The school is in the process of building a brand new audiology block and the first floor was just being completed as we arrived! Rob performed the official opening ceremony and then it was full steam ahead. Baber set up a general medical room where the concrete was yet to set and the drain on the sink was not connected but these minor issues were sorted out in a jiffy. We all needed interpreters as Kenyan sign language is different to British sign language and only Jessie could speak Swahilli! Some of the students could also speak a little English too. The first day was spent re-assessing the students hearing and taking many impressions of their ears for new earmoulds which are made on site.
Camera crews from local TV arrived to report on and publicise that we were holding a general clinic for anyone in the local area which was happening on Day 2. This as it turned our was slightly too successful as when we arrived on Day 2 there was a huge queue stretching to the entrance gate and people had walked miles to be able to access our services. It was a very busy day with us all working flat out seeing everything from tiny babies to very elderly people some with multiple disabilities.
At the end of Day 2 it was terribly sad when we had to turn some of the people away without helping them, there were just too many to see. The next day when we returned we found that Simon Kaiga their resident audiometrician had seen some of them on his own from 5am that day. The people had camped out locally in the hope of being seen. A very humbling experience.
Day 3 was again dedicated to seeing the students and fitting some of the new hearing aids. Also doing more training with Simon on the new Signia range of hearing aids. At a very special moment we were each invited to a tree planting ceremony with a tree and plague dedicated to each of us. I think this is a ploy by the school to encourage us to return ! Rob and Jessie did the same 20 years ago and their tree is now over 30 ft tall!
We all learnt a huge amount form the trip and will be better organised next time with perhaps an appointment system to avoid the long queues. There may even be a second floor to the audiology suite by then too. It was an exhausting and very fulfilling few days and we all loved the experience.
After the mission had finished we headed out on Safari – well what a treat!! We saw all of the big 5 except for a Rhino!
What a privilege to be able to share my passion for audiology in such a powerful way.
The trip will stay with me forever – I just hope I can go back one day – hopefully my tree will be standing tall!
A special thank you to Rob and Jesse for making the whole trip such an amazing experience.
Anyone wishing to know more about sponsoring a student at the school please contact me by email, email@example.com
(thank you also to Vicki Skeels – who helped me put this article together)