I tried sign language to explain that I would accompany her back to the hospital. She nodded gratefully, but at that point her husband appeared, running to catch up with her. "Shall I walk with you?" I motioned, to ask him, too; he shook his head and indicated he would take care of his wife. I looked worriedly from one to the other and asked in Swahili, "Sawa?" "Sawa, sawa," they both responded. I hope it really is okay... I will visit the maternity ward later, hoping to see them and a healthy newborn.
This morning's service, the last of the semester, was lovely. Padre Richard, long the chaplain at the theological college, spoke about Isaiah's words. "The Israelites were asking in Lamentations, 'Have you forgotten us?' Then come the words of comfort, followed by the admonishment to 'Prepare the way for the Lord.'" Combining Advent's theme with that of graduation, Richard reminded us, "God made a people of priests out of nothing. He kept faith with them even when they did not keep faith with Him." Richard went on to say that we all have a responsibility to continue to work for liberty and justice, a theme especially appropriate in a country that just celebrated its hard-won independence. "God's message was not about pleasing people in power, but about liberating the people of the land," Richard closed, in an obvious reference to the upcoming elections. Simba, the Hardisons' oldest dog, joined us in the chapel to sing a rousing recessional, "Marching to Zion."
I caught a ride with Dr. Hardison back to the hospital for morning rounds. We arrived as an ambulance pulled in with a female patient suffering a gaping head wound -- the result of a serious altercation with her mother-in-law. The government's temporary five-panga limit is apparently not helping much. It only takes one machete to wreak havoc on a skull.
A young man presented at our outpatient department today with a seven-year history of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Dr. Hardison's sigmoidoscopy confirmed the obvious: ulcerative colitis. Had it been colon cancer, the patient would not still be alive, of course; but it is sad to know that he has been so inappropriately treated at so many other hospitals for so long. He was never even scoped until he got to Maseno. A short-term steroid regimen (also never before prescribed for him) will help to calm the inflammation, but there is no medication in all of Kenya that compares to the ones we have in the U.S. to treat the long-term condition.
Some things are just not sawa.