Just Another Day At The Office ……..part 2
‘So Frank what is the next big thing for you?,” asked Michael Slattery who was leading a group of Australian teachers to Ruben Centre. ‘Retirement,” I said without hesitation. ‘ Sixty five next year and my reward is nigh.”
Focusing on reward has been my preoccupation this past 48 hours since the gospel of Sunday and its mentioning the word three times in two verses and so I have been asking myself what is my reward for spending just another day in the office last Friday. The clinic has been under pressure these past three weeks due to the ongoing nurses strike affecting all public health facilities across Kenya.
A quick glance at some of the key areas from last Friday’s data reinforces this claim.
Out patients 88
Mothers in postnatal care 78
Laboratory tests 59
Reproductive health 39
However two statistics highlight the efforts that the staff goes to as they serve patients.
Firstly cholera patient # 33 since the outbreak occurred over three weeks ago. Staff thought that the outbreak had been contained, thanks to great help from Kenya Red Cross and MSF France, but they still quickly isolated him in the tent for Cholera patients. His condition was not too bad unlike a previous client who was presented with a near cadaver like state and temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.
A second case worth talking was a very pregnant woman who staggered into the clinic in the afternoon. With no history of her pregnancy and after a quick examination, it was decided there were risks associated with having the birth at the clinic. The Prado was summoned and driver, nurse and the mother to be went off to Cana, a nearby mission hospital. On arrival they were informed that this shilling less mother to be would need to pay KES 5.800/- (US $ 55) to have some tests and have the baby there. The nurse pleaded for special consideration with the pastor and owner but to no avail. On hearing the news that they were being sent away the increasingly stressed woman wailed and moaned but again it all fell on deaf ears.
Ten minutes later the nurse orders the driver to stop the car, as the baby was ready for this world. They stopped at the entrance of the Remand prison and surprisingly and in contrast to the hospital, the guards listened and let them drive in. The nurse enquired about the prison clinic but it was shut due to the nurse’s strike. Soon a healthy baby was born in the car. The mother had no clothes for the baby, and quickly the guard’s masai blanket became swaddling clothes and our Christian Brother talk of being brother to people made poor became flesh.
DAB June 30th 2017
Place Nairobi Remand Prison
Parents Single mother; Millicent
Address Mukuru slums
Comments All is well.
Next up on this day at the office was the news that one of our forty-two special needs kids had died. Seven-year-old Wanjiru was healthy at birth, but at three years contracted Meningitis and was left severely disabled. Apparently her mother found her with breathing difficulties in the morning and she died in her arms as she dashed to the clinic.
Her C V
Age 7 years
Location Mukuru slums
Date of Death June 30th 2017
Buried July 2nd Nakuru
Her life making visible again those words of being made poor, and a far cry from Jesus own desire for life in its fullness for all and also the 2015 Strategic Development Goals.
June 30th was not yet done and literally at the eleventh hour one of our maintenance workers was attacked near his home in the slum and shot. Fortunately the bullet passed harmlessly through his upper arm and he should recover.
The next day when following the incident up with our police, I was assured with the words,’ don’t worry brother we are together in this.” I left wondering what this could mean given the reputation of our police for summary executions and adherence of paper work.
Still engaged by this day at the office, I spent Sunday alone and with the gospel of the day and its image of taking up your cross and its promise of reward three times in two verses.
Later I wrote,’ I am rewarded with the fullness of ‘with him, through him and in him,’ that energizes me to serve and like the mess of this ‘just another day’ am being made holy.
Maybe my reward will be the postponing of that retirement.