Last moments with Winani
What an incredible 3 weeks – and already coming to an end. I could be on another planet – both medically and from every viewpoint.
Jane and I took a trek out to the point of a high cliff overlooking the breathtaking 75km long great Rift Valley – the cradle of human creation. Although the rest of the world has moved rapidly through the epochs of Civilisation, much of the Tarime district remains in the period of family communal living in mud brick huts with thatched rooves, subsistence farming, no power or sanitation. It is quality not quantity of water that is a problem here – yet water harvesting is not a priority.
Food is ample, the rich red volcanic soil very fertile, so most eat well. But the cost of accessing medical services is prohibitive to many, and many services we take for granted – like CT and MRI scans, histopathology, and bacterial culture, are not readily available.
On drafting this blog with a freebie pen, advertising Symbicort – a standard asthma puffer – yet noone here has heard of it, and i have seen enough asthma to suggest it is not an uncommon condition.
Presentations of medical conditions here are usually extreme, yet the response to treatment can be equally impressive, which suits the patients who are generally very eager for discharge at the earliest possible time.
In my short time here, I have learnt that the safest path to tread is that well trodden! Winani uses treatments that are 40 years old, and with good results. He is understandably quite resistant to change.
Despite his great appreciation for the support I have been able to give, I feel that I am coming away with a lot more than i have been able to give. At 72 yo, his calm energy, enduring love and passion for his work, his patients and community, as well as his vision for creating a better future, are a great inspiration.
Dr Joe Tempone