31 October 2008

This is me...except I will be poor and living amongst the poor

Country Flush With Money From Expatriates

As your plane taxis along the runway at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a first-time visitor to Kenya will marvel at the world class status of the major entry-point to east Africa's premier economy.

And, most probably, you would have jetted in with the national carrier, Kenya Airways, an award-winning airline that flies across the globe with the provident logo "The Pride of Africa" imperiously smacked on the sleek bodies of its planes.


Isolation Wards Vital in TB Fight

Five months after a specialised facility for multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patients was established at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, the lack of isolation wards is raising concerns.

"This is not the best place; TB is a highly infectious disease," Catherine Koskei, a matron working at the facility, told IRIN. "The patients need to be restricted."

Titus Kyalo - 'Wanted to Go Into the Forest and Be Alone'

Titus Kyalo, 36, is receiving treatment in a tent in Kenyatta National Hospital for multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about his life since the diagnosis:

"I was diagnosed with TB on 4 July 2006 after becoming very sick. I went to hospital and I was given some medicine and I received daily injections for five months, but I did not feel better; instead, the drugs affected my liver and I was admitted in hospital for one-and-a-half weeks.


At the advice of CMMB, I have made a Flickr page for my photos.  I will continue to put pictures onto my blog, but I cannot put all of them up.  This will be a way for you to see all of the pictures that I will be taking over the next year, not just a selected few.

30 October 2008

Where the heck are you going?

So here is a map that will help show where I will be going next year.  Start at Kakamega and travel on the road (A1) north towards Lugari.  The halfway point between the two is Malava.  It is a really small town, and basically not listed on a map, but I did manage to find it.

View Larger Map

For all you map nerds:
Malava, Kenya





Latitude (DMS):

0° 27' 0 N

Longitude (DMS):

34° 49' 60 E

Special thanks to google maps and traveljournals.net

News in Kenya

Malaria Cases to Rise, Warns UN
Kenyans should prepare for an increase in malaria cases as the effects of global warming begin to be felt, a UN agency has warned.
"As the temperatures increase in areas such as Nairobi, which is generally but not entirely free of malaria, the mosquitoes that carry it will certainly be able to breed, which will cause problems with the disease in areas that are not currently plagued by this," said Mr Tim Kasten, head of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation at the United Nations Environmental Programme.

The World Food Programme will soon start using an innovative micronutrients supplement to support the diet of people facing food shortages in Kenya.
The supplement, known as MixMe, will be used to reinforce food at home as opposed to the conventional fortification, such as iodine in salt, which is done at the industrial level.

Some pictures of the CMMB distribution center

CMMB is responsible for shipping nearly $200 million worth of medical supplies each year.  Partners such as Johnson and Johnson and DuPuy generously donate many of the medicines and vaccines that are sent by CMMB.  Local hospitals also get in the act and send various supplies such as unused hospital beds.  Thanks to donations by people and companies along with government grants, CMMB is able to supply people in more than 100 countries.

Supplies getting ready to be packed.

All ready to be shipped out to countries such as Kenya and Nicaragua.

More supplies!

"We see hope in the many religious and educational institutions that are doing effective work on the frontline of the AIDS crisis.  Catholic Medical Mission Board, for example, runs 15 clinics in southern Africa and Haiti where more than 200,000 pregnant women each year receive HIV testing and counseling and drug therapy to prevent the transmission of the virus to their children."
-President George W. Bush
May 27, 2003
at signing of HIV/AIDS Act

More UN...

"Above are anual costs of various global programs for solving the major human and social needs and environmental problems facing humanity.  Each program area represents worldwide spending in 2000 by goverments and or public sector to accomplish that particular goal or task. In 2000, the combined cost of humanitarian, social and environmental spending was approximately 30% of the world's total anual military expenditures.  Current data suggests that by 2006, the ratio of "humanitarian" spending will only be 22% compared to 78% for military spending globally"

Today the world spends over $1 trillion on military needs.  The red section on the graph represents the amount of money spent in 2000, and the rest represents the money needed to combat various humanitarian, health, social, and environmental problems.


We went to the UN today and I wanted to share a couple of pictures that I took on my phone.  I am sorry, but I am not a professional yet.  Reprints are $25 each.

28 October 2008

A little bit about CMMB....

So we are basically going to be working for CMMB next year, something which I have pretty much just learned.  Notre Dame Mission Volunteers (NDMV) will still be an important partner, but all of the money I will be raising will be going towards CMMB.  As a bonus, this means some good health care as well as a major raise in my stipend from $100 a month to $350 a month.  However, that means that housing will no longer be paid for by NDMV.  So, roughly a whopping rent of $100 a month will be due to my landlord, the sisters of Notre Dame.
Anyways, I thought that I would give a little information about CMMB an organization that I am learning about this week who has played a valuable role in the distribution of medicine and health care supplies and services into the third world.

Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) was brought into incorporation in 1928 under the guidance of Dr. Paluel Flagg.  An anesthesiologist at St. Vincent's Hospital in NYC, Dr. Flagg began his work a decade before after making trips to aid the people of Haiti and witnessing the poor conditions of the countries medical facilities.  In 1928, Dr. Flagg responded to the devastation caused by hurricanes in Puerto Rico by traveling with a team of doctors and nurses to aid the thousands of people in need of medical attention.  Dr. Flagg continued to grow CMMB into an organization with an emphasis on assistance through supplies, but the role of volunteers became an emerging interest.
The Medical Volunteer Program (MVP), which I am proud to say that I will be a part of, became the vehicle for CMMB to send medical professionals and those interested in global health work into areas where physical service could be employed.  
In Malava, Kenya (yes I know its almost impossible to find on the map, but it is in northern Kenya near Lake Victoria) I will be working at either St. Julie's Medical Center or at the local orphanage.  There have been some recent changes that have caused two more NDMV members who were supposed to be Nairobi to now join us in Malava.  So, I can tell you where I am going and what I may be doing.

