I have talked about some of the medical issues in Kenya, but another component of our clinics is sexual health teachings. In Kenya, the man often works away from home. As monogamy isn’t the rule in this culture, the men are having other sexual partners then are coming home and having sex with their wives. As such, the rate of HIV infection and Aids in Africa as a whole is still growing. If the men used condoms with their away partners, they don’t use them with their wives. The women are then highly vulnerable and susceptible to disease. Lynn distributes condoms among the women and men (if the community conditions are right) and teaches them how to use them. So many babies are still being born HIV positive. There are too many orphans in the country, and so many of the children being raised by their grandmothers. On Saturday, a grandmother brought in four little children for treatment, all without shoes. One knows that her daughter had probably died and now she had to feed and care for the children.
In Kenya, teenage girls can’t go to school unless they have sanitary pads. A box of disposable pads costs as much here as they do back home. The girls and women use what they have and I have heard they have even use corn husks to catch menstrual flow. Because the girls miss a week of school each month, they eventually drop out of school. We brought nearly 1000 homemade pads with us this year and will distribute them at the schools and at the sexual health clinics. Many, many thanks to all of you who sew each year, our unsung heroes. You make a difference in a girl’s life.
Lynn wanted to speak to you about her work so the following are her comments and photos.
“Other than medical treatment of health conditions, a significant portion of our mission is prevention of diseases. One of my focuses is HIV prevention mainly with women as they are at high risk for HIV. I am lucky that these groups take place in a field beside the clinics. The women laugh at me as I enjoy the sun while they sit in the shade! It is apparent that the younger girls attending school are aware of HIV prevention but unfortunately when speaking to woman 18 years old and older, they have little power to enforce prevention methods such as faithfulness, monogamy, and condom use. The women were interested to learn about and to receive female condoms. They loved the cloth maxi pads they received. Many many thanks to all who have sewn all year to supply these”.