Dreams...And Real Life

Before I begin this next segment, there are a couple of things it is important to remember.  When Tom decided to move to New York in 1987 he was able to get registered and find a job very quickly.  He was a good pharmacist with alot of experience both in retail and working in geriatrics.  When we moved to Philadelphia, again he had no difficulty getting a job at the VA Hospital.  So when we considered moving to Nairobi, we thought that same pattern would continue.  We had alot to learn...

Following is another excerpt from a letter I wrote to my parents.  It gives a good idea of what we were hoping to accomplish while we lived in Kenya.  The letter was written sometime in October, just weeks after we arrived...

"Things are great here.  We're getting used to getting around and the schedule here.  Kenya really is beautiful.  I went to a friend's house this morning and all the vegetation and flowers are gorgeous.  I can't wait for you to see it.  It's getting quite warm now - it's mid-spring here!  The short rains are to begin soon, but I hear it usually rains only in the mornings and at night.  Dec./Jan. is really hot!  Mom, I made curtains for our door and next is the patio door.  After that I'm making kitchen curtains! And I want to try to make place mats. Sewing really isn't bad!

Tom's been pounding the pavement.  He has to take a forensic exam in November and get registered with the ministry of health before he can work.  As soon as that happens one hospital has already said they would hire him and another wants him.  He's also going to a meeting with someone at one of the drug companies.  The most exciting thing, however, is a project we have been talking about.  Two pharmacists here would like to start a program to monitor drug levels in the bloodstream of patients.  Tom worked on that in Philly.  One of the pharmacists sits on the board to determine what drugs are allowed to be used in Kenya and the other is very well known in the medical community.  We're going to a medical association dinner/dance this Saturday so Tom can meet more people...He has talents the Kenyans really need...We're working on a proposal to present to a manufacturing company in the U.S. to persuade them to donate the machine to get started...with my writing skills I'll be able to help sell the idea.  I'm also planning to interview Tom and the pharmacists and write an article for a pharmacy magazine.  We have lots of ideas we're working on....

There is a great need here.  And it's exciting to think not only can we help people learn about the Bible, but we can also help meet physical needs that will benefit all Kenyans....I have heard a saying from a movie - 'what do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams' - That's how I feel.   This place is so cool...I love you and miss you.  Please write.  Lori"

In 1989 in Kenya, patients who had epilepsy and were on medication had to wait on blood samples being sent to the United Kingdom for analysis.  We were hoping to get a machine and start a clinic in Nairobi that would allow the tests to be done in real time and get accurate results quicker. Often, by the time the results came back to Nairobi, patient's drug levels were already so different that it was difficult to determine proper drug dosages.  Doctors and pharmacists were frustrated.  There were so many things medically and otherwise that we realized we had always taken for granted.
We were learning alot! 

We had no idea what we were doing or how to go about getting something like that started, but we had so much zeal and were just sure that God had brought us to Nairobi to help.  We did write letters and contacted several organizations in the United States.  We later received software from an American company for this project.  Honestly we were shocked when it came.  They had never met us or even talked to us on the phone.  They sent it based on letters we wrote.  It was amazing to us and kept our hope alive.

November came and went and Tom couldn't take that exam.  Why?
We don't know.  Things were different in Kenya. The exam date was cancelled.  To be given at a later date, we were told. It was given only two times a year.  Oh boy.  Like I said, we were learning alot.

Lori ZieglerComment