Thursday, February 14, 2013


I'm back home.  Friday, after consulting on a few patients and saying my goodbyes, I left the village of Sagam and headed to Kisumu. From there, I hopped the quick 35 minute flight to Nairobi and hung out for about three hours until taking the red eye to Amsterdam.  At the Schiphol airport, I had the pleasant experience of hanging out in the KLM frequent flyer lounge (that included free hot showers) until my flight to SFO. All in all, travel time from Sagam to the North Bay was about 30 hours. Besides forgetting my pair of running shoes on the plane, I had a nice, uneventful journey. I'm now farm-sitting my friends' place in the lovely town of Healdsburg. It's a lovely 66 degrees. The sun is shining, the internet is fast, and the hum of the clothes dryer reminds me that I'm no longer in rural Kenya. But my thoughts linger a continent away. What is happening to the little 9 year old girl with HIV and swollen glands that may be a sign of either TB or lymphoma? How is she after her needle biopsy? What about the 23 year old woman with heart disease that may need surgery to repair one of her heart valves? I'm out of Kenya, but many of my thoughts and worries are still there. The truth is the patients are in excellent hands. Michele, the family doc on the ground now, is amazing and will take wonderful care of them. Nevertheless, it's hard to leave it behind.

If things go as planned, I won't return to western Kenya until August. I haven't been in the same country for 6 straight months in a while. A year ago in March I headed to Malawi for a month, then worked for two months in South Sudan, hitting a few other places on the way home. I came back to California for two months then did two and a half months in Kenya, two months in California, two and a half more months in Kenya, and now I'm back here in NorCal. I'm ready to be home.

Much will need to happen for the Family and Emergency Medicine residency to be ready to start in September. The curriculum needs to be accepted, applications need to be reviewed, faculty need to be chosen, and agreements between hospitals need to be finalized. An emergency ward needs to be built at Sagam Community Hospital, additional staff need to be hired, and systems need to be improved. There is plenty of work to keep us busy.

Thanks everyone for reading the blog these last few months. Please tune in around early August if you'd like to keep up with my travels.



Michael said...
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Michael said...

Amazing stories, Jeff. I'm glad you made it back home safe and hope that the residency programs goes well. If you are part of its development, it is sure to be a success.