Saturday, January 17, 2009

Return to Maseno

Christmas in New England was both unplanned and bittersweet... But my mother's final gift to me was precious time with family and friends. Thank you all, from North America to Africa and points between, for your love and support these past painful weeks.

Thanks to Nan & Gerry, Emmah and Linet, re-entry in Maseno felt seamless after a classic Vineyard departure, fraught with high winds and canceled ferryboats. "Pole sana" ("I'm so sorry") neighbors kindly offer with extended hands, here just as there, about my mama's recent death. I returned one week ago to warm sunshine, welcoming hugs and the usual unusual array of presenting problems in our little mission hospital.

A 9-year-old boy suffering from severe malnutrition, jiggers and phimosis (look it up) needed circumcision. We kept Stephen an extra few days to feed him. A 36-year-old HIV-positive female presented with herpetic lesions involving the trigeminal nerve. Mary's left cornea was damaged; she has permanently lost her sight in that eye. A 14-year-old was admitted after an attempted abortion, a 21-year-old after an attempted suicide. Two wasted, almost skeletal, young women, one with TB and one with probable HIV encephalopathy, are not doing well. [Note: Jesca died the day after I wrote this entry.] And 7-year-old Beryl is suffering from the worst case of chickenpox I have ever seen; she is febrile, immuno-suppressed and perfectly miserable. Margaret, 14, was discharged after successful treatment for osteomyelitis in her left femur -- a condition that had gone undiagnosed for over a year at other medical facilities. Grace is a beautiful 12-year-old with severe red-cell aplasia/anemia; her prognosis is not good. Several babies with malaria have come for treatment and gone home. A young HIV-positive male was admitted two days ago with ascending bilateral neuropathy -- probable AIDP (acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy). And five drunken young men suffered a variety of hand, skull and clavicle fractures in a two-piki-piki RTA (motorized bicycle road traffic accident) last night. Life and death and time march on...

Speaking of time, January 20th is almost here, and all eyes in predominately-Luo/Luhya Maseno are on the U.S. presidential inauguration. Five babies named "Barack" were born in our small maternity wing this week, and fraternal twins named "Obama" and "Michelle" arrived two days ago. Michelle and her mama are pictured above. (Her brother is resting up for the big event.)

Epiphany blessings, Everyone. "Light one candle for hope," as our St. Andrew's, Edgartown, children recently and beautifully sang.

No comments: