June 14

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My First Day at AMREF

Hi everyone,
Today (Wednesday) was my first day at my NGO (AMREF) in Nairobi, Kenya under the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) PULSE Programme. Last Sunday, my wife and son dropped me off at the airport to begin my journey. I arrived in Nairobi on Monday night after over 20 hours in the air or changing planes. Needless to say, I was exhausted and there is a 7 hour time difference between the east coast of the United States and Nairobi. I spent Tuesday sleeping and then unpacking for my 6 month stay.
Today my GSK partner, Katrin (who is from Dresden, Germany) and I went to the AMREF Headquarters. The ride there in the taxi was quite an experience. It seems as though it is every person for themselves when driving. The way they drive here in Nairobi would even scare a New York City cab driver. If you have ever seen a cab going through traffic in New York City, you know what I am talking about. They are 20 times worse here in Nairobi. It is definitely the attitude of “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead”.
Once we survived our cab ride it was time to start our day. Our first day was filled with Orientation Meetings with different departments within AMREF. The people at AMREF are very passionate about their work and enjoy what they do. We met with people from Human Resources, Communications, Fundraising and Partnership, Programme Management, Health Programme Development, and the Clinical & Outreach Programme. Seeing what these people do to help the people in Africa is very eye-opening. Things that we take for granted regarding health care in the western world either do not exist or are very limited in parts of Africa. AMREF is an “African” based Non-Government Organization (NGO) and they are very proud of that. Unlike other NGOs who are based in either Europe or North America, they started as a small organization within Kenya and now have offices in 5 other countries as well as 2 regional offices. If you would like to learn more about AMREF, go to http://www.amref.org to see what they do.
Just seeing what they do at AMREF in 1 day at their headquarters was amazing. I can only imagine what it will be like while I am here for the next 6 months.