Week 5 – Halfway Point (wow)

Project Work:
This past Friday, June 7th I held my first consent/information day at Kibaala Nursery School. With a few hiccups it went well and we had many of the children’s parents sign the consent form. There are 26 children at Kibaala who participated in the research study last year. We will try to reach all children’s parents to give them the opportunity to sign the consent form and offer their child the deworming medication for this year. This week the Community Health Worker for Munoywa area accompanied me to Kibaala Nursery School as we gave the first dose of deworming medication and completed data collection. The measurements being taken are: weight, height and arm circumference. We also ask the Head Teachers whether the student has been absent and the reasons behind the absence. It was exciting to see the planning of the last few weeks being put into action. We also set up the consent/information day at Bo-yusuf Nursery School for early next week.
In regards to the Public Health Camp we have chosen a place for both Mudete and Chavakali Public Health Camps. In Chavakali we are going to be holding the camp at Walodeya Church near the Primary School. In Mudete we have proposed to hold the camp at PAG Church, which still needs to be confirmed. We will be holding the first camp July 4th in Chavakali! I know it is still 3 weeks away, but we are starting to get both excited and nervous! Next week we will be hiring Community Health Workers, Nurses and Clinic Officers. Then we are almost ready for the camps to occur!

The Weekend Trips:
This past weekend we spent in our hometown, Mbale. Friday afternoon Becky, Lauren and myself decided to walk around the Market and see what other than food they had to sell. Being three girls we found ourselves at a lovely lady’s clothing pile, looking through all the tops. We found ourselves purchasing each a few new tops to spice up our wardrobe! It was a lovely start to the weekend.
On Saturday we took a matatu to Majengo and then piki pikis to the Maragoli Hills. We had a guide take us to the top of the mountain where we took many fun pictures! We then went into the Maragoli caves! Caves are probably one of my biggest fears. When we were first entered the caves, I watched Greg’s, Mary’s and Becky’s bodies disappear under the rocks… I nearly peed my pants! There were about 14 kids and teenagers who also came into the caves with us and I don’t think we could have done it without them! They were so helpful, helping us know where to put our feet, how to get under the rocks, and pushing/pulling up the massive rocks. I was so happy I conquered my fear and made it through the 120 meter cave!
This past Sunday the SID team had a unique graduation ceremony for the 3 Project Managers and our Project Coordinator who were unable to attend our ceremonies in Canada. At the graduation ceremony we had the dean, a keynote speaker and key people to hand out diplomas. Both the keynote speaker and dean brought laughter and wisdom to their speeches! Well it is off to Uganda tomorrow for some extreme river rafting and sight seeing! So excited.

Project Work + Weekend Shenanigans

Project Work:
These past couples of weeks I have spent meeting with community health workers and people from the Ministry of Health. I have also finalized my budget and sent in my proposals for the SID executives back in Canada to approve.
This year I will be organizing and conducting two, one-day public health camps in the Sabatia district during July. Our proposed locations within the Sabatia district are Mudete and Chavakali. We chose these locations because they are easily accessible, highly populated and government facilities are a far distance away. The closest dispensaries to Mudete and Chavakali are about 6km walking distance, and for many individuals piki piki’s (motorcycles) are not a feasible option. We are expecting to have about 1000 individuals attend each camp. During the camp these attendees will be diagnosed, given medication, and then finally there will be information workshops to help provide necessary information to stop further illness. The month of June will be spent planning and lobbying different organizations for donations of medications.
As well I will be continuing with a research study started last year by a previous SID research associates. Last year a pilot research study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of deworming children 3 to 5 years old. It was a randomized control study, meaning there was a case and control group. The deworming medication was given every 3 months and data collection was also completed every 3 months. This year the children who were in the 2012 control groups, who did not receive the medication last year, will be given the deworming medication this year. The same data collection measurements will be taken and the results will be compared from when the children did not receive medication and when they did.
My colleagues in the health sector are also organizing an anti-jiggers campaign. We hope to treat and fumigate as many households and families as our budget allows. As well we will be completing unique infrastructure proposals at each of the dispensaries SID works in. This includes: Munoywa, Inyali, Nadanya and Linkindu.

Today, June 4, 2013, I have just received my executive approval to move forward with my projects. For my deworming projects we will be working in three regions: Munoywa, Nadanya and Inyali. At each region we will be working in one or two schools, depending on whether or not they received the medication last year or not. This week I will hold my first consent information day at Kibaala Nursery School in the Munoywa region. This is a time for the parents of the 2012 control group children to ask any questions and then sign the consent form giving permission for their child to receive the medication every 3 months for one year and have their weight, height and arm circumference measured. We also check whether they have been absent from school and why. This week we have also contacted possible organizations for medical donations.

Weekend shenanigans!
Two weekends ago on Friday afternoon, the SID team got together and played a quality mini soccer game! During our game many kids who live in the neighborhood came out to see if they could join. We then started a big game of the SID team versus the children. Guess who won? The children, by far!
On Saturday Mary, Greg and myself decided to hike the Maragoli Hills. We took a matatus (similar to a mini van) to Majengo and then piki piki’s to the base of the hill. While I thought I was well trained to hike mountains from growing up in British Columbia, I had no idea we would hike straight up the mountain. Our guide got a good laugh as we were huffing and puffing up the mountain and he made it seem like a Saturday stroll in the park. The view at the top was absolutely breath taking. You could see a 360-degree view from Kisumu and Lake Victoria and all the way to Mbale and well beyond. We spent the entire afternoon climbing the big rocks, taking pictures and enjoying our lunch. I should mention that we had spent the morning preparing a delicious lunch of avocado and egg sandwiches, pineapple, bananas and cookies. However, at the top of the mountain we 6realized we had forgotten the eggs at home in the pot (opps!). Nonetheless, we had an amazing day hiking and exploring new areas of Kenya.
Sunday was spent in Kisumu. We had an absolutely fabulous and filling Indian meal in Kisumu. After that we went to the Masai Market, where all the girls found beautiful bracelets. Before we headed home we went to Tusky’s, a favorite, to load up with peanut butter, instant coffee, and different goodies. The matatus ride home was a very bumpy, cramped ride. Boy was I happy to finally arrive in Mbale!
It is now back to work this week!
This past weekend we went to Kakamega rainforest! We arrived around four on Saturday afternoon. We stayed at the Isecheno Blue Guest House in the rainforest. We chose to get up at 4:30AM for the sunrise hike. Although it was very hard to get up, and hiking up the mountain in the pitch dark was not the most enjoyable, watching the sunrise was worth it! After watching the sunrise and taking many team jumping photos, we hiked down the mountain into the rainforest in the early morning sunshine. We arrived back at our bandas and had a lovely breakfast. We then spent the morning and early afternoon playing FYB and relaxing.