Today is day 9 of our mission. Everyone is getting tired and looking forward to coming home. The irony is that we get to come home to our lives but the Kenyan’s life doesn’t change. Without their strong belief in God, they would have no hope. For many of them, hope comes in the form that life on earth is hard but death gives respite from their pain.
Today’s clinic treated 640 patients and we held a sexual education clinic for 45 women. We handed out 31 pairs of eyeglasses (there is never enough), and had a follow up visit with a man who had been at the hospital yesterday. Jiggers has nearly been eradicated in this area. What joy that is! The children at the school love the soccer balls and skipping ropes and hope we can bring more. We also visited the well made possible by CNFA donations. This community has felt the impact we have made here. And that is all we want – to make a difference.
We will be starting Grace’s house tomorrow. Thanks to the generous donations from the blog readers and supporters of this mission, we have raised enough money to build Grace a 3 bedroom house, with one bedroom for the boys and one for the girls. This will be even more important as the children grow and develop. There is always one person that we “take home from Africa” and Grace is certainly that person for this and the 2013 mission. The house will take one day to build and I will post photos.
Here are a few comments about life in Kenya. Marriage is a long term commitment. As opposed to other cultures, the dowry is paid to the bride’s family. The groom’s family offers cows as a gift to the bride’s parents and the bride’s family gives chickens in return. Women will stay married even when the relationship is faulty as it is very dangerous to a woman to live on her own in the community. She needs her husband for protection even if he is a drunk.
Rural Kenyans cook inside their homes over a wood fire. As there is no ventilation in the house, this leads to a great number of upper respiratory infections. By six years old, a child is expected to be able to cook a meal over a wood fire as wood fires are considered less dangerous than charcoal or gas fires.
Kenya has contracted with the Chinese to build roads in Kenya. They are vastly superior to the roads we experienced in the earlier years that were built by the Kenyans. The main road into Kakamega appears to be at a standstill, or nearly so. Water lines are buried by the side of the road in deep ditches dug by pick-axe and shovel. On the severe downslopes, the ditches are lined with stones and cemented in place using concrete. Again this is hand work with the stones laid by hand and the cement applied by shovel and trowel. The Kenyan workers dig out the stones from the dirt piles left from the construction using shovels and they are loaded into a truck, which delivers them to where they are needed. There are so few jobs in Kenya that workers will take anything and do anything to provide for their families. The benefit of the Chinese road building is that people are being trained to work as machine operators and truck drivers. Oh, and workboots are more commonly known as sandals.
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CNFA, your work is so heartwarming! I wish more of us were like you. All the incredible hard work you do provides a much better perspective on things here at home, where we complain about the most trivial things. Today, for example, a boy in my grade 2 class was complaining about not having the game Minecraft (he’s a kid so we’ll forgive him!), so I shared some of the stories you blogged about. He could not believe them!
Thank you for your outstanding kindness!