That brings me to another thing I really enjoyed, which was going with some of the staff to serve the patients in the wards. The picture to the left is of Elizabeth (one of my faves). It was awesome…I felt almost like I was back at Longhorn, serving. They put the food into large containers and place them on trollies to take to the wards. One goes to the men’s and women’s wards, another goes to maternity and pediatrics, and the last goes to the private ward. There are other kitchens too, they said, but ours catered to those wards specifically. Each patient is served from the trolley according to their dietary restrictions/needs and their preferences too. And the food is good! Even the batches they make without salt are probably awesome. It was great to see that the kitchen staff is able to interact with the patients they cook for and that they love what they do. They joke with the patients and make them smile. When we went around with the food, I had patients trying to adopt me as their last-born daughter and many times I was spoken to in Swahili. I did learn some words whenever we would take tea and porridge though. You have your tea (chai), porridge (ugi), and your tea with no sugar (dufia). So whenever it was tea time I would just strain my ears to catch one of those words haha so that the patient got what they asked for. But I was with a kitchen staff member, too, so I just asked for his/her help when I didn’t understand. They were so nice. It was hard to see the patients though because a lot of them are in pain but Kijabe Hospital is really a great place for them to be. All of the staff members are Christians and the chaplains are always present during the interviews. The wards have devotions early in the mornings and begin their days with prayer. And the chaplains are always around to pray with patients, encourage them, counsel them, and spread the Gospel. And they all really care from what I saw.
Above: Kimber and I (Rebecca) posing with some of the staff before we left...
For a couple of days I also volunteered in the nursery. There were a good number of premature babies (maybe 6) that needed breathing assistance and some having to be fed by tubes running to their stomachs. One of them was so tiny! And, the last day I was there an even smaller baby was born –28 weeks old. Wow…I helped one the the nurses, Christine, feed some of the babies, change linens, and anything else she needed assistance with. Some of the other babies in there just hung out because the moms were healing from C-sections or other things and didn’t feel well enough to keep the babies in their beds and feed them. Christine has a very stressful job…I don’t think I could handle it. At one point she had to assist one of the doctors by holding a baby still while he put a needle in her back to get a sample of spinal fluid if I’m not mistaken. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped. And little Ruth was screaming her little head off…yea…but thank God for those who are called to be in those areas.
But I think the best part in all of this was being able to talk with an encourage one of the moms, Josephine. She was the sweetest lady. When I talked to Pastor Sylvia about talking to some of the moms she told me Josephine would like a visit and pointed to her baby in the nursery. He wasn’t premature but he couldn’t breathe on his own so he had tubes running everywhere to monitor him and help him breathe. There was a scare at one point with him in the day but Christine got him stabilized. Scary. I went to meet Josephine that afternoon but there were a number of things that got in the way so she asked me to come back tomorrow. “Tomorrow”meant our departure day so I told her that I would try. So when the group got to the hospital that next morning to say bye to the pastors, Pastor Sylvia told me that Josephine was still expecting me and that her baby had been taken to I.C. U. yesterday evening. So, while the group said their goodbyes I went to see her. As soon as she started talking she began to tear up. She is so strong though and her faith in God and prayers has kept her going…I talked with her and encouraged her to keep trusting God, that He has a plan for it all, and prayed with her. That sweet baby boy. She and her husband haven’t even named him yet. I pray that they are all discharged soon, healthy and strong. I gave her my email address and she told me that she would let me know how the baby was doing. She was just so thankful for me coming to see her. She said, “thank you for remembering me.”That really touched my heart. It’s amazing how powerful visiting someone is and letting them know that you care and are praying for them.
It was hard to say goodbyes to everyone. I feel like I really connected with them and the week went by way too fast. Kijabe will be missed. I hope to go back one day. I'm thankful for the way God used us this week. I know we all learned a lot and were able to connect with those at the hospital and encourage them. Thanks, Lord.