My trip to Kenya, October 2018

Na konci září jsem se vydala na moji již třetí cestu do Keni, a již podruhé jsem se rozhodla ji absolvovat sama. První část mé dovolené jsem se rozhodla strávit v Mombase, a to z toho důvodu, že jsem nechtěla, aby mne má Christine viděla vyčerpanou z mé práce, zkrátka jsem chtěla nabrat sil, opálit se na pláži a následně, poslední týdny s ní strávit na Rusinga Island.

The first part of my vacation went as planned. However, time really flied and it was time to move from Mombasa to Nairobi and then to Rusinga Island. The trouble started in Nakuru, through which we went –  every few kilometers we were stopped by a patrol, and a “nice” lady cop asked us for a bribe that I refused to give at first, but then she started talking about jail, so I gave up. Driver Peter then explained to me that it was better to give a bribe even if we didn't do anything wrong because they could hold us for 1 – 2 days, which I didn't want to risk. They stopped us about 7 more times, and I always pulled out the money. After a difficult journey, we finally reached Kakamega after sunset. I just got to say hello to Christine, but with her lovely welcome she immediately improved my mood, and I promised to pick her up from school the next day and go to Rusinga Island.

The next day after breakfast, I went with Peter to Ebubai School, attended by my little Christine. I met the new headmaster and agreed to excuse Christine from school… And suddenly I was without a cell phone. I told everyone, and immediately we all started looking for it. Unfortunately, the cell phone was just gone. On the way I was not very happy, but Christine felt it, sang to me, and then we began to paint, so she drove away my gloom and fatigue again.

We had a nice welcome at Rusinga Island. I was pleasantly surprised that people remembered me, amazing Pam, who is a great cook, lady from the clinic's reception, but I was most impressed by the fact that some older children remembered me as well. We had to go with the little Christine to the clinic because she was coughing slightly. Young Doctor Chris looked at her, and we arranged for taking samples next morning. I had a little reddened calf from one scratch from Kisumu, so I showed it to him, I got an ointment, and for the day everything was solved. Unfortunately, the next day I awoke in horror – huge infection had spread on my right leg, and it had begun to hurt. The infection has spread throughout my limb, as well as my hands and my other leg. The right leg was really in a terrible state, almost a hole in the ankle, I started to walk badly, etc. It was clear that I couldn't do without antibiotics, but they only had penicillin in the clinic. And, unfortunately, I have a strong penicillin allergy, so I started with self-medication with home remedies. I received an ointment from the doctors, which unfortunately did not work. The situation was not improving, so we decided to go to Kisumu Hospital.

Unfortunately, due to the loss of the mobile phone, it was not easy to contact the insurance company. I managed to do this after two days thanks to the director of the Center Narovinu Dana Feminova. The first doctor seemed like it would be the best to amputate my right leg – from the knee down that it would be easier. At that moment my world completely stopped, I was really scared. Fortunately, it was decided that I could still try the private part of the hospital, where there are mainly doctors from India, and have much more medicine and equipment. Before I got pain medication, I had to pay 70,000 KES deposit. The private room cost 13,000 KES per night, plus medicines, of course. Then they gave me infusion.

My trust in these doctors wasn't high, but Dana Feminová, and her friend Aleš, physician from Bohemia, who runs a hospital in Kenyan Itibo, and who is an infectious disease expert, has helped me again. In those days, everyone from the Center Narovinu helped me a lot, Peter arranged for Christine to go back to Kakamega, Ken and his brother Joash visited me every day, they all supported me. Fortunately, after a few days in the hospital, I was released, actually at the last minute, because two days later I was about to go back to the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, discharge from the hospital was also not without problems, because I wanted to return my 70,000 KES deposit. My insurance company has already paid the entire hospital bill – they even had money in the account, over 155,000 KES. Negotiations with the hospital's accounting department were exhausting. In the end we managed to get the money with one day delay. Then we headed back to Nairobi.

I had the last few hours for shopping of souvenirs, I managed to visit the Center Narovinu office and planned a dinner at an Italian restaurant. The last evening was amazing because I met other great people from the Center Narovinu. We were all happy that my vacation ended up well, even though I was returning without a cell phone. If a person gets such health problems, he quickly realizes what is important. I was very glad that I could spend the last evening with such great people, I was thinking a lot about what it would be like to go on my own if there were no people from Center Narovinu. I have to admit, I'm not sure if I could handle any complications at all. In countries like Kenya, it is really important to have reliable friends and good contacts in case of an emergency, because the problems are much more difficult to deal with there.

I am already planning another trip to Kenya for February 2020 and I believe that the next visit will be without any unpleasant experiences. I plan to actively support the Rusinga Island clinic, I used to work as a paramedic in New York, so I'd like to support Edwin and Chris in return for their care, I would love to be their nurse. I owe a lot to all the people from Center Narovinu. So please keep your fingers crossed, and if any adoptive parents want to join me during my trip to Kenya, I'll just be happy .

Gabriela Pelclová – proud adoptive mother of amazing girl Christine Tokesi Onyango.