CMMB will be a great additional resource to us in Malava.  We will not only be connected to an even larger network, but we will be able to apply for materials and medicines to be sent to help the people we will be serving in Malava.

27 October 2008

Now some of the fun begins....

At Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) orientation till Friday.  Lots of info to come about what I will be doing.....


Aids, TB And Malaria War Suffers Blow

The sale of inappropriate malaria drugs, poor performance and low absorption of previous funds have denied the country substantial finances from the Global Fund for HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

For several years, Kenya has been under pressure from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to halt the sale of artemisinin monotherapies, drugs that are deemed inappropriate for the treatment of malaria.


23 October 2008

Important News In Kenya

Kenya will not achieve all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the Government said on Wednesday.

Liberty vs. Security

Considering I will be traveling to a "less secure and free" part of the world in January, I found this article quite interesting in the context of my future travels, the current US elections, and in terms of international relations.

Balancing liberty with security
By Paul Reynolds 
World affairs correspondent

Sir Ken Macdonald, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, said in his final speech on 20 October: "We need to take very great care not to fall into a way of life in which freedom's back is broken by the relentless pressure of a security state."

But as governments react to the changing threats posed since the 2001 terror attacks on the US, what has been the impact on civil liberties in western societies?

Guantanamo Bay, military tribunals, renditions, water-boarding, warrantless surveillance - all these have been part of US policy since 9/11.

What can we do if the liberty/security problem is a zero-sum game?  Which direction should we lean?

22 October 2008

Kenya: Quick Facts

Size: 224,961 square miles
Capital: Nairobi
Languages: English and Swahili
Population: ~38 Million
GDP (PPP) - $57 Billion  (In the United States it is $13.5 trillion)
GDP (PPP) per capita: $1,672   (USA: $43,444)

Independence from the UK: Dec 12, 1963
Government: Semi-Presidential Republic
President: Mwai Kibaki
Prime Minister: Raila Odinga

Climate: Avg Temp in Nairobi: 77 to 55 Fahrenheit       Lodwar: 75 to 95 Fahrenheit
The long rain season occurs from April to June. The short rain season occurs from October to December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coldest in July to August

Information from Wikipedia.org/wiki/kenya

Kenya in the news

New Constitution Soon, Assures Kibaki

21 October 2008

Can Africa gain in the credit crisis?

Is the credit crisis about to send Africa into yet another downward spiral?  Perhaps not. In fact it is possible that the continent could fare better than the rest of the world. This is at least in part because most African economies have been so marginal to the international economic system that they have been less affected than other regions of the globe.

Read on...

However, shouldn't we examine the economies of Africa in terms of the rest of the world?  Should we celebrate the fact that we have allowed/created the current situation that allows Africa to remain free from the current financial crisis?

Floods in North Uproot Nearly 14,000 People, UN Reports

Almost 14,000 people in northern Kenya have been displaced by flash floods that occurred last week, and are in need of urgent supplies such as food, shelter and clean water, the United Nations humanitarian wing reported today.

19 October 2008

Secrets of the Waki List

Samuel Siringi

Prominent politicians are named in a secret list in a sealed envelope to be presented to former UN secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday.

Contents of the envelope, the Nation learnt, include six current ministers and five MPs, who, it is recommended, should face a special international tribunal set to be named within 60 days.

If the tribunal is not set up in time, the envelope will be handed to the International Court of Justice at the Hague so they can be prosecuted for their part in the post-election violence that threatened to tear Kenya apart.

Read the rest...

17 October 2008

Clashes over water kill 4 in drought-hit Kenya

NAIROBI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Fighting over boreholes in arid northern Kenya has killed at least four people as competition for resources mounts in the drought-hit region, the Kenyan Red Cross said on Friday.

Locals said the death toll was higher after two days of clashes between the Murulle and Garre clans in Elwak, Mandera District.

"We have confirmed the killing of four people. Two are missing and we got a fresh report about the injury of four police officers," Red Cross spokesman Titus Munga told Reuters.

Police in the remote area could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dozens of people have been killed in other parts of northern Kenya in recent months as communities clash over water sources and pasture for livestock in a region ravaged by drought. (Reporting by Noor Ali; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

16 October 2008

Famine looming

Poor rains mean another tense period for communities living in the dry bush-land of north-eastern Kenya, close to Somalia and Ethiopia.

Despite the preparations that communities are making, if the short rains fail in October and November more people will be faced with famine.

The lack of rain causes drought, but it is the increase in the number of people living off the land that means many communities are threatened with famine.

Click Here to See More...

Whats going on in Kenya....

Tribunal Urged For Kenya Violence
An international tribunal should be set up in Kenya to try those implicated in clashes after December's disputed poll, an inquiry into the violence says....
click on the link to read more

10 October 2008

A Few Links....

Here are a few links that will help show who I will be working for, where I will be going, and what I will be doing. I will do my best to inform you all as much as possible and this will serve as my way of distributing information.

Notre Dame Mission Volunteers