I am sitting in the Nairobi airport waiting to board the plane back home. I can’t wait to see my children and look forward to starting in the new office on Monday. But… Part of me is sad to leave, wondering when I will be able to return. Certainly, there are those moments of doubt or fear that make me wonder what I was thinking when I came over here, but they are fleeting, and usually related to a flat tire (two this trip!) or flood waters we must drive across from heavy rains, to the wild “overtaking” aka passing on the highways. But what will bring me back is the people, the children who are so sweet and innocent and just need an operation or two to change their lives. And, the animals and the beauty of the countries here in Africa. So, today, I bought a cell phone that will allow me to switch out sims cards for different countries. As much as I love my iphone, ATT let me down on this trip and I won’t plan to travel again without cell service and hopefully email to contact my loved ones and office.
I’ve missed blogging the past couple of days, so I want to catch up on a few patients. Remember Mildred? She is five and had her bilateral cleft lip repair last week. She looks great and is very happy. It was bittersweet for us, as her baby sister, Joyce, was hospitalized with malnutrition and we didn’t think we’d be able to repair her bilateral cleft lip. Thank God that the pediatricians were able to tune her up and clear her for surgery! She had a successful cleft lip repair on Thursday and is on her way home. What a blessing for both girls and their family as this will improve all of their lives substantially.
I had the pleasure of working with a fabulous team on this trip. I appreciate Dr. David Chang putting this team and trip together for all of us and leading with grace. We had incredible staff to work with in the clinic, the operating room and on the inpatient ward. It was wonderful to also work with Dr. Eric Dobratz, Dr. Cam Kirchner and Dr. Jason Goodwin. We wouldn’t have been nearly as organized, efficient and able to see as many patients if it weren’t for the dedicated hard work of Diane Kirchner and Bobbie Goodwin who photographed all the patients, organized their paperwork, put together post op medications and a goodie bag for each child. I haven’t seen them yet at the airport, so I hope they weren’t caught up in that crazy traffic jam in Nairobi… Oh, they just arrived! So, now we are all boarding our flight to Amsterdam and then going our separate ways.