Medical Volunteering – Florence’s Story

One of the things that had the most impact on me in Kenya was my visits to St Mary’s hospital.

On my first visit I was with the whole group and we handed out bread and milk to all the mothers and their newborn babies. We did this because if we hadn’t, no one else would have and they might have gone hungry that day, even though they had just given birth.

We all knew seeing the hospital would be an upsetting activity, but it actually seemed to be a more frustrating than anything else. Frustrating that the amazing staff had to work with such poor facilities. I spoke to a midwife who worked there, Sister Irene, who was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met. She was telling me about how her faith in God helped her with her challenging job, which is so exhausting with such little pay. However the severity of the situation only truly hit me when we were handing out underwear to the mothers (as they do not own any themselves) and all the staff were helping us. Irene turned to me at one point and asked “Would you mind if I had a pair?”. This just demonstrated to me how you can have so little yet give so much, which is what Irene was doing every day.

Sister Irene was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met

I went back to the hospital twice as I am hoping to have a career as a midwife, so the Nasio Trust gave me the opportunity to experience two afternoons in the labour ward. Although this was tough at points as I had to see women in pain on rusty hospital beds it was the most rewarding activity I did on the trip. Not only for my future career but for my life experience as I learnt so much from the mothers. While you could see they were in pain, they didn’t complain or make a fuss they just got on with it, with no drugs and barely any support as men (who aren’t doctors or nurses) are not allowed into the labour ward.

So I was humbled by Irene’s simple request and amazed at the mother’s bravery.

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The Nasio Trust