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August 2012

Saving a Young Life   (published in Kenya)

August 27, 2012 by   Comments(0)

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It was just a normal Medical Outreach although Hope Children’s Ministry our venue that day was a new placement, it was also the first time some of the volunteers had attended the outreach whose aim is to give the community especially children an opportunity to receive medical attention and get treatment on small ailments and wounds.

Projects Abroad Medical volunteers had their hands full as soon as we set up the treatment equipments. Due to the poor living conditions at the Ronda Slums where the ministry is locate, the patient’s complaint were almost of the same nature, it was also sad to learn that most of these symptoms had been there for more than one month.

Seasoned volunteers had the task of guiding the new volunteers, and with the help of the centre coordinators Rodgers and Sharriff treatment run smoothly. Connor Donahue with the consultation of the Julian Bergman and Anna Hunt, noticed a 3 year old boy who had difficulties to breath. With closer examination they realized that his tonsils were completely swollen, closing his right airways and living his left airways with little space.

With no money to cater for the necessary treatment, the young boy was not only in danger, but near an untimely end. Connor, Julian, Sausha, Anna and Jessica Vance all Projects Abroad Kenya volunteers, except for Jessica (Assistant Country Director Projects Abroad Kenya) offered to cater for the boys medical treatment.

At the Nakuru Provincial Hospital, a public hospital, catering for the expansive Rift valley Province, doctors did not move with required speed living the volunteers with no choice but to  personally take the boys tests, which revealed a multiple organ infection on his organs. Antibiotics and oral liquids were prescribed to help reduce and defeat the infection, with a likelihood of surgery on the following week to help open the airwaves.

To the above mentioned people thanks a lot for your sacrifices, and most important for the role you have played in saving and changing a young life.

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Saving a Young Life
Saving a Young Life

Mount Kenya! By Caitlin Hughes   (published in Kenya)

August 20, 2012 by   Comments(0)

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I MADE IT!!!!   4985m/16,355ft.

I’m a complete cripple – hobbling around nakuru, but i’m hobbling with a smile on my face – so proud right now!


We (me and climbing buddy alex) set off last Tuesday, on a  matatu to nyeri. It was a stunning drive across the highlands, even if the minibus was hot and crowded, and halfway we realised we were sharing it with a live chicken. The owner of the Mount Kenya youth hostel picked us up on tuesday afternoon, and we spent a night at his place – a lovely little hostel on the road to the mountain. The actual climb began on Wednesday lunchtime – a half day to allow us to acclimatise to the altitude. Our team consisted of us, our awesome guide Charles, 3 porters to carry our stuff and lots of food, and of course the most important member of the team – the cook! He was an amazing cook as well, and it’s safe to say I’ve never consumed so many calories in 5 days haha – I was in heaven!

We stayed at the “met station” – a couple of wooden cabins in the forest, on our first night, and awoke to the sound of Columbus monkeys running all over the roof – they proceeded to rummage through our bags and try to steal our breakfast. We set off early on thursday, and got stuck into the proper climb. It was steep, and it was tiring, but it was great to be out in the fresh air, and to my surprise, we met virtually noone along the way. I’d kind of imagined we’d be among groups of tourists, given that it’s a fairly popular climb, but to my delight, other than the couple of folk we passed on their way down, it was just us and the mountain! We passed through the stretch aptly nicknamed the “vertical bog”, and everything was looking distinctly scottish, with lots of mist! When it cleared as we climbed along the gorge though, the view was definitely more like a scene from Lord of the Rings. The peaks can’t really be seen from the bottom of the mountain, but they rise magnificently from the teleki valley – snow capped and rocky and generally stunning. The last part of the walk took us into the gorge and over a river, to a stone lodge – “MacKinder’s Camp” where we were to spend our second night.

MacKinder’s was definitely one of the coolest places I’ve ever stayed. Unbeatable view, freezing cold outside, but warm in the hut filled with people and sleeping bags! We shared it with a group who had just completed the peak that day, and spent a lovely afternoon exploring the area, and taking a freezing ‘shower’ in a hailstorm (i picked my moment not so wisely). Dinner was early – enormous plates of chicken stew and rice. Alex literally doesn’t eat – I think it’s a combination of being the world’s biggest fusspot and general awkwardness, but I was conscious of the energy I would need for the climb – (and also how good the food was!) so I ate for us both. Hit the hay super early to get in a decent rest before our 2am start!

The alarm went off, and I responded “i’ve changed my mind, i’ll climb a mountain another day – let me sleep!”
 Several mugs of tea and biscuits later though, I was full of adrenaline and psyched for the last stretch. It took us through the gorge, and up a scree slope – this was the bit i’d been dreading, but i’m delighted to report that I seem to have lost my fear of heights! People who were in borneo with me may remember my hysteria the last time I tried to climb a mountain, but happily there were no tears this time! Incidentally, I was thinking of Alex Ballard the whole time – he was definitely my inspiration to keep on travelling, and I like to think if he could have seen me, he would have been so freaking proud. It started to snow just in time for the intense final stretch across a glacier. Charles was carving the way with an ice axe, and I realised why the group we met at the huts yesterday had opted for a different route! Still, onwards and upwards – I was glad of the walking poles I had hired, because the guide rope was buried in feet of snow at several points. It was scary and it was hard, but it was also exhilarating and made me feel so alive, and even as i’m writing this I wish I could do it all again!

And then we were at the top! Lots of hugging, quite a few tears, a photo shoot, and very loud national anthems. Best feeling in the world!

We’d planned to do a circular hike around all the peaks, but we were fairly exhausted, alex claimed he wouldn’t make it round and even I was questioning whether we should maybe just head back. Too late though – the route charles took us down the peak brought us to the opposite side of the mountain, and we had no choice! At this point, I broke into a bar of chocolate, drank tea from a thermos, and decided the only option was plough on and make the most of it! Aside from being physically exhausting, it was an amazing hike – scenery was like something from jurassic park, with rocky plains covered in bizarre plants, all sweeping in and out of mist. We went up and over several ridges, between a couple of lakes, and back through a blizzard to collapse in a heap at MacKinder’s camp!

I slept like I have never slept before – despite Friday being by far the coldest night on the mountain so far. Saturday passed in a haze – the thrill over, we just plodded down the mountain, aching and tired but incredibly happy. The pics from that final morning are possibly my best though – after an overnight snowfall, the skies were blue + crystal clear, and I had just about enough energy in my system to appreciate the views! We had planned to split the descent between sat and sunday, making a total 5 day round trip, but we decided to just keep on going and complete it in 4 – for the sake of a hot shower at the end! Sod’s law, of course, the hot water wasn’t working, but it was amazing just to have made it, and again – I ate well and slept like a log!

It’s now Monday, and I’m still hobbling instead of walking properly! Back in Nakuru, I actually miss the mountain – I know I am good at exaggerating, but when I say it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, I mean every word! I have only this afternoon to kill though – tonight me and my friend Marion are hopping on an overnight bus to Mombasa – for a much needed (and well deserved – no?) week to chill on the coast!


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Mount Kenya! By Caitlin Hughes
Mount Kenya! By Caitlin Hughes

Helping Hand   (published in Kenya)

August 7, 2012 by   Comments(0)

Taking a break from normal routine, to travel to a strange country abroad, with strange people and in some cases a different language, takes a lot of courage and determination. Over the past few months  I have met a bunch of new people from different nationalities  with different dreams and goals but they all had one thing in common, making a positive change to the less fortunate. I salute all the Projects Abroad volunteers for offering a helping hand and making the world a better place. Asante Sana.


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Helping Hand
Helping Hand