When we were training in Nayngezi, we were very isolated from the rest of the world. No phone, no internet and very few people who even spoke our language. But Nayngezi was a rural area, Nairobi is a major metropolitan melting pot with residents and visitors from around the world. In our retreat center we have met: A Sudanese woman who came for vacation and relaxation. An Indian man living in the USA who had just spent a month in Sudan to be at the birth of a new nation. A South African pastor in Nairobi to preach. A family from Belgium helping to trainRead More →

Kenyan women and American women approach meal times quite differently. To the point the cook at the retreat center has asked me why I don’t like the food. Don’t like the food!  But I eat everything, including the ongali.  For those who listened to our stories from DRC, you may remember our first tastes of fufu. Fufu is a paste made from cassava flour and boiled water. We tried, we couldn’t eat it. Ongali is the Kenyan version made with cornmeal.  As an American, I will say it is much more palatable. It is similar to polenta or grits.  The problem is that American womenRead More →

Tammy and I have just had the most fun with rebozos since we introduced comfort measures to the women in the DRC. The Kenyan doulas breathed a collective sigh of amazement when they saw the first rebozo technique performed. I have to agree. Rebozos are amazing.  A simple and versatile tool to help meet many needs in labor. We were not sure how much experience they would have with comfort measures. Most of the women are midwives by training, and we were concerned most of what we taught would be repeat information for them. But in reality it is not repeat information. They know howRead More →

One of the women in the doula training works at a regional AIDS treatment center. I have recently accepted that I need to devote more of my education time to AIDS, and since I have spent the last month reading The Band Played On for my public health school orientation, I was delighted to talk to her. We compared treatment strategies for the women and children and were relieved to discover our protocols are the same. I should not have been surprised, much of the AIDS research leads to changes in treatment internationally and although I have not looked it up, I’ll bet the standardsRead More →

Yesterday, I ended the blog with a cliché I have grown to hate. In contrast to that statement, the women in this doula training do not live in a different world from me. As difficult as it may be to accept, we live on the same rock with the same finite resources.  It was simply the luck of genetics that I was born in the USA and they were born in Kenya. I dislike that phrase because it pacifies people about situations they find uncomfortable. And it is uncomfortable to be aware of the differences.  66% of the women in Kenya lack access to basicRead More →