As it has been always the case we have never followed our schedule. Today we were supposed to go to Damajale but instead we drove the water and sanitation folks to Damajale while the medical people were to go to Kokar to explore the possibility of running a clinic there. At Damajale the four security police refused to split into two groups; one to guard the people in Damajale and the other to follow us to Kokar to do clinic. Instead we had to hire additional local police to provide security for the people remaining in Damajale. Precious time was wasted. We then had to back track 45 minutes to Kokar in the dusty road. The only constant for us had been a beautiful duck at the same “pond” for the last few days we have been traveling on this road. I wonder to myself why security has contradicted part of its own dictum, “Never keep a routine and never use the same route”. They certainly do not keep the same routine but they do keep the same route.
At Kokar there was a big meeting under a tin-roofed open car park with a lot of the elders. A group of women loitered around the periphery, they did not participate. While waiting for all the elders to arrive, I made friend with a camel and the local kids who were simultaneously terrified by my camera and fascinated by it. There was a translator there at the elders’ meeting. They told us that the village chief has given his blessings for us to run a clinic there.
We have been promised that our medications would arrive soon but as of this morning when I restocked some of our medications, I still have not seen them. I have arranged the medications in the three bags in such a way that they could clearly be seen and accessed. Because of the traveling time and that we had to trace our way back to Damajale to fetch the water and sanitation folks and then tried to get home before dark, we could only promise an hour clinic.
The car park however did not afford good crowd control. We were warned that Somalians would not listen to queuing and in fact they were bearing down on us so much so that it was very difficult to provide any kind of care. Our security person does not speak Somali and was unable to control them. The police did not offer any help and just sat under the shade of the acacia trees resting comfortably. I saw a number of children all of them clearly had anemia, pica and worm infestation but the promised medicines did not come. So I had no worm medicines, liquid iron or vitamins to offer. There were also a whole slew of babies with diarrhea. I think their water situation is bad here and our water person was not there to assess the problem here.
With all the pushing and shoving, many ended up not being seen. It was not a happy situation. I think we need a physical building to run a clinic in order to provide some semblance of order.
It was rather a long day for such a short clinic. I think our total driving time must be about seven hours today, not too comfortable at all. A large truck was stuck in the flooded road right in Dadaab. We have been lucky so far.