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  • Writer's picturekwankew

The Human GPS

Yesterday we were supposed to go to Hamey but ended up in Damajale, apparently the coordinates given to the pilot by logistics were incorrect or were put into their GPS system incorrectly, I am actually quite confused. We have had meetings practically every day but for some reasons no one could truly explain the security situation or why we ended in Damajale. When asked to show us the different locations of our clinics, security or logistics were either not able to produce it or not willing to. When you are in Africa, things get quite fluid like the security situation here and no one can be pinned down. Someone said,"This is Africa (TIA)."

So it was decided that we would go to Hamey but to ensure we got there a human GPS, that is, Samuel the water engineer who has the coordinates for the water tank in Hamey would accompany us. However early this morning I saw him leaving with Sakuda, our program person for Garissa. Fortunately the road to Garissa was blocked by water and he was turned back in time to go with us in the helicopter. As we left Dadaab, I could see the three groups of refugee camps of Dadaab.

We found Hamey alright; I could even see the tent under the acacia tree. Unlike Damajale, Hamey is a very small village. We landed right next to the tent. Again unlike Damajale clinic which seemed to always be closed, the tent clinic was open even on a Friday and the healthcare workers were seeing patients.

We took some time to organize some space for ourselves and also to cordon off the area for the purpose of crowd control, the police officers came and that helped.

It turned out to be a very busy clinic. Again the children were the sickest with malnutrition, worm infestation, anemia, pica, diarrhea, fever and dehydration. The very sick child who came to see Jim the other day turned out today all better, smiling and walking on her own two feet. I tested a few children for malaria and they did not have it. The mosquitoes have returned, it will be a matter of time when malaria is back. I saw a woman with elephantiasis for three years.

We then heard from the pilots that they would be coming to get us a little early because of an impending thunder storm. Even before we were to pack up we finished seeing everyone that needed to be seen. The healthcare personnel invited me to their lunch of rice and meat which they shared while squatting behind the tent. This was given to them by one of the villagers in appreciation for their work. It wasn't much, a lot of rice and a few pieces of goat meat on bones but it was very generous and sweet of them to share with me.

On our way back to Dadaab, the rain came, not heavy. Far away towards the direction of Somalia we sighted a rainbow.

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