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South Africa there and back–Glad to be back

April 6, 2011

The Harris Family

Well, South Africa was certainly a whirlwind trip. It takes about 12 hours of flying to get from Eldoret, Kenya to Capetown, South Africa (three flights and two 1/2 commutes on either end). But it was worth it to make connections with the Harris family. They are fellow travelers to Togo. Dave is a cardiothoracic surgeon and his wife Hilary is an anesthesiologist.

It was great to meet them in person and to talk to them about their dream to be part of a open heart surgery facility in Africa. One of the options includes Cape Town. They attend a newly built church that is looking to purchase an international school that is immediately adjacent to their church.

It’s difficult to know when the school will be purchased, or if a free-standing hospital will be the final option for the school. Time will tell.

Hopefully, they will come up to Kenya sometime to work up here with Prof Otsyula and his protege Ondigo. It is also quite possible that some of the CT team can go down to Cape Town to train with Dave. He has an amazing private and public practice that would be stellar for learning.

Certainly if I came to MTRH, he could be a big asset to me as a senior cardiac surgeon with plenty of experience with complicated cases.

I also had a great opportunity to visit with some friends of mine from Michigan. I hadn’t seen the Sterkens since 2006. It was great to layover in Johannesburg (aka Joburg) and spend some time with them. I knew their oldest son when he was just a baby. He know has the cutest South African accent.

At the Sterkens

Even though it had been 5 years, it felt like yesterday when I last saw them. What a blessing to visit with them. Joburg and Capetown are very nice places to live. In fact, the year-round nice weather reminds me of Southern California.

Some of the small towns that I visited in Cape Town were exactly like Santa Barbara. Ah, it would be tough to live in SA. But in all honesty, I was glad to come home to Kenya. Hmm, maybe home is a poor choice, since home is in Indy where Ginnie and the kids are. Perhaps it would be better to say that I really missed the Kenyans at MTRH and in town.

It is possible that if I had more time to interact with the staff at the various SA hospitals, I would have felt differently. One interesting thing I noticed in SA is the large number of Indians/Pakistanis that worked at the hospitals. Apparently, the pay and work environment in SA must attract a fair number of nurses from overseas.

On a humorous side note, tile all over the houses in SA is quite popular. It is also quite dangerous as evidenced by my camera shot as I was falling to the ground. Thankfully, I managed to protect my camera by some miracle.

Caution tile is slippery

No really--tile is slippery

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