8th February 2012
For various reasons there are no photos of what we witnessed today. But have put other photos up from outside the hospital and Kikambala Feeding station. We left at 8am and Lesley took in what she had missed in the dark on the way from Mombasa to Shimba Hills. I could see her face change as she witnessed the poverty and buildings of Ukunda and Likoni on the way to Mombasa. Again no waiting for the ferry, so very happy about that, as so stinking hot. It is very overwhelming to see the poverty initially. Lesley wanted to know was there any ‘normal’ shops here. Answer is NO – only the supermarket. In Diani Beach there are some shops that are ‘normal’ for the masses of tourists that come here, and some in Mombasa, but not of our standard – African standard. Our plan was to go and visit some of the sick children and give them sweets at Coast General hospital in Mombasa.
We had been told by Kerry of how bad the hospital was and being a Sunday, we had to wait for the person who could talk to us. It was like trying to get into Fort Knox with so many calls to so many places from the security gate. In the end we said don’t worry. All we wanted to do was cheer up some children.

I mention here that across the road from the hospital is a multitude of coffin sellers, all shapes and sizes out in the street, right outside the morgue. Yep, all shapes and sizes plus a put together funeral ‘home’ there as well. Again you would have to see this to believe it. So, when one’s loved one passes away, you collect the person from the morgue (which has NO REFRIGERATION), and identify the body, which is numbered, and stacked up on top of others in cloths. Kerry told us of the story of some good Kenyan friends who’s daughter was taken to hospital with malaria then she got worse and she developed meningitis, sharing a drip with 5 other children. She was a twin and only 2 when she passed away. The family had no money to purchase a coffin, let alone the fees for having the child ‘cared for’ in hospital, or transported back to the home to be buried on the family house plot. The family has to administer the medication and give the food. (This is in every case). There is no otherwise. So Kerry raised quickly the money and went to collect the child from the morgue with the family, and to buy special clothes for her to be buried in.
The story she told still brings tears to her eyes 3 years later – babies stacked up one on top of each other, as well as adults on a different slab. The smell was the most horrendous she has ever smelt with bodily fluids flowing freely and the incredible heat playing it’s part. Lauren, Kerry’s daughter was there at the time and she relayed it to me at a separate time and tears flowed from her as well. She told of septic wounds open with flies all around the sores, and 3 people in a bed sharing as well as several children having to share a bed. It was so sad seeing the little girl’s twin at the school regularly, and her walking home. I wondered if she remembered her twin sister.

We decided to go for a walk and wait till a phone call come back, to see if it was OK to visit some children. Lesley (under the circumstances) did not want to walk past the coffin shops and we kept Hassan with her as well as we didn’t want memories for him (being an orphan). Well, what can I say! There was nothing that could come out of my mouth…… Outside the morgue which was virtually on the street were about 30 people waiting to collect their beloveds. And the smell………Kerry was not exaggerating!!! and this was from outside on the footpath. We turned and headed back towards the parking lot where we had left Lesley and Hassan, sick in the stomach, and across the road was a man going through the garbage heap picking up food and eating it.
Sitting in the tree above the footpath was another man high as a kite sniffing a can of ‘something,’ and then behind singing crazily then to the left was another man in rags with a bong sucking away. A lady came up and begged us for money to get an operation, pointing to her stomach repeatedly. I just wanted to get the hell out of there, away from the smell, and the hopelessness of it all. What we thought would be a nice thing to do, upset us heaps. We didn’t mention much when we got back to the car as we knew we had to face another challenge, the Kikambala children’s feeding station. I have already put this blog up separately. What an emotionally draining day! But the driver Hummer suggested that we go and sit on the beach back in Diani and watch an African Band there playing, so after the hospital and the feeding station, we went into Mombasa and tried to find a book shop open to buy some paints and things for the kids. Alas last Sunday it was opened but this Sunday no. We got to the ferry and the line up was awful. I couldn’t stand the heat anymore so got out of the car and then everyone did and we found ‘some shade’ and purchased a softdrink each. We promised Hassan we would get an gelati – yes gelati, in Diani when we returned from Leonardo’s Italian Restaurant. OMG it was so hot, I was melting and getting so agitated as was just wanting that sea breeze on me as we go across on the ferry. Anyways we crossed eventually, and then got our gelati. Cashew nut – DIVINE. Went to Kim4Love where the band was playing and was just fantastic to let the emotions go and feel the sea breeze and listen to some fabulous African Music (while knocking down a few cold tuskers). We certainly saw some sights there. White women in their 70’s or MORE with young Kenyan men who were gorgeous (the men that is). Every which way we looked they were there, and on the other side of the coin was old, old, fat white men with absolutely gorgeous Kenyan women. I have to admit each Kenyan woman looked so sad that we saw. The white elderly women had big smiles on their faces ha!ha! Hassan (9 years) got up and started dancing – and so we did too. African’s just have so much rhythm, he was unbelievable, even at such a young age.
We needed to be home for him to have his dinner by 6 so we headed back to the orphanage – What a day!

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Umoja Orphanage Kenya is a Project of the Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg 
RAWCS Project Number 51/2011-12
Umoja's founder Cathy is a member of Fitzroy Rotary Club District 9570

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