BLOG: Kenya day 2: More than meets the eyeglasses
Day 2: by Nikisha Richards, MD
Day 2 is met with a bit of soreness and body aches after having examined a few hundred patients the day prior. Just the day before that, we had completed our more than 20-hour journey to Kenya, and the change in time zones was still quite a challenge.
We return to our location, which is a large tent with an adjacent area of grass at Ngong sub county level 4 hospital. We are less than 100 miles from the equator, so the same sun with which we are so familiar seems like it has acquired a much higher luminous flux. Thankfully, the weather is pleasant with a nice airflow, but that airflow also brings with it a great deal of dust particles.
Despite these obstacles, day 2 is also met with great enthusiasm for seeing even more patients. That enthusiasm is surpassed by the gratitude expressed by those same patients. Who would have thought something so simple as eyeglasses would have such a profound effect? We often take having access to and the means to purchase glasses for granted, but in Ngong they are much more than just glasses. The glasses represent a superior being having made its presence known — a supernatural intervention. Case in point: After examining one elderly woman and explaining my findings, I went on to explain how I believed glasses would help her. I selected a suitable pair and the woman donned them. Even though we shared many physical characteristics, we did not share a common language. At that moment, however, we understood each other better than at any other point during the encounter as she began to smile and cry while standing to give me a doting hug.