January 15, 2007 - Nairobi - Kenya
by Trudy Armstrong
Today we must leave our beautiful Rotary friends of Uganda.
As we board our bus at 7 AM for the airport, former GSE Team member to District 5340, Michael Mipeiipta, hops on the bus to bid us farewell and present Philippe with a special gift. He has made a special effort on his way to work to say goodbye. With lumps in our throats, we are off to the airport, where Martin from our project at Summit College meets us at the airport to say farewell. Our friends in Uganda have been wonderful. Hard to believe that we are about to embark on another wonderful experience. We are met at the airport in Nairobi by Geeta and Kaushik Manek. Kaushik is the District Governor Nominee and Geeta is serving the district as an Assistant Governor this year. With a very quick stop to check in at the Nairobi Hilton, we are off to meet Dr. Sheth who is involved in the two projects we are to see this afternoon.
The first is Gichocho Girl's School. This is in an extremely poor area just outside Nairobli. Secondary education, particularly for the poor girls, is difficult to attain. Girls do not go to school due to the needs of the family and the thought that girls are not in need an education. The problems that young girls face with their personal hygiene issues complicates life in these area due to lack of proper bathroom facilities, which is only one more reason girls are reluctant to attend. This school started by the nuns, was given two classrooms at an adjacent government school, with the stipulation that they would vacate with-in one year. The new building is now built and and the girls are there, but nothing else. They are in desperate need of beds, mattresses, lab equipment, school books and the list goes on. 160 girls will eventually live at the school and the hope is to serve 400-500 girls total. The area is desperately poor and the girls in the area are in great need of this project.
We now head off to The National Spinal Injury Hospital where there are a mere 30 beds for all of Central and East Africa . This hospital deals with spinal injuries, the major number of patients have been incapacitated through traffic accidents.
The hospital building itself is really not equipped to handle people with no mobility. the bathrooms are small and not able to accommodate wheelchairs, the bathtubs are deep and cannot be used by most of the patients, they lack the mattresses that are needed to prevent bedsores.
The needs are great here. Hopefully, they can expand the number of patient beds in the future. So very few people can be served at this time. It is amazing to see what the staff is doing with so little. Old equipment from other counties has been donated long after it can be useful, much of it just cannot be used, so the need for new medical equipment is a must.
Our day concludes with an invitation to the home of Geeta and Kaushik. Here we are able to really interact, meet and enjoy the members of the club. The food is outstanding, our host and hostess are so very gracious. We have a marvelous evening. Once again, we have found our Rotarian hosts to be unbelievably generous with their time and kindness to us. This is the true fellowship of Rotary!
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