Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fostering community from the ward to building projects

“Why did you choose Tenwek?” This is the question my parents ask the Kenyan interns serving on medical ward when they have them over for lunch on Fridays. The answer sounds similar around the table: the spiritual aspect of healthcare, and the community being fostered by the different levels of leadership. “In other hospitals you might see the consultant twice a week, but here you work with your consultant everyday.” My dad does much to foster that community on his ward, and is very intentional about the projects he works on to serve the community.

I was able to see most of my dad’s projects when I visited Tenwek for three weeks. I saw the renal and oncology unit, the rebuilding of the burned building, the new offices in outpatient, and other little remodels. It became evident to me that while my dad had a desire to see certain projects go forward, he always looked out for the people who would be using them. What did the hospital need? What did everyone at the different levels and departments seem to be wanting? What would it take to make it a project that people were pleased with and would want to help with?

In designing plans for the new construction on the burned building, which is being upgraded from two floors to four floors, Dad helped include improved areas for some departments, as well as fitting in good spaces for new departments such as chemotherapy (oncology) and dialysis (renal). To begin those new projects sooner though, he needed to figure out how to use a rundown building and give it a face lift. He even noticed the detail that people like different sinks for hand washing and dishes. As he plans new projects and helps run medical ward, he is constantly trying to do small renovations and upgrades to make it a better place for staff and patients.

I also went out to Kaboson Pastors Training College, where Dad is helping oversee construction of a new staff quarters. Here again, the reason for this building is the big picture. How do we improve the quality of this college? Good accommodations for visiting teachers and additional accommodations for permanent staff. Down to the little details, Dad was making decisions thinking about others. The cabinets in the bedroom can be standard, but can we hire the best professional we know for the kitchen cabinets?

It is this level of detail that outsiders might not notice in the final project, but make all the staff and patients feel cared for. On the ward with the staff, or behind the scenes on projects, Dad is serving and improving the quality of care.