Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Home Meets History

Well here we are, first blog post from Kenya! Sitting in a "Java Cafe" in Nairobi, sipping on Kenyan coffee . . . I have just spent two weeks doing clinical research in Meru and I can say it's great to be back home . . . the last two weeks has been a whirlwind of interviews, meetings, nyama choma with soccer games at night, getting to spend time with the great people at the Amani Orphanage and going on Safari. I had also forgotten how Kenyans give directions, which went something like this:

Me: How do I get to the Thiiri Center?
Helpful Kenyan: You want to go to Thiiri Center?
Me: Yes
Helpful Kenyan: Ok, no problem. You will take this road that goes like this (mimes the boundaries of a road). You will reach a junction with 3 roads. The first road on your left will go down past some trees. Don't take this road! The third road on your right will climb up past some houses and a school. Whatever you do, don't take that road! The 2nd road in the middle will take you where you want to go. That one, take it!

Now one may wonder why Helpful Kenyan didn't mention the second road right away . . . but then, that would be hardly be Kenyan!

Yes, good to be back. Most striking moment so far was when I met a man who recognized my last name and revealed that he was a former student of my dad! My dad was a professor at the University of Nairobi School of Medicine. He died 26 years ago. To meet a former student in Meru, Kenya was astounding! He told me that my dad taught him Anatomy and apparently used to joke around and spice things up with songs and other memory devices. What I would give to see my father teach . . . .

Such encounters mean everything to me because I lost my dad early at 11. So it these fragments that I use to continue to build a picture of who he was and what he may have deposited in me. It is obvious from this description that he delighted in teaching students medicine . . . to the point that the memory was crystal clear to a student 26 years later. What am I doing today that will linger in someone's memory in 2038?

No comments:

Post a Comment