Time flies when you're having fun!

Catherine1 Posted by Catherine McKnight on Sun, 03 Apr 2011 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

My time here is passing so quickly. I was in Nairobi immigration offices this week to renew my visa. The visa that I got when I arrived lasted 90 days, and I can’t believe that I am renewing it already, although I am glad that it was renewed quickly and easily. I’m good to stay now for another 90 days.

It’s a measure of time that at the beginning, sounds like a long time, but it really does go so quickly. It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, and I believe in divine timing for everything so I’m trusting to God that I’ll complete the work that He has in mind for me while I’m here. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how difficult I will find it to leave in August. When I come back home, I know I have three more years to complete of my paediatric training which is like a carrot on a stick to get me to come home and finish up. A time during which I’ll be seeking God’s plan for me and whether it’s His will that I return to Kenya in a longer term capacity. Something about which I’d value prayers for – even while I’m still here, that He opens doors for me and I am confident that this is the right decision.

We have had some rains here this month. It is meant to be the long rainy season. I’ve never seen rain like it! It can just start raining all of a sudden, if you’re out in it – then you’ll be drenched through, and if you’re not out in it – then you’re staying where you are until it finishes. The thunder and lightning is an awesome reminder of the forces of nature and I have to admit to being scared of a storm for the first time in my life! We are thankful here for the rains as it is crucial for the crops and livestock. It is only a few years since a dreadful drought devastated many livelihoods, and even now in northern parts of Kenya there are ongoing problems. Even within the one country there are difficulties with food distribution and the national news shows reports of famine and ruined farmers. So we are grateful here in Kajiado for the rains that we’ve had. They are in the process of planting a number of trees around the ACK compound, and are hoping that more rains will encourage the saplings. I was lucky enough to be given a tree to plant next to the Diocesan offices and my house, it has imaginatively been called Catherine! I’m not entirely sure about naming trees after me but they were insistent. I have also been assured that it will be there for a very long time, and will be well looked after even after I have returned to the UK.

Work in the clinic is continuing to go well. I’m finding myself increasing in confidence in seeing patients, both in recognising their tropical illnesses and in being able to talk to them in Swahili. There have even been short times when I’m on my own at the clinic, a prospect that would’ve been very daunting for me not so long ago, but now I’m happy enough that I can see a patient or two. Or at least have the language to explain that I’m on my own and if they wait, someone else is coming to help!

Unfortunately our supply of medicines is depleting fast. We have run out of paracetamol even, and some antibiotics that we use to treat the most common illnesses that we see – pneumonia, typhoid and brucella. This is a combination of the increased number of patients who we are now treating, but also because we don’t have the funds at present to buy any more drugs. This is a difficult situation that we find ourselves in, for a number of reasons; when patients come and see us, it’s good to be a ‘one stop shop’, in that they see a clinician, get their blood tests and treatment all in the one place. If we see them, diagnose them, but then have no medicine to treat them, it compromises the service that we would like to offer, damaging our reputation and discourages patients from returning, given that they have to go elsewhere to pick up medicines. This will also have a knock on effect on the income of the clinic, which is realistically a business, and one of our sources of income is dispensing medicines. So we are praying for enough funds to be found to invest in medicines.

I have travelled to some other parishes around the Diocese of Kajiado, and am always assured of a warm welcome. I visited a couple of neighbouring churches not far from Nairobi, called St. Paul’s and St. Thomas’, in Kandisi and Ongata Rongai. St Paul’s was having a revival service and it was packed full – a credit to the ministry of its rector. The church had a predominantly young congregation and the service was lively with a gifted worship team. It was good to see how things are done in different churches and to enjoy the welcome that I received.

I am looking forward to a visit from my sister, Ruth, and brother, Mark. Ruth is here for two weeks over Easter, and Mark just for the Easter weekend – combining his trip with a visit to Uganda. I’ll be able to take a little time off work while they’re here and am excited about being able to show them what I’m doing, introduce them to everyone and of course, a little bit of relaxation and sight-seeing.

I am so grateful for the ongoing support that I am receiving from back at home. It is great to receive emails and to know that I am in many people’s thoughts and prayers. These prayers have really been answered as I am enjoying work, good health and see almost daily improvement in my Swahili – please continue with these prayers and also those that I have mentioned as I’ve written my blog.

Over the past week, I’ve really been encouraged by Ephesians 6 v14 (The Message translation)

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life.

I truly feel that actions speak louder than words and so I am enjoying being able to work here and serve in this way with a contented heart and peaceful spirit. I’m really looking forward to the next few months here, and I just hope that the time doesn’t seem to pass quite so quickly!

Catherine McKnight

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Mark Henderson said Wed, 27 Apr 2011 07:19PM
Hi Catherine, I am a GP in Limavady and will be part of the team from Limavdy Grammar School visiting Kajiado in July to help at he school.I visited the clinic and also went out on the mobile unit when I was there in 2008.I am really looking forward to visiting Kenya again.I may be able to bring some supplies with me depending on availability and if there is any space left in the luggage. I wonder what would be the most pressing need. Clearly from you comments antibiotics are in short supply. Anything else on your wish list? I can't promise to bring everything as I may be limited to a large suitcase but there is no point me trying to bring stuff which you don't need.Are dressings etc of use? How important is it that things are "in date"?

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