Our mission ended on Sunday May 9, 2010. Sunday evening was spent organizing our leftover medication and trying to find someone who would store it for us until next year. Just as we were leaving the guest house on Monday morning, loaded down with our suitcases (some empty now), we were met by a church group from the Kakamega slums. They presented each of us with an African purse and African cloth. They wound the cloth around us and along with their thanks and hugs, we left Kakamega for the last time. We stopped at the 2 pharmacies who had benefited from us this year, and they both gave refunds for the leftover medications. This will be a help for next year.
It took 12 hours to travel to Nairobi, which included a quick boat ride on Lake Victoria to see the hippos. The road hadn’t changed since our initial journey, and the Toyota van still operated with no dials and limited shock absorbers. We had two windshield wipers though, one attached to the vehicle and the other lay on the dash. The day gave us rain, sunshine and dense fog.
The 12 hours in the van gave a lot of opportunity for conversation. We treated a lady on Wednesday who dragged herself on her side into the clinic for treatment. She needs a wheelchair or some other conveyance. A wheelchair in Kenya costs at least $1000.00 but we have to do something for her. If anyone can help with this, it would be a blessing…a gift, a donation or a fundraiser.
We talked about malnutrition, about how it rained inside our clinic one day, about the very sick and the hopelessness we saw every day. We talked about the lady who was missing one leg, who had cut down a crutch, and attached the lower portion to her leg. We talked about the smutty t-shirt someone from North American had donated to charity and it was now being worn by a little girl oblivious to its message. We talked about the children’s swollen stomaches and high fevers. We talked and talked.
Oh yes, and we even talked about Lynn’s missing cockroach and realized that Sherry knew where it had been all along, ever since she had gotten up one morning and saw a flattened roach in her bed (don’t tell Lynn!).
And a final word…We treated 3,300 patients this year with 7 clinics. I wish I had the words to fully describe what we saw. It wasn’t until we experienced this mission personally that we can understand Africa’s problems even a little. We came with good intentions and made a small difference to a few for a short period of time. I hope we did no harm in this beautiful country, the place where civilization started, this Garden of Eden. Mother Teresa stated “what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop…We can not do great things on this earth but only small things with great love.”
Today is Friday May 14th and we are home. We have had a long journey home with an adventure or two thrown in on the way. The last of us arrived at LB Pearson last night at 5p to the warm welcome of our spouses and family. Last night was spent in our own beds with our own pillows, not the ‘bag of lump’s we had used in Kenya…the small things we appreciate. Thank you again to everyone who helped this year’s mission. Without you, the task would be impossible. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as we prepare for next year.