Thursday March 5th marked our arrival in true bush country. We spent hours driving across the plains, following trails in the dirt that were barely visible. Our first stop was a site in Endonyo Narasha – a shell of a clinic that was built almost a decade ago, but is still awaiting utilities, supplies and staff. The surrounding area was practically deserted, but we were told that it’s a thriving community at certain times of the month, and during certain seasons. We met with the local chief, and we got a brief tour of the facility. We assessed the work that remained to be done at the site, then continued on our way to our primary destination.
Olkinyiei is a sparsely populated area far from any major towns or cities. The people are fortunate, then, that they have a functioning clinic in their midst. The clinic in Olkinyiei is a small building with several visiting rooms lining a central hallway. The nurses that work there receive drugs and other supplies from the government, as well as from our mission efforts. There are two Irish missionaries that live in the area, Gary and Mary Reid, who have helped to maintain the clinic. Gary recently installed a solar power system that provides electricity for the lights, equipment, and cell phone charging (many people from the community come to the clinic to charge their phones). The facility has a gas-powered refrigerator, but they are hoping to replace it with an electric fridge (gas for the current fridge is expensive).
When we arrived in Olkinyiei, the medical people worked with the clinic staff to provide support and training, where useful. Since the facility is maintained so well, the less medically-inclined of us had nothing to do, so we decided to pay an early visit to the missionary compound.
Acacia Grove Mission is a compound that Gary and Mary have built, with the help of the Maasai in the community. They help spread the gospel of Christ by planting churches in the surrounding area, helping with the clinic, and doing whatever they can to aid the people. After a welcome tea break, Gary put us to work building a laboratory bench to be used in the clinic. Gary was skeptical of my construction abilities after learning that I program cell phone games for a living, but I like to think that I was able to redeem myself. “Measure twice and cut once,” my dad always used to say!