Walking to the first day of clinic in the bright warm sunshine of an East African morning has to be one of the most inviting experiences and it remains so for after all these visits. It’s been so long for me that I can only imagine what it’s like for the first time. As inviting as it must be on that first visit, though, there is still the apprehension of new faces, a new place and those expectations that we all place on ourselves. And so begins another journey.
FAME began as single outpatient clinic offering it’s services and is now a complex care facility managing not only five times as many visitors as it did a mere four years ago, but providing inpatient, surgical and laboratory services that are available in few places so remote. Our schedule is to provide a neurology clinic at FAME during our first week here and then to provide neurology services in several villages that are somewhat distant from FAME where the journey may be a hardship for the patients or they may be simply unaware of the services available or the need for them. And of course we’ll take a day here and a day there to go on safari and see the amazing wildlife that shares the countryside.
William, our outreach coordinator, does an incredible job getting the word out in the Karatu district as well as in the village areas of our impending arrival which was evidenced today by the number of patients that showed for our first day of clinic. We were unable to see them all and had to ask a number of them to come back tomorrow or in the days to follow. There is such a need for specialty care here that is so clear which makes the rewards so great. The doctors. clinical officers and nurses here are like sponges for information and with each visit it is so clear that they retain most, if not all, of what we have taught the time before.
And so it begins, another adventure, another experience where it is difficult sometimes to identify who is the teacher and who is the student as it all melds together and makes it all worthwhile. I’ll leave you with a photo of the student teaching, Megan evaluating a patient with Dr. Gabrielle, both incredibly capable clinicians and learning from each other….I can’t think of a more amazing place to be right now.