Rafiki Update

By Dr. Terry Davis

Wedged in between last March’s Rafiki Muziki Extravaganza and next summer’s 15th Anniversary of the birth of Rafiki, this summer’s celebration was intentionally low-key, but there was still plenty to celebrate and many milestones to mark.

Big changes at the Clinic

The first notable change at the clinic is physical: the appearance of a second floor. Funding from a grant from the Diocese of Southern Ohio has allowed the beginning of construction of a second floor onto the clinic. This additional space, although originally conceived as a maternity wing, will be initially purposed to provide much needed dental services for the community. We are working on securing the volunteer services of some local dentists to provide clinic time with equipment and supplies being provided by the clinic. This will be a wonderful additional benefit that Rafiki will provide.

In addition to the physical improvements in the clinic, we are working to ensure that the best available “evidence based practice” is happening in our clinic. In order to facilitate, that Kristen Tomblin, a Nurse Practitioner from Allentown,  Pennsylvania and Marian Cavagnaro from Florida spent time at the clinic and are making some recommendations for standardizing the treatments at the clinic. As a Nurse Practitioner, Kristen has experience in how clinics in the US treat certain common problems. As manager of a large hospital laboratory (as well as being clergy) Marian understands what laboratory procedures are most beneficial for confirming the diagnosis of those same conditions.

With the full support of our Board Chair, Dr. John Njenga, his wife, Irene, also a physician, and Susan Munga who oversees the clinic, we are developing  standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each of our common diagnoses. The use of these will standardize the diagnosis, lab confirmation and treatment which should dramatically improve our outcomes as well as reduce the use of multiple antibiotics. Kristen has developed the first draft of the SOP for Urinary Tract Infection, and it is currently under review by the Kenya team.

Another area of expansion is the fish business. At the annual celebration, we recharged the old Talapia fish pond with a fresh load of 1,000 Talapia minnows, which should be ready for market in about 9 months. In addition, a new  second pond was stocked with the same number of catfish, a species which should be quite marketable when they mature.

Next up for recognition was the work commencing on the John Webster Shopping Center. Since the Pig business fell victim to falling pork prices (thanks to fears of Swine Flu) and rising feed prices, Rafiki decided to switch gears. Five former pigpens that are part of the barn back up to the main road leading to Nderi which actually sees a fair amount of traffic. We are renovating them by knocking out doors in the wall facing the road, completing the internal walls and putting on a roof. This will create five roadside shops, which, along with the Posho Mill will be the nucleus of the Shopping Center. Tenants may include a butcher shop, produce market, microfinance office and barber shop. Hopefully, once underway, this can be another profit center for Rafiki.

Perhaps the biggest event of the annual celebration was related to Rafiki Academy which opened up early this year beginning the process of bringing education in-house. We began with pre-school and Classes 1 and 2. We have excellent teachers. The business plan calls for each class to be approximately 20-25 students. One third would be our own and two thirds would come from the community.

We have this goal because we don’t want our kids isolated from the community. In addition, those community parents who currently are paying school fees to the local primary school  would be paying them to us instead. With that income, the school would be a major profit center for Rafiki. We plan to add one class each year.

Although the classes are going very well, they are only half full; mainly because we have not had a school bus to pick up community children. The staff and the newly formed Parent-Teachers Association have been agitating for the procurement of a bus for many months now. Downtown and Capital Square Rotary Clubs as well as First Community Church pitched in to fund a bus. We purchased the bus in Nairobi and were able to keep it a surprise from the staff – only two Board members and John Nganga knew we were going to deliver the bus in during the annual celebration. The Kenya team were overwhelmed when the bus arrived- and, as they said, “we have gone from complaining to repentance”. Hopefully, with the new bus, we’ll be able to fill up those classrooms.

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