I am traveling with 8 other pharmacy students who will also be working in the hospital – Austin, Max, Lindsey, Lindsay, Naomi, Elizabeth, Carli, and Megan. There are also multiple medical residents, medical students, physicians, and scientists working with AMPATH and staying at IU house with us. Check out this website to learn more about AMPATH and how this rotation got started https://ampath.pharmacy.purdue.edu/
After fighting some jet lag from our 24+ hours of travel, we headed to MTRH. (On a side note, the Amsterdam airport is the best airport I have ever visited). We spent our first two days in the hospital orienting to the pharmacies. Although many of the processes were different than what I have seen in the US, most of the medications were similar to what I have seen on other rotations. The biggest difference was the attitude of the workers in the hospital. I have never met so many people that seemed genuinely happy at work. Everyone was so excited to have us there and seemed interested in helping us understand how the pharmacies worked. It was the opposite of the stressed out working environment in the US. Everyone here still got their jobs done, but they were a lot more relaxed about it which seemed to make everything work so much smoother. The focus on collaboration and teamwork is something I hope to bring back home with me when I start working.
Absolutely everything about this trip has exceeding my expectations in the best ways. From the food here (which is amazing) to the people I have been meeting, this is shaping up to be a great experience. Everyone at IU house wants to impart all of their wisdom onto you at all times. (After no less than 24 hours on the ground, we also starting giving out a lot of unsolicited advice so it must be something in the water here). One of the pieces of advice given to us by everyone was “Don’t get hit by a car,” which I thought was a joke until we went into town. There are no traffic regulations and the cars have the right of way instead of pedestrians. This made for some interesting ventures into town, but after a while it feels pretty normal. What do we even need stop signs and street lights in the states for anyway?
On another note, I have spent a lot of my life on what I like to call “Serbian time.” Serbian time is when everything happens about 20-40 minutes later than you planned. Well, let me tell you that Serbian time is getting its butt kicked by Kenyan time. The way of life here is so much slower paced and more relaxed than what I am used to, I’m sure I will have a tough time just sticking to Serbian time by the time I get back to the states.
We will start rounding on the Adult Medicine wards in MTRH on Monday but we were told on Friday that the doctors affiliated with the college here are going on strike so we are unsure about how that will affect what we do. More to come on that next week.
Umbrella Falls – about a 30 minute drive from downtown Eldoret. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. One of the Eldoret locals – Max – will be taking us on all of our weekend trips and is one of the most animated and happy people I have met here. Most of the Kenyan people I have met are extremely soft-spoken (to give you a frame of reference -if anyone reading this knows my dad or uncles, the Kenyans speak quieter than them) but Max is the opposite. He told us after we walked up the hardest part of our hike and were all struggling to get air that on a scale of 1-10 the Umbrella falls hike is a 1.5… so hoping we get used to the altitude soon. Eldoret’s elevation is ~8000ft, which I am not at all used to yet, and makes climbing and hiking very difficult. I’m hoping when I get back to the US I will be able to shave a LOT off my 5k time due to my very well-conditioned lungs. We were able to spend some time behind the waterfall, too! After some relatively cheesy pics, we headed back into town. Kerio View & Rift Valley – about a 45 minute drive from Eldoret. The rift valley is where a lot of professional runners will go to train before big races due to the altitude – the entrance to the town literally says “Home of Champions,” so that was pretty awesome. The rift valley stretches across the entire continent of Africa and the highest part happens to be in Kenya – who woulda thought. The goal of this trip was to hike up to get a great view overlooking the surrounding area (the rift valley), see a waterfall on the way up, then come back to a great lunch at the Kerio view restaurant which overlooked the rift valley as well. Max said this was about a 3 on our scale of difficulty, but I don’t think he took into consideration the slippery mud and rocks from the rainsthat happened over the past 3 days. It definitely ended up being a team building exercise after we all ended up falling a few times and had to take the way back down in stages telling each other how to get from one rock to the next. So, we got to the waterfall and it was, of course, beautiful. We were still pretty far away and there wasn’t a good way to get close to the waterfall so we figured we would just look at it from afar. Austin asked about going down an ominous hole that led to the waterfall (see below) and our guide basically laughed at us and said maybe Austin and Max could go but the girls should stay back. No thanks. We climbed (ie: slid through a lot of mud) down a literal hole and ended up right next to the waterfall! It was definitely worth it. Honestly though, it was nothing compared to the view at the top. Unobstructed views of the entire countryside. Absolutely breathtaking. Before this trip, I had no idea how beautiful Kenya was. As with everything about this trip, I am continually surprised.