“And, Mommy, that’s Bohkeh and her sister, Rozi. There’s my friend Mwita with his uncle Chacha. . .HI Mwita, Hi Mzee Chacha!” Julie was leaning out the car window, waving.
It seemed our three-year-old social butterfly knew every name in the tribe. Was more than eager alerting them to her presence.
“Honey, we should get ready to leave for Nairobi. I’ve confirmed our room is still reserved at the Mennonite.” Ever the attentive planner, Ann was ready to get to the capital. Baby number two would be soon on its way and we needed a buffer period in the city to spare us a potentially hasty, six-hour delivery drive.
Of the city’s handful of guest houses, the Mennonite had become our favorite. We rolled up in our dingy-white Bug. The matron – Mrs. Hostetter, donning her small, white, circular head-piece – welcomed us. After a brief exchange, she excused herself with a smile, “Dinner is at 6:00. Enjoy your stay.”
“Jerry, we’d better get going.” Ann’s voice betrayed a familiar tone of two years earlier, signaling me to grab her small, shiny-red suitcase.
“OK, babe. Here we go!”
Late in the evening a nurse moved to my wife’s bedside.
“Mr. Buckley will be by to see you and your fine little boy, Mrs. Lout.”
This was a practice we still puzzle over. That it is only a fully-certified specialist who has his professional title elevated from ‘Doctor Buckley’ up to ‘Mr Buckley’. We were learning the British world of medicine, its language and meaning.
Mr. Buckley’s visits to Ann’s bedside were always gracious, informative, professional. In short, “spot on”.
In the Africa of the 1970’s and 80’s, post-delivery care for new mothers meant extended stays of bedrest. Several days after Scott Timothy came screaming from the womb, he and his mom left Nairobi Hospital. By then every nurse and several of the new moms had drawn him close.
We checked out and the four of us made the long drive back to our remote Kenya home. Only to return to Nairobi in three months, to the same hospital.
Ann must go under the surgeon’s knife. It was crucial.
©2017 Jerry Lout