Greetings to all,
Kenya Medical Outreach has really had a full year of surprises and excitement as we walk this journey we are on in Kenya. Back in February we established a wonderful relationship with Operation Smile that has enable several children with cleft lips and pallets to get evaluated and surgically corrected. All of this occurred through agencies being willing to network. According to Operation Smile, it is difficult to get the information out to the people in the rural areas, so KMO volunteered to post the information posters in Narok South and North to encourage people in healthcare areas such as dental offices, doctors offices and hospitals to refer these children to a city called Nakuru where a medical outreach was to be held to repair the cleft lips free for the children. This sounds so easy for parents to get the children to the evaluation site, but many face challenges of no money for transport or many are afraid of the unknown involved in the surgical process, so sometimes the child has no way to receive treatment. One story that relates to the above is parent seeing the problem of a cleft lip as a priority for the surgery even though we actually had a 13 year boy with a cleft lip cleared to go for an evaluation and the parents refused to let the child go even though the child wanted to go have the procedure done.
So thankfully a neighbor volunteered to not only cover the cost of transport to the evaluation site, but accompany the child as well. As it turns out, the boy was evaluated and the cleft lip was repaired and Operation Smile said now let him return to his village and be a testimony of what can be done to help people with this condition. Also the boy said he could not wait to get back to his village and tell everyone including two others with cleft lips how easy it was to get the area treated. So hopefully the two others that did not receive treatment this time will so in August.One family had 3 children with cleft lips and all three were evaluated and surgically repaired within a weeks time and went home. As they boarded the public transportation one said he could wait to get home to show people how good he looked. Please realize that here in Kenya many children with this condition are killed at birth, abandoned or the parents have no financial resources to have the corrective procedure done so the child usually dies some time after birth depending on the severity of the condition or they are ridiculed and ostracized by the other children and community as well. So these children have been given hope in the change of appearance and a big boost in self esteem.
Then the next great adventure was involvement in donkey rescue. Here in Kenya, the donkey or punda as it is called in Swahili, is a major work animal, but unfortunately ignorance, abuse and lack of fundamentals on adjusting the work load of the animal cause many avoidable injuries. So in mid March we rescued a donkey that had over 17 noted injury sites and brought him to our house to recover. The local District Vet Jerry Ole Kina played a major role in treating him and helping counsel us on how best to assist in Paul’s (the donkey) recovery. We named him Paul from the apostle Paul in the Bible because of the many beatings he experienced. Penny and Paul have become good friends especially since Penny provides plenty of carrots, kale, corn and lets him graze any green grass we can find. As a matter of fact, the donkey follows her around like a dog and brays often to get her attention. Valentine the Scottish Terrier senses the loss of attention from her master, so at times we have some competition. Hopefully we will find a good owner and new home for Paul soon since his injuries have just about healed and we are hoping to use the funds from selling him to put in an account for future rescues of animals in the Narok area. We have identified four additional animals that need immediate intervention from the harm caused by the harsh hand of man, so again hopefully we can still be involved in this arena .
As many of you may know that water is a enormous topic of discussion and need in the continent of Africa. Frequently the water is polluted or contaminated so there is major need for intervention not just for accessible water, but for clean water. In January we experience a 75% drop in rain water and this trend continued through the next few months and caused a severe drought in the area. Many cows, goats, sheep and dogs have died because of the lack of water and grass to sustain them. Then the conditions got so bad we appealed to friends in the USA for help to mobilize a food relief effort to cover 4 extremely needly areas in the district. The answer came quickly with many generous donations that allowed us to feed approximately 7,000 people. It was very interesting how God used our past experiences to assist us in moving forward in this big task. At my home church, New Covenant Fellowship, Penny and I occasionally worked in the pantry to feed the poor and one of our jobs was to line bags up and stuff the bags with the goods and the Africans marveled at what a system we used to expedite the bagging process. Each bag had beans, corn, a grits like flour, oil and salt which should last a family of 7 for 3 weeks.
All the villages we visited the people were so appreciative and some of the children kept asking is this really our food and after answering them several times they finally helped their mother carry the food to the house. One of my favorite stories occur at the 3rd village at the first house we visited. Jerry the Vet helped us with this project too and his knowledge of the back roads assisted us greatly in navigating the area. Anyway we pulled up to this house and Jerry went and knocked on the door and usually the first question that would be asked is how many people live in this house and the woman replied why? Jerry said because we need to know how much food to give you and she just looked at him and proceeded to tell her story. The night before she told her daughter to go to her room and pray because we have been without food for a few days and only God can hep us now. So the daughter did go pray and had a dream that someone came and knocked on the door and said hi I am here to give you food and that is exactly what happened the next day-God heard their prayers and gave them food. A big thanks to all that gave toward the food relief project it was a great help. In addition to the food relief, our KMO Missions Coordinator Pam Smith mobilized intercessors to pray for rain and pray Psalms 65 over the area and within the first week we had 5 measurable inches of rain in Narok. Some areas such as Morijo are still in great need rain and food and as funding continues to come in, we will give aid to that area. Also we made an appeal to the UN to assist in the areas and we have heard via email from them that aid will come for at least 6 more months.
Another problem in the area was an outbreak of rabies with not just dogs and cats but donkeys too. After talking with the District Vets we discovered that due to a lack of funding the Vets had not been vaccinated against rabies themselves, so through generous giving all Vets were vaccinated and sites were selected to move in and deal with the rabid dogs and do a mass vaccination of animals in several villages. Many people in the area have died from rabid dog bites, so many stray animals have been put down because of this outbreak. So again because of donations, we were or actually you were able to help deal with a real serious problem in the areas. We have many stories of dog bites, but this one seems to be ever present in my memory. A boy got bit by a rabid dog and the family took him to a doctor and then he didn’t get any better. So the father took him to a certain church with the thoughts that the boy had a demon and it needed to be exorcised from him, but prior to taking him to the church he bit every family member. The boy then ran from the area really crazy acting never to be seen again exhibiting extreme symptoms of rabies.
Currently KMO-Narok and KMO-USA are preparing for what looks to be an adventurous undertaking by visiting 3 different sites to do medical and dental camps and a program at one site called Walk with Jesus. At one location called Sakutiek, the people are so excited that we are coming to provide help in so many areas and are gearing up to Walk with Jesus. So please continue to partner in whatever dimension you can by praying or supporting us in these endeavors and thanks so much for all your love and concern for us and the people of Kenya.
Dollie Sauls and Penny Martin