The Tent under the Acacia Tree- The Clinic in Hamey
Hamey is a community about 45 minutes from Damajale. We were supposed to head to Liboi but because there is no sanitation project there for the other staff to do they have decided for the medical team to go to Hamey. It took us three and a half hours to get to this village. We drove through the three big pools of water; essentially the road was just a big river. A van was stuck right in the middle of a big pool close to Dadaab. On our way we passed two donkey carts and the men who were driving the carts called out in Somali, "White men, help us!" Kenya gained its independence in 1962 and the country is still heavily supported by NGOs. The recent prolonged drought surely did not help matter. By the time we got to Hamey the four community workers had been seeing patients, many of whom were crowding around a table filled with medicines. On our way to Hamey we passed Damajale, the clinic there was closed tightly and looked as though it has not been open in quite a while.
The clinic was a medium-sized tent under an acacia tree. There was no tent previously and patients were then seen under the shade of the tree. Thorny branches surrounded the tent to prevent trespassing. Donkeys roamed around the area.
Jim and I set ourselves up in the deeper recesses of the tent while Yvonne was sent out at the back of the tent to get some privacy for the pregnant women. It was not the best arrangement by any means. The temperature in the tent quickly rose, the heat was intolerable and we were sweating profusely. The patients only had a mat to sit on while we tried our very best to tend to them. There were several youngsters that presented with high fever and I found that our malaria kit did not have the test reagent so the patients with fever were treated for presumed malaria. A one-year old baby had a big sore on the scalp for 4 months, it looked quite bad. We washed it as best we could and dressed it and the community worker will continue to follow this youngster’s progress. I am not sure how many patients we saw but was told that perhaps it was 70 but I rather doubt that we saw that many.
We left around three thirty and it took us a good three hours to get back. The sun was setting as we approached Dadaab.
Before supper we heard that there may be a helicopter available starting Wednesday that could take us to Liboi, close to the Somalia border and this helicopter can also take us to the various clinics in far shorter periods than we are currently doing, a total of six and half hours today on the road.