Haley: Project Sunshine

October 29, 2010

Today was Project Sunshine. But to my displeasure that is NOT how it started off. First of all I want to start off by thanking my Parents, Brothers, Aunts/Uncles, Grandparents, and yes even Teachers for guiding me and providing me with the right love and support in my life. Today was an extra reminder for me on HOW important it is to love the ones you care about… Rather than waking up to my alarm, I woke up and experienced for the first time a kid getting the stick and there is nothing more blood boiling than this. (This wasn’t in my home(s) I’m staying at, and this is NOT how the majority of Kenyan Families handle things, so don’t think that). Unfortunately with good there will sometimes be bad… But  moving on!

Project Sunshine! This is essentially kind of like a daycare within the hospital. When the mothers (or fathers) come in to get medication or whatever it is they need to do, they drop their kids off with us and we provide them with milk and cookies and then play with them. The kids are usually afraid of the only white person IN the building, and they have NO idea what the heck I’m speaking because they’re still learning how to make complete sentences in Swahili. So I figure “Hey!, there’s some puppets over there, WHY NOT?! I loved stuffed animals when I was a kid.” Turned out my little “English-Speaking-Giraffe-Puppet” was a demonoide for this Kenyan tot because I THOUGHT this kid was enjoying it but the kid was wincing and within seconds let out an ear piercing scream; at this point I didn’t know WHO was more scared, the kid, or me, nearly chucking Jeffery the Giraffe half way across the room from the explosion of deafness. (Every so often she would peek her little head from around the corner to see if the stuffed animal ceased to be ‘posessed’.)

Other than this little kid, the place was pretty dead. I guess on Fridays not many people come to the clinic because they either don’t have money towards the end of the week to get there or they’ve started the weekend early. So this mean a LOT of down time. I couldn’t even walk around to the departments because even they really didn’t have anything to do. So what does this mean? Ohhhhh it means that Haley got stuck talking to other Kenyan Volunteers who LOVED to ask questions. And not just ANY kind of questions:
[ “So where are you from?”
] “I’m from Chicago… in the US”
[ “Oh… Chicago!…… What country is that by?”
] “Wha-Oh no it’s not a country. It is a City within the US”
[ “Oh… So it’s by the US? Is it nice?”
] “No-no, it is IN the US… like Mombasa is a City in Kenya”
[ “Ohhh… So you’re American?”

(….. yeahhhh this is how this went for a while… it gets better… 10 minutes goes by)

[ “So… you look like you are from Mexico… you know, Spanish?”
] “… Really!? Hmm, never thought about it. And I think you’re thinking of Spain”
[ “Yeah… Mexico is a part of Spain”
] “(doooooo I TELL her—oh never mind)… No, part of my family is from Greece so I probably look like them.
[ “… So you’re Greece? Is that a country?” (OKAY so pretttyyyyyy sure she’s never looked at a map at this point)
] “Uhhmmm… yes, it’s north of Egypt across the sea…… but no, some of my ancestors are from Greece, I am not from there”
[ “Oh yeah!!!! I forgot! You said your nationality was Chicago right?”……. (sigh)

(it was a painful process but I got through it… and more importantly so did she–WEW!)
THEN there was the guy…uhg Do you ever have those days where you just want to appreciate silence or alone time… yes well this guys just wasn’t getting it.

[ “Ahhhh So you’re AMERICAN!”
] “Yes. Yes I am”
[ “So you’re a Doctor!?”
] “Oh no! I’m just here as a student, and I am studying health administration”
[ “… (Blank Stare) Sooooo you’re a nurse?”
] “hm? No(?) okay there are people who help run hospitals, look at the community, look at the finances, construct programs, monitor the medical staff, etc… that’s what I am studying to hopefully do”
(this proceeded for about 5 minutes as he was amazed that you didn’t have to be a doctor or nurse to work in a hospital)

What a day! Although it was slow at the hospital, I was tested today nonetheless and learned that patience is essential while traveling and looking back on it now, I probably would have laughed if I had overheard those conversations.

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