figure out what had happened:)

I also played my ukulele and sang/dance with the kids, which was a lot of fun:)

Because of the travel ban, I’m not exactly sure what will happen with my flights. I may leave early, or stay for an extra month…everything is up in the air…But I do believe God is still writing history.

More stories later,

Happy Adventuring,


Hope School

Today I helped out at Hope School, which is supposed to be a school for kids before primary school (ages ~4-5). However, there are some kids that are as old as 7 because this school is cheaper than primary school, where the kids are required to have uniforms that many of the families are unable to pay for.

The school is a 1 room school, with dirt floor, and has about 50 children that attend. But not all 50 kids are there each day; many parents don’t take there kids each day, which makes learning difficult for many of these children.

I had a picture of the entire inside of the school/room…but it was blurry…so I stole the other volunteer’s picture

I went to do a workshop to teach the kids to prevent the spread of diseases, mainly teaching them to cover their mouth when they cough. I found a song to teach them about this, and they learned it very well. It is a little interesting because we encouraged the kids to wash their hands, but the problem is that hand washing is limited–they have a bucket and a pitcher that the teacher pours over the kids’ hands:

Washing Hands!

But, it was fun, and I helped some of the older kids learn to read, taught some dances, and some songs. We also had a lot of fun at recess!

More stories later!

Happy Adventuring,



This was a great surprise!!!

I had no idea that Nila (my supervisor) and Mikayla (another volunteer) had been planning this! Thank you Nila, Mikayla, and children/Sunday School teachers at Limuru Town Baptist Church! I will always remember this!

In other news, the hospital has been pretty exciting: I got suture for the first time! It was a deep and wide wound on a patient’s calf. The doctor did most of the stitches, but I put in 4:) And I didn’t even pierce myself with the needle (Success!)!

Completely unrelated to the post, but these monkeys hang around where I stay. They sometimes climb on the roof and make a bunch of noise:)

So today I went to the Women’s Centre to sew. I bought an iron and sewing pins for the centre, because sewing without those items has been very difficult…And we’re hoping to get some of the girls to be proficient in sewing.

Anyways, while I was there, there was a bees nest that was right next to the house that someone disturbed. Suddenly, while I was sewing, several ladies ran screaming inside, hiding to the furthest corner of the house while bees buzzed inside. Since the windows in the doors have holes, we quickly tried to patch the doors so that the bees would stay outside. Then, I guess they tried to smoke the bees out by burning anything they could find in the fire place. I started walking to the kitchen and found a girl with a cup of water frantically throwing it on the floor–there were logs on fire right in the middle of the kitchen floor, and she was attempting to put it out…

Anyways…it was an exciting time, and I managed to not get stung!!!

Also not related to the post, but this is my typical pose for pictures (you can ask my family). So I had to do it in front of the Tea Farm.

More Stories Later!

Happy Adventuring,


Giving Food to the Tea Village

Yesterday, I was able to bring food to my neighbors at the Tea Village to feed the 70 families their for 2 weeks for $270.

These people work in the tea village, and one person there said they would have to pick 50 kg (110 lbs) of tea leaves a day to put food on the table for their families. Also, when they pick the leaves, they are only able to use the two leaves from the very top of each bush… so it’s virtually impossible to gather enough leaves to feed their families. Many of the children have the classic signs of malnutrition.

Everyone was so thankful, and I wanted to extend all their messages to everyone here because you all were the ones that made this possible:

One man thank me for “my kind heart”, saying that there are people in Kenya with money, but they don’t have the compassion to help. He also said, “God bless you, your family, and your next generation.” He explained how the kids were not able to go to school because they don’t have enough money. He was so grateful!!!

My camera was so blurry because of all the kid’s hands on the lens…

Another man kept saying, “asante…asante sana…asante…asante sana…” or “thank you, thank you very much,” over and over again.

There were so many more thanks from the people, and I just wanted to share that with all of you to extend the blessings and appreciation.

