The Last Day

By Lisa Nguyen

As quick as my time in Nairobi had begun it was about to come to a bitter-sweet end. I had one final day in Nairobi to collect 93 more surveys for my study. Due to the error of the following day, the Changamka team helped me phone and confirm the participants that were misled about the date to come that night to the same venue. The early morning until the hour before the time of the meeting with the participants were filled with “hello”, “is this…?”, “are you still available today?” and “thank you very much”. By noon, the confirmation list still didn’t look very good. Many participants were reluctant due to the lateness in calling, the distance of the venue, and the importance to them. At this point, I knew there was only so much I could do. Rather then worry about what I had no more control over I decided to concentrate on the other piece of my research study—the stakeholder interviews. I spent the rest of the afternoon engaging in conversation with the stakeholders of Linda Jamii and I was happy to learn many intriguing new information about the company, its business model, and the environment in which it was created. More importantly to me, the stakeholders were very enthusiastic when speaking to me about Linda Jamiii and it’s potential to improve the health of their country. It was very uplifting to see the amount of pride that exuded from the stakeholders when speaking of Linda Jamii because they had so much high hopes for the future health and wellness of their country.

As 4 pm struck it was time for me and some of the Changamka team to head into town to the venue we had chosen. Once we got there we took a few minutes to set our station up and by 5 pm we sat nervously waiting to see if any of the participants we confirmed earlier that day would actually show up. Slowly, participants started to trickle in around 5:30 pm and as each participant sat down I came over to run over the protocol, gather their consent, and conduct the survey. Each time I conducted the survey I learned a little bit more about how to conduct it more smoothly so that the participant would be less confused over the questions each time. Also, since the survey was quite extensive, I had to try and keep the participant engaged and entertained in order to maintain their attention throughout so they would not give up on the survey midway. Luckily many of the participants spoke English as well so I did not have to utilize translators which also gave me the added opportunity to ask more in-depth questions beyond what the survey asked. If I were to do the surveys again I would definitely take out some questions that I found to not to be applicable to the population I was surveying since those questions tended to tire out the participant before we even got to the more valuable questions. From this experience I learned a lot about the target population and how to create better surveys to get at the real questions the study is interested in. Below is a picture of a few participants filling out the survey as I was reading the questions a loud.
At the end of my last day, I had only collected a total of 20 participant surveys for the entire week—13 participants showed up to the venue the last day. Yes, I am still 80 short of reaching my target goal however, I don’t believe the whole week was a total loss; rather it was an amazing learning experience. Since my arrival in Kenya, I have truly met some amazing and wonderful people at Changamka that have shown me nothing but kindness. I have learned so much about not only the company from Sam Agutu, founder and CEO of Changamka and Linda Jamii, and his talented staff but the culture and the people that call Kenya their home. All in all, I met, spoke, worked and built relationships with many people that have made my journey to Nairobi a wonderful one.
Following are a couple of pictures from the office that I worked in for the week I stayed in Kenya.
The first photo is with Sam Agutu, founder and CEO of Changamka Microhealth Limited, who made sure that I was provided anything I might need to conduct my study during the week I was there.
This is a picture with Scholastica who I worked closely with to develop strategies to find participants for the survey.
This is a photo with Colby who is an MBA student from Duke who was there to help Changamka analyze their data.
This picture is of Solomon who is in charge of the Changamka database and who also helped me a lot by explaining how the company operated.
This photo is of Edwin (right) and Mercy (left) who were both key to helping me call and gather participants for the study.
This photo is with Nehemiah who is the head accountant at Changamka.
Lastly, the final photo is of the amazing Changamka Microhealth Limited team who I truly am honored to meet and work with.
My journey to Nairobi is definitely one I will always remember and very fortunate to have; thank you to Heather Wipfli and the Institute of Global Health for making it all possible.