The October 2013, our first fall medical mission, has drawn to a close. We found quite a difference in the overall health of the communities we work within because of the harvest. Most people had food, therefore less disease. It was wonderful to hear children laugh and see them play and even to cry much more than usual! What a difference food in the belly makes! We were told that it would be different in the spring when we are planning to go back. Food will again be scarce and there will be widespread hunger and disease rates will be increased. Because the clinics saw fewer patients per day, nurses had opportunities to spend more time with our jiggers program, schools, home and hospital visits, etc. The government has implemented a nationwide school deworming program so we did far fewer of these. Here are our numbers of patients treated:
School deworming- 3,007
Home visits- 4
Hospital care- 8 plus at least one planned surgery
Sex education classes- grade 8 and above girls: 266
Crutches provided to one person.
We had many challenges this trip but many new and exciting possibilities have opened up as well. Trish and I met with the local public health authorities and formulated a plan to share information on public health programs. Lynn and I met with the dean of the faculty of nursing at the Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega and explored ways we could collaborate. We stumbled across a wonderful little mission hospital and orphanage run by a Franciscan nun from Spain. Perfect for treating some of our most ill patients on the next mission. Sister Carmen is bursting with energy, love and humour and was a joy to spend a bit of time with. We met with TEMBO Canada, an organization out of BC who do amazing work with water and latrines as well as in the schools. We are hoping to form a partnership with them and entice them to work in our community. We will be providing a wheelchair for one patient. There will be a new quilt created with squares drawn by children at Logemo school to help support the building of a much needed latrine.
I spoke to a number of Grandmothers who all asked for help in paying school fees and providing food for their grandchildren who have been orphaned. I had one school headmaster tell me that 80% of the children in his school were orphaned with most being cared for by their grandmothers. These women need your help. PLEASE- if you feel moved by these women, think about getting involved! You would not only be helping the grannies but the children as well.
I would like to thank the communities within the Sabatia constituency for welcoming us and allowing us the privilage of caring for them. As foreigners, it has taken time for the people to trust us and to believe we will keep coming back to them. I had many, many patients from previous years come to the clinics to offer a thank you.
I would like to also thank all of our Kenyan colleagues who are so vital to the success of every mission. The nurses, clinical officers, clinic helpers, our amazing drivers and our very special assistant Jerri. We are so fortunate to have all of you at our sides as well as the great staff at the Sheywe Guest House who take such good care of us.
A special thank you again to my lead team, Lynn, Trish, and Dawn who share my passion for this work and give themselves selflessly to it while we are in Kenya. Thank you to all members of the Canadian team. I truly hope you each have come home with gratitude for the abundance we live with and that this was a rewarding and enriching experience for each of you.
Gail Wolters, President