travel bursary reports
What an experience! I am very grateful to the Trustees of Timios for their financial support in
helping me to undertake a medical elective in Kenya. As set out in my application form, the
plan was to undertake a 6-week medical elective in Kijabe Hospital, Kenya, through Africa
Inland Mission (AIM). Unfortunately, due to the situation surrounding COVID-19, I was
unable to complete the full 6-week placement that I had planned. However, despite the
elective being cut short sooner than I had hoped, I cannot stress how precious I view the
time I did manage to have in the hospital and its community. As set out in my application, my
goals for the elective were two-fold. I hoped to “provide as much help as possible to
patients to relieve temporary suffering” and to also share “the life-transforming power
of the gospel.” This report sets out how the desired goals have been achieved.
From the very first day I was blown away by how welcomed I was made to feel. Within an
hour of arriving in Kijabe I was having dinner with a wonderful Christian family who had
moved to Kijabe as missionaries. I loved every second of getting to know the different
missionaries. Many had sacrificed wonderful careers, time with family and friends, the
comfort of home etc to serve the community of Kijabe. It was both humbling and
encouraging to hear their stories and directly observe the way that they served Christ in rural
Whilst on placement in the hospital, I was able to integrate into the internal medical team,
which covered both a female and male ward. (I have attached a picture of our team below.) I
enjoyed a full three weeks working in this team before switching to work in casualty.
Unfortunately, I only managed to have one day in casualty before having to return to the UK
due to the pandemic. During my time in internal medicine, I was able to accompany the team
during morning ward rounds where we reviewed patients and made adjustments to their
current treatment plan. As a team, we would pray for the patients before the morning ward
round. It was so refreshing to bring these patients to God in prayer and remind ourselves
that we were solely working under his sovereignty. It did however feel alien to pray for
patients since we are clearly governed by a different set of rules in the NHS. Following a
typical day’s ward round, I would then help the junior doctors to document clinical
encounters and complete clinical orders e.g. venepuncture, urinalysis. If unsure I would then
discuss clinical questions with a senior consultant/registrar. One highlight for me was the
way in which I was welcomed into the team and allowed to contribute in various ways. It was
refreshing to be part of a team where people were very willing to help one another. Kenyans
are people orientated. It was interesting to see how much more emphasis was placed on the
needs of others. This is in comparison to the goal-orientated culture of the UK, where time is
very much of the essence. On the other hand, I really struggled witnessing the inequality to
healthcare in Kenya. I often felt quite frustrated by this but would discuss my thoughts with
senior doctors working in the hospital. I no doubt have gained a valuable insight into the
quality and challenges of healthcare provision in a low-income nation in comparison to that
of the UK. As a result, I return to the UK with a renewed perspective of the NHS.
In addition, my time in the hospital undoubtedly helped to sharpen my clinical knowledge
and skills. I was exposed to a wealth of conditions that I would otherwise never see in the
UK. I was also pushed out of my comfort zone with various clinical encounters and often
made to formulate my own management plan. In addition, I definitely had to improve my
communication skills during my time in the hospital. Indeed, it was often difficult to
understand colleagues let alone patients! As a result, I enjoyed learning some of the native
language (Ki Swahili).
Despite the many ways this experience has benefited me personally as a medical
professional, the primary objective was to “spread the good news of Jesus” to those I met
whilst in Africa. Praise God that most of my Kenyan colleagues during the 3 weeks were
believers. It was wonderful to share how Jesus had impacted my life and to hear many of
their testimonies. Indeed, the primary way in which I felt I had served the Kenyan healthcare
workers and the missionaries I had come into contact with, was through hopefully
encouraging them in their walk with Jesus. Despite this, several of the younger American
doctors who had travelled to work short-term in Kenya did not trust in Jesus as their Lord
and Saviour. I trust and pray that the Holy Spirit will use the conversations I was able to have
with them for His glory in the years to come. I would love to hear that they have come to
trust and know Jesus personally! I also enjoyed our morning devotionals, where we would
remind ourselves of the bigger picture and purpose of what we were doing in the hospital.
Ephesians 1 teaches us of our irreversible election by the Father, the irreversible redemption
achieved by Christ on our behalf and how we are irreversibly sealed by the Holy Spirit. What
a joy it was to lead a morning devotional in Ephesians and remind myself and the other team
members of how blessed and secure we are in God! It was also a real privilege to worship
God and open God’s word with my brothers and sisters every Wednesday in Chapel and
every Sunday in church. I was also thankful of the time I had to fellowship during our weekly
bible studies. It was a wonderful opportunity to share life with longer-term missionaries.
Obviously, I am disappointed to have had to cut short my time in Kenya due to the
pandemic. I was very much looking forward to working in casualty for longer than one day,
and also building more and more purposeful relationships! I realise that this was very much
out of my control and I am happy that I made the decision to return home when I did.
However, I do plan to return to Kijabe in a few years’ time. I met some fantastic people and
would love to return to see how God is continuing to work in the lives of those in Kijabe!
Read our reports from those we have supported through bursaries!