The first thing you notice arriving at Angama Mara is its beauty. The vistas, the birds and hyraxes around the deck — and the ever-smiling faces that greet you. But I have been lucky to see a different side to Angama which, somehow, is even more beautiful.
I am a recent biomedicine graduate with a passion for global health and an even stronger passion for Africa, having grown up knowing and experiencing its unique charm. However, over the past few years, it has been very difficult to keep this love alive. When the opportunity arose to spend three weeks volunteering in Angama’s Clinic I couldn’t have been more excited, and admittedly, a little nervous.
It was an experience well outside my comfort zone where I didn’t know what to expect. I had filled my mind with all sorts of worries and fears but the warm welcome I received immediately put my mind at ease. I have never met a group of people as kind and welcoming as the Angama family; I was overwhelmed with enthusiastic greetings and genuine concern over how my day was going and whether I’d eaten or slept well.
From the first day I set foot in The Davis Family Clinic, I was blown away by how much care Dr Irene and Dr Mark pour into their work. They are not only doctors but also nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists, cleaners, receptionists, confidants and much more. With just one doctor in the clinic at a time, they work tirelessly to not only get through their daily tasks but to give every single patient the time, care and support they deserve.
I made it my mission to do whatever I could to ease their workload while in the clinic. Whether it was running tests, preparing medications, cleaning up, sterilising equipment or recording and billing the consultations, I found enough work to keep a whole team of doctors busy.
Most of the people benefitting from their care are from the Maasai community. Patients would come from miles away to get their ailments treated. Some mentioned they had been so impressed by how quickly they felt better after their previous visits that they had returned with all the unwell friends and family they could find.
My time outside the clinic was also filled with new experiences and lessons. I was fortunate my visit coincided with the annual school exams, which is when Angama supports the neighbouring children by providing a delicious hot lunch to fuel them through the stressful days.
Another highlight was a walking safari where Leshan, a naturalist, showed me plants used in traditional Maasai medicine and taught me about the land, the wildlife and culture. I even tried one of his traditional tree bark remedies, although it was rather bitter and made my mouth numb.
I left the Mara with a newfound respect for the way the people, the land, the lodge, the animals — and of course the clinic — interact to form a delicately balanced ecosystem. It is this intersectionality that sparked my interest in global health and Angama helped me see how big and important this field can be.
Filed under: Giving Back
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