Jonathan and Kaitlyn Greene in Kenya
This past June we (Jonathan and Kaitlyn Greene) travelled to Kenya. After 16 hours in an airplane we arrived at our destination: Nairobi. After spending the day visiting “touristy” spots, we loaded up the safari vans and headed to Kasigau—the rural village we would be working at for the next week. We set up camp outside of a family’s small house, cramming all our luggage and supplies into two-person tents. At the medical clinics we would triage the patient (take vital signs and ask about their medical and social history), follow them to see the doctors, and retrieve prescriptions for them. The patients would arrive well before 8 am and wait until one of the three doctors was available to see them—sometimes waiting until 6 pm. For many of the patients our visit acted as their annual health care appointment and only contact with a doctor for the entire year.
One of the most challenging aspects of this experience was communicating with the patients. Most of the patients spoke Swahili, and a few spoke only their tribal languages. Because of this, we had to rely on translators with no medical background to correctly interpret medical care. It was also difficult when we were unable to provide needed and necessary services or medications. Most of the people in the village could not afford medications; therefore, if we did not bring that medication with us the patient was unable to pay for it at the pharmacy. It was heartbreaking having to tell patients that we were unable to help them, especially because it was something so simple to obtain at home. This is why the church’s support is so helpful—more support from the congregation (such as the scholarship the Going Forth team graciously awarded us), the more medications and supplies we can bring. I urge you all to look past helping people pay for trips, and to help them raise money for basic needs. Our impact after we leave comes from resources and educational advancement, not our presence.
In total we worked in three different clinics: Rakanga, Buguta, and Makwisinyi, and were able to help around 300 patients. It is our prayer that Western Kentucky University will continue to grow and develop this program in order to affect many more lives of the villagers and the students. Thank you all so much for your support and prayers during this process, and we urge you to continue praying for the amazing people of Kasigau.