The sky is orange and purple at 6:05am in this part of Kenya and the birds start their frantic cries, as though looking for a lost one. They bring in the day with a racket and I realize how little I know about birds. I don’t recognize a specific type of cry they make, which leaves me with a bit of a sad feeling. It is almost as though I can’t greet them properly if I don’t know who they are.
Two kids are sick in the small hospital, seemingly with malaria, but no one is sure. The nurse is in a training in Nairobi, leaving the hospital in the hands of the two Community Health Workers. They are only allowed to give the children pain killers or fever reducers and I worry that an entire week will go by before these guys receive proper treatment, should they have malaria. The kids lay down on AFCA-donated beds and shiver away.
The hospital is small and cute. With four beds, it is not a massive place, but it is clean and the community comes here for basic care. They beg for training and help in nursing, pediatrics, midwifery, and dentistry. Just the basics, they say. We just want to know if a child has cholera, typhoid, amoebas, ear infections, malaria, or tuberculosis. We want to provide a service for the community, but are strapped with a lack of staff. If you could just train us, they say.
The school has about 100 children from grades K-8. It is made of corrugated tin, with lessons written on cardboard, decorating the rooms. Children are working on math and science when I drop by and they seem shy until they don’t. The little ones wave from far away, but when I get near them, they freak out and scream and run and hide. It seems that they are brave from a distance but as soon as this white person gets closer, their courage deserts them and they are 4-year olds once again. I laugh and try again. I walk away laughing, sure that one day soon, they will no longer fear, but will be sitting with me, looking at photos, laughing with me.