Today marks five days on Kenyan soil and so far it has all been incredible; from the food to the people, I could not have asked for a better experience so far.
Today has been my second day actually in the hospital. Yesterday Morgan lectured and trained the team further on triaging patients and patient prioritization. This has been a topic I have been eager to learn more about and was very glad to have the opportunity to learn so thoroughly about such an important component of our job.
This morning I had the chance to work with one of the Child Life Assistants in the oncology ward playroom. It was a very busy space, with kids constantly coming and going. I made several little friends and had a lot of laughs. It has been really interesting working in a culture so different from my own. For one thing, working with patients, family, and even staff, who speak minimal english has been (and will continue to be) a challenge – but one that I am welcoming and am looking forward to! Many of the children this morning were either too shy to speak much, or did not understand much english for us to communicate verbally with one another. So…how do we break the ice with someone when we don’t even speak the same language? Names are generally easy to communicate, so being able to address someone by name, regardless of the language, makes a big difference! Once I got to know some of the kids’ names, it was easy to communicate with them, get their attention, and get them to laugh and participate. (a couple of goofy dance moves and funny faces doesn’t hurt either!)
After lunch I returned to the child life team – who are training this week with Morgan – and we discussed the ins and outs of an internship, and what having a Kenyan intern will look like for their program in the future. It has been really interesting so far to get the behind-the-scenes details on developing and implementing a program. And having the opportunity to observe this development in a place that is lacking in resources relative to hospitals in Canada is really incredible and will provide me with great knowledge for working in and expanding programs in the future.
Tomorrow I will have the opportunity to spend the morning in the general paediatric unit. In the afternoon we will be learning and discussing the topic of brain injury and how to discuss relationships and sexuality with teens who have a brain injury. Again, another incredibly interesting subject and one that will undoubtedly help me in my work in child life.
Check out the pictures below of some of the kids I had the pleasure of working with today, their lovely artwork, and the amazing team I am working alongside!