Stories and experiences of an intern

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Sickness and homesickness

My honeymoon phase with Nairobi is officially over and along that came fever, flu and homesickness. Because of being sick, I also missed a lot of work during this past week. On Thursday we had no electricity at the centre, which is why the morning at the office was very calm and short for us. When me and Venna got home I went straight to bed and got fever later during the afternoon. I stayed home the rest of the day and Friday morning. Friday evening I went to work but I was still feeling weak. I had great plans for the weekend, since I had two friends from Denmark in town, the other one doing an internship in Narok and the other one going around a few African countries for research. However, plans got cancelled, one of my friends got sick and my sickness made me feel weak, tired and frustrated. On Saturday I missed the Football Academy’s practice, which bummed me out and on Sunday I spent the whole day in bed with fever again.

So, with all this going on I had my first visit to the doctor here in Nairobi. That was certainly an interesting experience that was really testing my patience (I am not a patient person). In a nutshell, I went to the Nairobi Hospital on Thursday evening, went through a nurse to see a doctor who told me I only have a flu and then got sent to take blood tests just in case. I was tired and weak, so I did not want to wait for an hour for the results, so I went home to sleep as the nurse at the lab said I can come back another day for the results. I went back on Saturday and they told me I had to start the whole process from the beginning and the waiting time was two hours. Even though I had my lab results in my hand. I did not have the patience or the time to sit and wait for two hours to get to do everything again, so I went back to work. I was just annoyed. However, I had to go see a doctor again eventually because I was not getting better. So, on Monday I went to another smaller clinic and walked out in less than 30 minutes with antibiotics, painkillers and mouthwash in my hand. I had an infection in my throat.

Obviously, when things get rough and small setbacks pile up on each other, homesickness and sadness hit you straight to your face. When you’re in a new place, despite all the excitement and beauty of your new surroundings, you are missing everything that is familiar to you, your own room, your bed, your friends and your family. I just wanted to curl up in my own bed, see my mum, eat Finnish chocolate and watch endless amounts of movies on Netflix. But I could not do any of this. I know this is all normal, moving to a new place is not all roses and unicorns, there comes the moment when reality hits you. I knew this very well because it is not my first time moving to a new country. However, it did not feel nice.  Also, missing work just made me feel worse. I felt like I could not give my 100% on the days when I came to work sick (which makes perfect sense though), and that made me question my abilities in general (which on the other hand does not make sense). Luckily Venna was very understanding, and we could laugh together about the fact that we are both such babies when we are sick, I heard she is even more than I am. We’ll see about that.

However, when I got my antibiotics and started feeling better, my spirit got uplifted and I felt motivated again. Even though I missed the Football practice on Saturday, it is not too serious because I have been collecting a lot of material the previous times I have been there. I have a lot of photos and videos we can use this week. Because of problems with the lighting in the evenings, we have been having some problems with taking good photos for the School Fee Campaign we are doing together with Wale Sweden. Also, when the kids have been tired after a long day, it has been somewhat challenging to keep them serious when taking photos. Anyway, I hope we get all the necessary material done well this week. We finally got magazines for my life skills class for this Thursday, where we will talk about goals and dreams, and create beautiful dream boards using pictures from the magazines. I used to love these kinds of creative crafts tasks when I was a kid, so I am very excited.

This last week was certainly not one of the best, but luckily it does not last forever. With the help of antibiotics, I will defeat my sickness and be back at work with full energy and motivation. Also, vacation plans and a concert coming this Saturday make me happy and excited. Next week I’ll probably tell about my first experience going to a concert in Nairobi, I bet it will be very different from one in Finland. One month done, four to go!

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