Sunday, February 7, 2010

Medical Work in Kenya

I Thought

I thought
I was done going
To Kenya but Rick asked me
I thought
I was done learning but no uvula means
It was cut out at birth
And nobody told me
I thought
I was done caring but I was challenged
To care for the one and not hide
Behind care for the many which is
No care at all really
I thought
I was done seeing but the city and its streets
Of horror and honor
Took me by surprise
I thought
I was done growing but my
Selfishness showed my stunted growth
And room to branch upward

I was in Kenya for three weeks in January. The first week was with “World Hope.” I was one of three doctors, and with several nurses, college students, and local volunteers, we set up an ad hoc clinic in the slums of Nairobi.

One of my patients was a boy of 14 I will call Samuel. He was having chest pain, on an almost daily basis. After reviewing his story and examining him, I became convinced that there was a social problem resulting in stress. As it turns out, Samuel lives on the street, making his way the best he can since the death of his mother. Eeking out an existence in a place where everything and everyone is used up. I think I found the cause for this boy’s chest pain.

The World Hope ministry has an outreach to boys his age. I hope as he continues with the regular meetings there, he will find more and more strength for his difficult life.

When we diagnosed a single mother of six with HIV, we were able to get her counseling, and a connection with local HIV resources. It is tough telling a person they have HIV, and this case was particularly heart-breaking. But Johnstone, the Social Worker from World Hope, was obviously doing a superb job helping these very needy people.

Chris is a junior doctor who came with us to Kenya as part of his training. One of the women he treated told him that her young son was stuck in the hospital for 2 months because the family could not pay the bill. When the reality of the situation was confirmed, Chris was quite moved and he paid the boy’s hospital bill.

We went to visit a woman whose foot wound turned our noses with its smoldering infection, pus dripping out under the hard crust of a third degree burn. We managed to get her admitted to the hospital, and in the process learned much about the medical system in Kenya.

After the Hope Center week, five of us (the three docs, Chris's wife Sara, and Rick's son Adam) went to the small town of Mukeu to work.

Simon is a hard working nurse. He is someone who lost his parents at a young age. Only by the help of a sponsor from the West was he able to complete his schooling, all the while supporting his younger siblings. Now working, he serves others while continuing to support his siblings as they go to school. He is an example of someone who needed a hand, received help, and is now serving others.

If you are interested in being a helping hand like the person who helped Simon, please pray and consider the following:

The Maternity Center: The Mukeu board wants to build a maternity center, which would be a great benefit to the community. The project is not yet ready to move forward, but if you are interested in helping support it, make a pledge of at least $100. When the project is ready for funding, we will let you know.

Social assistance: If you want to help people like Samuel, you can contact myself or World Hope.

Scholarships: We are looking into scholarships for workers at the clinic in Mukeu. We do know of students in law school and seminary that need help now. Let me know if you would like to partner with them.

There are so many other needs, I cannot begin to recount them all. But something I am learning: help somebody. Do not make the mistake of being so overwhelmed by the needs that you do nothing.

And please pray for our family as we prepare for more works of service at home and abroad.

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