Child Life in Kenya

The Partnership Continues July 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — childlifeinkenya @ 8:46 pm

Hi everyone, I know it’s been a very long time since we posted and we’re sorry! Life gets busy, especially work. Hope and I have kept in touch with Sarah Ellen. She visited in May and introduced us to the Sally Test! We were able to share our experiences with the woman who funded the Sally Test Center. Another amazing woman. Sarah Ellen also visited us at Riley Hospital for Children. She came to one of our playtimes and we toured her around some of the hospital. Then we introduced her to Creation Cafe for lunch. It was a lovely time!

In the meantime we are trying to work on a binder of activities to send to Kenya. We want to offer activities that can be easily adapted to their culture. We’ve asked help from our whole department-Music Therapy, Art Therapy, School included. It’s still in the works but our goal is to continue the partnership and help in any way we can.

Since we’ve been back a few people have asked how they can help. To continue the wonderful work at Sally Test Center, monetary donations would be greatly appreciated. Although many items are needed, it is difficult to ship items and there’s no guarantee they would make it to Sarah Ellen and the Sally Test Center. If you’d like more information, please contact Sarah Ellen Mamlin at

The Sally Test Center is a very special place that is touching many, many lives.  Thanks for continuing to follow our journey.

~Megan and Hope


We are home! March 5, 2010

Filed under: 1 — childlifeinkenya @ 9:06 pm

We just wanted to let everyone know we made it home safely…I’m off to bed soon but we’ll post soon 🙂


Capturing the memorable moments March 3, 2010

Filed under: 1 — childlifeinkenya @ 11:40 pm

Debbie: "Here, let me feed you some pizza." Sheba: "Yummmmmmmm."

Infant massage=relaxed babies

I heart this kid, Peter. His smile has grown bigger and bigger over the past week!

"Cheeeeesssseee" Abigael is the ultimate posing model. Hope spent a lot of time with her yesterday-she's a sweet girl.

Group photo with some kiddos and teachers.

Sarah Ellen and "Mr. Doctor"...what an amazing woman.


Kwaheri from Kenya

Filed under: 1 — childlifeinkenya @ 11:16 pm

Our time in Kenya has come to an end…unfortunately. We will really miss the staff at Sally Test Center. We will REALLY REALLY miss the kids. We are taking away so much from this experience and are looking forward to our continued partnership with Sarah Ellen. We have lots to share with our Riley staff! We start our travel home tonight…think happy thoughts for us! I know we’ve missed blogging the last few days so we’ll work on a ending post when we get home. Plus we need to post more pictures! Thank you again for reading and posting all the encouraging comments…although I’m sad to leave, I’m excited to share our stories with everyone back home. Until then…here’s Hopey 🙂


It has been a whirlwind and I not ready for it to be over.  The whirlwind hit me yesterday…while holding little Barrack and watching a group of children sing in Kiswahili, I teared up (shocking I know).  I will always treasure the last two weeks.  We have been welcomed with open arms, got the best snuggles in the world, and made wonderful friends.  The benefits of our trip will hopefully be seen in the future and much work will be done after we arrive home, but Megan and I will never be able to match what has been given to us.  One of the teachers told Megan today that the children ask where the Mzungus (white people) are when we aren’t there… to know that you are special in the eyes of a child is the greatest feeling in the world.  Well I better get going… I need to make room in my luggage… I have about 16 extra really cute “things” to pack.



Hugs and Kisses from Kenya March 2, 2010

Filed under: 1 — childlifeinkenya @ 11:57 am

Happy Birthday Dad!!!  As I reflect on this experience and your birthday, I need to thank you.  You have never known a stranger and you do not judge others…. lessons that are very valuable for me here.  Thanks to you and Mom for being the greatest teachers.  I love you!  Save some Thai food for me.



One Amazing Little Girl

Filed under: 1 — childlifeinkenya @ 11:46 am

I have always loved the toddler/preschool age group…there’s just something about that age that intrigues me, challenges me, and opens my eyes. I posted some pictures of Sheba doing medical play on Sunday…one of my favorite moments here. Sheba is an abandoned baby, has sickle cell disease, and a hearing impairment. We have heard she has hearing in one ear and then others say she has no hearing. From our experience, if she does have hearing, it’s not much. This does not hold the girl back though-lots of exploring and interaction!

Back to the medical play…in the middle of STC there’s a dramatic play area. It looks like a little house and has a bench, doll bed, a cloth doll, and some kid medical equipment. Sheba was in there by herself when I approached her (she’s the first I’ve seen in this area). When I handed her the stethoscope she knew exactly what to do with it-she put it on and put it on the baby. I had my “A ha moment” and went and got a mask and two doll puppets. She loved the puppets and insisted on wearing one on each hand at times. She didn’t put the mask on them or herself but often picked it up. When I modeled holding and feeding the puppet, Sheba immediately became interested and did the same. I rocked the puppet and then she did. At one point she had all the dolls and equipment around her and just took a moment and looked at it all-then of course she went on playing.  This was a great experience for both of us because we didn’t need verbal communication. And it was most I’d seen her engaged in one activity!

I have some video of this (which is adorable) but I can’t upload it to the blog because of the format. So it’s something I’ll share when we get back. Hope mentioned our group medical play from Monday…there were A LOT of kids involved. One little guy, Peter, was intently focused on his “work.” Alfred was next to him and was fascinated with the puppet…I captured both on camera and Hope and I laughed so hard because of his undeniable cuteness. If I had to define why Child Life is so important, I think I’d put their pictures in the definition.



Busy Busy March 1, 2010

Filed under: 1 — childlifeinkenya @ 11:39 pm

It has been a busy two days.  Yesterday we created a presentation for the new Child Life workers and spent the afternoon at the STC.  Random thought from yesterday-I have gotten much better at caring for multiple babies on my own… I feel more African.  I never would have tried doing a session with three or four infants before.

Today- we presented to the new Child Life workers which took about 3 hrs (growing that comfort level just in time for that Music Therapy conference in a few weeks).  It was so long we had a tea and mgazi (a Kenyan donut) break.  Who knew Megan and I could be such talkers?!

In the afternoon we led a group medical play session.  Unfortunately, I could not communicate with my group.  Most of my kids spoke Turkana.  It was interesting to see the behavioral differences of the Turkana children vs. the other Kenyan children though.  Turkanian children are much more bold!

I am sad we only have few days left.  I was already sad when we didn’t get to spend quality time with the babies this morning… we dressed the babies after their baths but had no time for snuggles.  I wish I could have videotaped the bath routine though… it is efficient chaos.  Sixteen babies were bathed and dressed in less than 30 minutes.  Their soiled (no diapers on the wards) clothes are stripped, they’re plopped into a tub of soapy water, scrubbed, tossed onto a changing table, given an oil massage, and dressed.  Some are laughing, some are crying, but all end up snuggly fresh (for a moment at least)!!!