August 2015 Kenya
While half of the team was working in Afghanistan, the other half of the team traveled to Eldoret, Kenya. The area is a famous destination for athletes, especially distance runners, to go to train because of the conditions brought by the rarefied air in altitudes that can reach more than 7,000 feet above sea level.
We were able to fit hundreds of patients in Eldoret, including James Shalumba, a pastor who lost his ability to hear in 2007, when tiles from a decaying roof fell on his head as he passed by on the street. James wasn’t going to let the accident prevent him from preaching, but since he didn’t have the resources to get hearing aids, he designed a hearing aid out of Walkman parts and duct tape. He came to see us in Eldoret still wearing his self-designed hearing aid. We were impressed with the ingenuity of his design, but he admitted it wasn’t a perfect solution and was thrilled when we were able to fit him with modern digital hearing aids. At the end of the day, James gave us his self-made design as a show of gratitude for his new hearing aids.
While in Eldoret, we were fortunate enough to run into AfterCare patient Emmanuel, age 13, who we fit with hearing aids in March 2014. He was helping his mother sell peanuts and was in great spirits. When we originally fit him, he was not speaking, but when we caught up with him a year later, Emmanuel was proud to show off how much his speech has improved. He also talked at length about how happy he was to be in school now that he can hear the teachers. It’s always great to come back and see the positive impact the gift of hearing can have on someone’s life!
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