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COFFEE SPOONS: Leave No Medic Behind

Leave No medic Behind

I Have measured out my life with coffee spoons…T.S ELIOT

DIANA (not her real name) is not your average girl next door.Yes she is pretty and jovial. She wakes up early everyday, attends lectures, participates in ward rounds, studies late into the night and what not. A typical medical student. But then she is the embodiment of the famous still waters that run deep! Behind her smile and confident gait is a need, a want that is not met. But of course she dares not speak it out loud, indeed she cannot.

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Diana is the eldest of eight children in a family she speaks so fondly of. Her home is the typical Kenyan home depending on farming for a bulk of its income. Excesses and luxuries are out of question. What with the basic needs being difficult to actually come by! However, the love that freely flows in the home makes the burden easier to bear. Her admission to the University of Nairobi school of medicine rekindled their torch of hope. It was a looming hope in the midst of despair!

This joy was however short-lived. Diana knew her father would struggle sustaining her and the family simultaneously. Her siblings were in school and needed school fees as well as other basics. Furthermore her grandparents had moved in with them and had to be taken care of. Their little farm could not even supply a fraction of this humongous need. Her father was shouldering the weight of the whole world in an attempt to make ends meet.

Living on such a strained budget was made worse by the fact that she lacked a smart phone. With most notes and resources being shared in soft copy, such a device was really important. She had to make due with borrowing class notes from her friend’s phones. The poor girl resorted to discussion groups where she could access the material she needed. She had to labor harder than the rest to actually remain on top of her work.

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A shadow crosses her face as she reminisces about a certain incident. Only fifty shillings were in her pockets to serve her for a whole week. To make matters worse she had an upcoming week of examinations. Starving and being broke at such a time placed her between the devil and the deep sea, a rock and a hard place!

Her fifty shillings afforded her two Maandazis per day which she washed down with lots of water. She laughs shakily as she remembers the huge volume of water she drank. It was the only thing she had that could mask the hunger and grumbling of her empty stomach. The fifty shillings ran out on the day before the exam. She was broke and hungry.

Diana walked silently to school looking around in silent hope and prayer. She hoped to pick some money on the road dropped by a stranger. There was nothing to be found. She did the exam on an empty stomach. It was the longest examination she has ever done thus far. Her father finally gathered something little and sent it to her, thus saving her from an uncertain fate.

Such experiences of near starvation, lacking school fees and even accommodation fees unsettles her. Many are the nights she has silently cried and despaired because of the gall in her life. Living with such uncertainty has her on edge and perpetually worried. It’s a life she desperately wants out from. The mental burden in itself is sometimes worse than even the physical lack and want.

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Association of Medical Students of University of Nairobi (AMSUN)  under the LEAVE NO MEDIC BEHIND program came to her rescue. Toward the end of 2019 they secured her enough money to supply her with regular meals. Diana actually laughs, a sweet laughter that reminds me of a bell, as she speaks about this. She speaks so happily of the relief this has afforded her. This can afford her three square meals. Sometimes she can indulge in some niceties and treats.


Many medical students suffer such lack and need all around us(In University of Nairobi), and indeed all over campuses in Kenya.The stigma involved prevents many from seeking help. Some end up dropping out of school for lack of school fees. Countless others, like Diana face the prospect of starving. Many are barred from doing examinations because of tuition fee balances. Others even lack a bed to rest their back on at night because they cannot afford accommodation.

Many are suffering silently all around us. It may be that laid back guy in class who seems to have it all together. Maybe its that really pretty lady in class who seems to have no flaws.That quiet and reserved guy who we have labelled shy or anti social may be battling such demons. It may be that cousin you sent to school last year. Maybe it is that neighbor who just joined campus. Maybe,just maybe it is you reader who has similar or even worse experiences.

It’s up to us to actually extend a helping hand to such students. Let us join the LEAVE NO MEDIC BEHIND CHALLENGE to raise funds to meet these needs. Help those measuring their lives out with coffee spoons to actually take a huge, good scoop out of life.Give someone a smile. Give someone life.Give someone education. Give someone peace!

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Noel March 15, 2020 at 7:28 pm

Quite an intresting article Kamau …. i cannot say it better than you have … keep on with the good work and lets all ensure our neighbours are as happy as ourselves

Kamau March 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm

For those asking this is a real true life story of a medical student!

DR. EBUNIKHE I. KADU March 16, 2020 at 4:16 am

Such a touching story of Diana. Many leaving in silence under the same shadow. Nice article Dr. Kamau.
Truly…#Where God sends, He provides

Kamau Ndichu March 16, 2020 at 5:09 am

Where he leads he guides and protects.thank you Daktari

Okoth Sevarin March 16, 2020 at 6:17 am

This and so many other stories are left unsaid, it’s encouraging how you brought it out Kamau! Kudos!
Let’s make an effort to support AMSUN’s initiative and Leave No Medic Behind.

Kamau Ndichu March 16, 2020 at 6:58 am

Indeed no medic shall be left behind.Ahsante

Richard Mwenja March 16, 2020 at 10:39 am

A scribe at his element! If it does not positively impact, it isn’t worth it.Keep up brother

Nyambura Gladys March 16, 2020 at 4:58 pm

So proud of you kamau

Melvin March 17, 2020 at 5:43 am


Brigael Eto March 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm

A well put story.It had reminded me the reality that amongst us are brothers sisters and friends who need our help in one way or another and its up to us to watch and extend our help whenever we can!Thank you bro

Ashlyne March 19, 2020 at 5:35 pm

I really love this article it reminds to being kind and having people’s needs at heart…thankyou ndichu..

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