Student Nurse Learns the True Meaning of “Hakuna Matata”

hakuna matata

Jess Voorhees, a student at Chamberlain College of Nursing’s St. Louis campus, is currently on an International Nursing Service Project trip to Kenya. During the first clinic day, the Chamberlain group saw 280 patients. She reflects on her first day below:

It’s 6:50 pm in Nairobi (10:50 am in St. Louis) and I just got back to the hostel from the first clinic day.

I’m on a medical mission trip in Kenya for the next two weeks where I’ll be traveling with a group of nursing/med students, nurses, doctors and a pharmacist to different slums, for the purpose of treating any and everyone we possibly can.

I’m not gonna lie…I was really nervous at the beginning of the day.

What will the people think of me?

Will they be really insanely sick?

Will we be able to communicate properly?

Will I be able to figure out what’s wrong with them? Or will I forget everything I’ve learned over the past year and a half?

So after practically chugging my scalding hot coffee, putting on my scrubs, and the awesome, neon-pink backpack we were given to wear, we crammed into the “Matatu” (the van) and headed off to Korogocho, Kenya.

One of my new Kenyan friends, Salim, told me the best advice yesterday. The funny thing is that it’s advice you and I have known our whole lives, yet don’t stop very often to remember it, and especially not to apply it:

And they really do say it often. Just like, “Eh no problem, things could be worse.”

If you saw the place we went today, you’d probably be thinking, no, things couldn’t get worse. So I find it incredible, and a little ironic, that these people, who are living in the midst of some of the most horrifying poverty in the world, can have this outlook. I really believe that this outlook is essential to living a fully joyful life.

And joy is exactly what I saw today.

The people here are easy to love. Our patients, even though they’re sick and living amongst mounds of trash, still use manners and have exponential levels of patience.

These people have a lot to teach me.

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