We were also able to buy some fruit for the people in the village because they rarely ever have fruit. Also, the lack of a proper diet, as well as lack of proper housing, contributes to a lot of diseases in the children. The fruit is the thing that surprised me the most–to have like 10 children all clambering for the 4 bananas I had in my hand was so crazy and also sad:

One of the things that always seems like such an honor is being handed babies/toddlers…

He LOVED bananas, but wasn’t exactly sure what part of the orange to eat

This was also so sweet:

The kids always take care of the babies, and this little guy was feeding his baby brother a banana. It was very sweet because the older siblings would make sure the babies got their banana as well.

I love these children, and I wish I could spend more time just hugging them and playing with them. Because the parents always need to work in the fields, they lack that basic affection.

More stories later! I really want to write about the everyday life in Kenya, but there is always something more exciting to write about. So, if there is ever a week that is boring, I’ll write about that:)

Happy Adventuring!


Still accepting donations! Anything is really appreciated by these people here!

The Maasai Village

Its been a busy week! I spent the entire day today in the OR. We also have had two patients that possibly have TB, and a patient with Malaria. Malaria is normally pretty rare in Limuru because of the altitude and location. However, if patients have traveled to a Malaria zone, we have to be on the look out for the disease, especially as it can look like several other diseases.

At the hospital

Speaking of Malaria, this weekend I traveled to Maasai Mara, which is a Malaria zone. We learned of the leaves they use to prevent malaria by boiling it in water and drinking it. Also, they have a different leaf that is used as an insect repellant. To use it, you crumple the leaf and then rub it on you.

We went on a the “must do” safari and later visited the Maasai village, which was good to see, as I have met several people from these villages. These people hold very closely to their traditions, including their dances and clothing. They did a welcome dance for us:

Apparently, the jumping is a competition (which I did not know at that time). If I were to have jumped well, I wouldn’t have to pay as much for my dowry…but, I think I would have to pay the full price of 10 cows…

One part of the culture they hold to is the way the view women–they are viewed more as an object. Girls there do not get educated, and many men will have multiple wives. They build a different home right next to each for each of their wives.

Each house takes about 3 months to build and are made out of the clay and cow dung. They usually last about 9 years before being contaminated with termites. They are very solid!

Inside a home

They are very resourceful. In addition to the insect repellant and malaria prevention, they have leaves that are used for toilet paper, sandpaper, and painting the face. Also, they use two types of wood to make a fire–a soft wood that is found locally, and a harder wood that is found on the mountains.

Anyways… it was very interesting to learn about.

Also, the safari was amazing:

Lions walking on the road. The cubs were SO cute!

More Stories later!

Happy Adventuring,


Arts and Crafts

I thought I would make a theme for this post. After all, Arts and Crafts, encompass the most interesting part of the past few days:)

Yesterday, there were a couple patients with broken bones, and I got to see the doctor make the casts (note the “Arts and Crafts” theme) But, he made the cast while hunched underneath a very low staircase in front of a bunch of other patients, who stared at the poor patient…

Anyways…today, I did intake at the hospital. I was never really trained what to do, but the doctors left me alone anyways. But, I enjoyed the challenge! Fortunetely, many patients are willing to help me, whether it be making sure people are moving to the right place, or translating from Swahili when there’s an emergency (both of which happened:) ).

Later in the day, I visited the women’s centre. I taught most, if not all of them, how to sew. It was slightly challenging, as there was little space to move, and there were a lot of girls:) I would get trapped between the girls, but then one would have a problem with their bobbin or needle, and I couldn’t get to them… But it was fun, and I’m proud to say the girls did very well:)

I am definitely thankful for 4-H for all those years of teaching me how to sew!

I also played my ukulele/sang for the girls and taught them some chords and strum patterns. It got passed to pretty much all the girls, and we had so much fun playing around with it!

