Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I spend most of my time at the Busia District Hospital in Busia town. After two months of begging, however, I finally got to go with the Rural Health Team to the Bulwani Dispensary.

Bulwani is a small village in the south of the Busia District. The trip to Bulwani from Busia township starts with a two-three hour drive over deeply rutted dirt roads. When we came to the end of the road, we stopped at a small dock area on the bank of a stagnant river. We boarded a motorized wood canoe. The boatman navigated our canoe slowly through narrow channels heavily covered with interlocking water weeds (pic above). We got stuck in the weed net a few times. The boatman jumped into the water and hacked away the weed cover with a stick. Thick vegetation lines the banks. Birds and butterflies parked themselves in the trees and fluttered overhead. We passed wood canoes loaded with locals gathering wood and fishing.(pic above.

After about a half an hour, we came to an open expanse of Lake Victoria. Free from the weed network, we sped across the lake for an easy half hour until we again entered a narrow passage.

The passage quickly tapered to a shallow trickle. When we could move no further, we jumped out of the canoe and continued on foot. The water dired up after about 200 meters. We walked on a dirt path that wound its way through small villages for about 45 minutes.

We passed a primary school. The students were playing outside. Within seconds I was surrounded by dozens of schoolgirls who all wanted to touch my weird white skin. A Mzungu must be a rare sight. I felt like a hybrid of red-carpet celebrity mixed with zoo-animal. I survived, however, and we finally made it to the dispensary. The one-way trip took more than four hours. And I thought Busiatown was the middle of nowhere!


Laura said...

Cool pics Nelly, I mean Muzungu! Missing you terribly back in NYC.

Anonymous said...

What an adventure.
Is this a religous school? Why the uniforms. Truedre

Anonymous said...

wow nelly, amazing trip

perhaps time to go back to your buddy in the lab to repeat your blood smear, this time you can practice the thick smear and urine microscopy techniques

nomad said...

yes anon (nancy?). the schistosomes are no doubt swarming. in our clinic there were 140 cases suspected malaria in just in 22 days of July. 50 of them confirmed positive on blood smear. even I can diagnose it now.

Anonymous said...

Queridos rehucos de msf-e:

¡Quiero ir a kenya!

Muchas gracias.



Edwin Oundo Okalla said...

Welcome back there is alot to see...sorry try visiting Busia Customs border to Uganda and look at the high rate off corruption....get to me for pic of these social crooks Edwin Okhalla Oundo +254712877078 +256755654714 webhousekenya@yahoo.com

Jeff Marabi said...

thats my home village