May 28th, 2009

On to Eldoret.

Up at 4:30 this morning for a five-hour drive to Eldoret. Ugh.

We saw some zebras hanging out on the side of the road as we passed by.

The highways are lined with little clusters of shops in little brick or shaky-looking corrugated-tin structures. Vast numbers of these shops are completely painted in pink and yellow with the Zain logo, or completely painted in green with the Safaricom logo. The result is the appearance that these two mobile phone companies have taken over the entire countryside.

The cars and trucks, by the way, are all noxious; the stench of motor exhaust is everywhere.

We visited the AMPATH Center in Eldoret. It's an amazing place. They serve over 80 000 patients here. Although it initially focused on distributing drugs for HIV patients, their approach has become much more comprehensive.

For example, they realized that HIV drugs aren't enough if patients aren't getting adequate nutrition. So they now prescribe food for patients as well as medicine. Because they know that patients won't eat the food themselves if the rest of their family needs it, they feed the entire family, not just the patient.

They also realized that patients do much better if they have a source of income. So they have a variety of training programs; among other things, patients can work on the AMPATH farm, which produces fresh food for the food distribution program.

The center has started up a little restaurant called the Cool Stream, which serves food produced on the farm.

The AMPATH project was started by a partnership between Indiana University and Moi University. Tonight, we're staying at IU House, a nearby residence for visiting IU students, faculty, and participants in the IU-Kenya partnership.