Although…later I realized that I probably looked a little funny walking around Kenya in scrubs and carrying a ukulele…

More Stories Later!

Happy Adventuring,


Help the women’s centre!

The C-Section in the Dark and Homes in the Village

We had C-section today (I’ve seen 8 so far!). Unfortunately, right before we began the procedure, the lights went out! However, the procedure must go on, and, as a result, we turned on the flashlights on our phones so that the doctor could see what he was cutting and suturing. In the middle of the procedure, another doctor found a bright lamp/flashlight, but we would get tired holding in up high. At one point, the doctor put the lamp on my head…alas, it was at the wrong angle.

Selfies in the OR:)

What made the situation worse, was that the baby was very large (4.5kg), especially for the size of the mother. As a result, the doctor was having trouble getting the head out. At one point, the anesthesiologist yelled, “what are you guys doing?” as it was taking quite a while.

The lights finally came on…right AFTER we finished the C-section…

The view from the village we visited. We would advise the elderly to exercise, but after mentioning we thought, “maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.” The path outside the house were very uneven and would sometimes be a skinny path next to a big drop.

Yesterday, we visited houses in a village. These are patients, where it is very difficult to go to the hospital or see a doctor, as they would have to walk 1.5 hours to get there. We took blood pressure, encouraged healthy lifestyles, and checked medications. Apparently, it is not uncommon in Kenya for doctors to prescribe based on how much money the patient has, not what they actually need. One patient we saw, had pretty high blood pressure and history of a stroke. She told use that she was taking medication, but only had one more dose left for tomorrow and had no more money to buy more. We asked to look at it, and she showed us her “blood pressure medication,” which turned out to be prednisone. It turns out, she had been taking prednisone (which is known to elevate blood pressure) every day for the past 7 years to lower her blood pressure…

Inside one of the homes

Another patient we saw, was a pregnant women who was due to give birth in 1 month. We took blood pressure, talked to her about general issues, and also gave a bag of food. The next day, we learned that that same women happened to give birth the night before. Fortunately, the family/village knew that we were available to help, and we were able to bring her and the baby to the hospital. The baby ended up being admitted, as she was small (1.9kg/4.2lbs). I am thankful that we visited her just the day before, because if she did not know us, there would be no one else to help the family. And there is no way that she could have walked all the way to the hospital… We were all just so grateful for the timing of it all.

Off-road driving to pick up the women to bring to the hospital

More stories later!

Happy Adventuring,


The Women’s Centre

Before, I talk about the women’s centre, I wanted to tell you about a patient yesterday that was bitten by a dog. Anyways, while waiting, she taught me some of the kikuyu language (the local tribe). Wi mwega means “are you fine?”, and de mwega means “I am fine.” She also taught me lots of the body parts…I’m going to try to remember them all…

So today is actually a holiday, as the country is mourning the late president. As a result, we decided to go to the Women’s Centre instead.

This place helps give shelter to women who are victims of sexual abuse. It’s very heartbreaking because these girls are so young (12-16 yrs old). Parents would sell the girls for money, some traded sex for food, and others were raped. The purpose of the centre is to help the girls by showing them that they are valuable. Many girls here experience so much shame, and we teach them that God loves them and made them. For that reason, there is no shame in that they are women or in their bodies, and God has a plan for them. The goal for each women is to teach them skills (such as sewing, gardening etc.) that they can use to provide for themselves and their child. In this way, we hope that the centre can be sustainable, and each girl will be successful.

Fun Interview!

I started dancing some contemporary, and got some of the girls to join me. I tried to teach some…and it didn’t really work. But who cares! We had fun! I really think dancing is one of those universal languages:)

I also really believe this is so important, especially for people who have grown up too fast.

And they like to play with my hair:)

In addition to buying food for the Tea Village, I plan to use the money I raise to buy supplies for this centre to help teach these girls skills they can use to provide for themselves (

More stories later!

Happy Adventuring!