Charlie and his stellar Seven Gates crew could work on that one stretch of potholes for a century and still not be finished. It didn't help that all the other drivers seemed to careen around every single living creature, wheelbarrow, boda-boda, pedestrian and vehicle, en route, directly into oncoming traffic (us). We all survived and managed to down hamburgers and fries for lunch at "Mon Ami." It looked for all the world like an American McDonald's, sans the golden arches -- complete with a playground painted in primary colors. After two weeks in Maseno and 36 years on the Vineyard, I was in culture shock.
We then visited the Kisumu "cultural museum" which featured a Luo homestead, two crocodiles and several (penned) venomous snakes; haggled with the countless kiosk vendors outside the gates; and remembered to tuck our cameras out of sight as we drove back through Kisumu to the hospital. Villagers -- except for the Maasai, who charge for the privilege -- enjoy having their photographs taken. Nan says that the police, however, are suspicious that cameras might catch them taking bribes. "People have been arrested for taking pictures in the city."
This morning the weekly medical clinic and orphan feeding program was held in Ekwanda. Again, hundreds of kids and their guardians awaited us, and again Linet was my interpreter. It is always a poignant and powerful experience; I am grateful to have been somewhat prepared by our diocesan friends and Chatham neighbors. Gerry says that in the early years of the program, many kids were so sick that several would be taken back each week by the medical team for admission to the hospital. Education, nutrition and prevention are clearly making a difference here.
Afternoon rounds brought the disturbing news that the consulting surgeon had still not shown up for Andrew's exploratory operation. The surgeon's primary job is with a government hospital, and he has not yet been "released" to come here. Meanwhile, Andrew is getting weaker every day that he has to wait. Dr. Hardison will need to refer him to a public hospital, in spite of the family's wishes to keep him at Maseno.
More disturbing news: there is an outbreak of Ebola virus in Uganda. Francis, one of our medical officers, is trying to get transport money to his 17-year-old son, who lives in that country.
Your messages mean so much to me. Thank you. Advent blessings to you and yours, dear family and friends.