Monday, December 17, 2007

Travel pictures (1): Kenya life

The dead was a rich man, he could afford a coffin. (I am told poor people pick their dead from the hospital wrapped in a mattress).

I live in the Romanian hut on the volunteer camp:

The medical clinic, and "the mobile clinic" (the van):

Inside the clinic: Dr. Mira and assisting clinical officer Belinda.

Medicine, Kenyan style (writing on the first jug: "Paracetamol")

On most days, the mobile clinic travels to remote villages to see people there. They set up in local churces, such as the following Catholic church:

If they are lucky, the curch has a separate room which becomes "the examination room":


Anonymous said...

Mihai, you know it is bad taste making fun of the poor, right?

Anonymous said...

what a despicable act by someone claiming to be a volunteer. Mihai, either way you look at it, this post projects you as being either immature or extremely insensitive to the condition of the folks in that part of the world.

Jelani Nelson said...

Bad taste? Despicable? The guy is pointing out how rough things are over there. He's not making fun of anyone.

Anonymous said...

From this post I cannot see why you think Mihai is making fun of the poor. Maybe you are just too sensitive.

Mihai said...

Thanks, Jelani + anon 3! It's nice to have reasonable comments once in a while.

Anon 1+2, you seem to enjoy an Oprah-style approach to delivering poor people to the audience. While that's your personal preference, mine is to simply point out that there are some truly amazing things going on here, and I'm sure you'll connect the dots and see the sadness of the whole situation.

Anonymous said...

The two comments have substance. For example:

The dead was a rich man, he could afford a coffin. (I am told poor people pick their dead from the hospital wrapped in a mattress).

The problem is that there are multiple possible levels of bad taste here. It's possible you're insulting the poor, and/or insulting the dead. In many cultures, speaking ill of the dead at all is unkind.

Medicine, Kenyan style

The problem here is that "Kenyan style" is practically used as an adjective for "poor". (Do the bottles contain medicine native to Kenya?... Is there some Kenyan art on the bottles that I am missing?... yeah right.)

It is like me going to Romania, taking a picture of an uneven dirt road and saying "Highway, Romanian style." I suppose I'd also have to find the appropriate embassy there and salute in front of it.

Anonymous said...

This thread reminds me of a cartoon that I saw sometime ago (unfortunately, I cannot find it anymore). In the cartoon, a guy is sitting on a chair, staring at the wall, murmuring "I am offended. I am offended....". The title was "Mantra of the 90s".

Going back to the thread. I guess that an offense is in the eye of beholder, so it is hard to reason about it. Personally, I do not find any of the comments particularly offensive, actually I think some of them are quite funny and sad at the same time.

But there is one concrete fact that I wanted to asked anonymous 1 and 2 about: do YOU happen to be currently helping poor in Kenya ?
(Mihai: I am implicitly assuming that you are not spending all your time on a tree:)