26 November 2015

Four Families In One Morning: Mama Wilson, Mama Meshack, Mama Bregys, And Mama Do

Last Wednesday was the day we'd been waiting weeks for: the Kijabe Clinic!

Doctors specializing in spinal and orthopedic deformities, as well as specialists in Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, hold clinics all over the country to assess the children in rural areas. They come to Kitale about four times a year.

Sammy had been inviting the parents of children with disabilities we'd met on our various house visits to meet us at the clinic to have doctors from Cure Hospital and Kijabe Mission Hospital diagnose their child and give more information to assess the best next step for these families.

I was even more excited because it meant that these parents, whom I'd met and been anxious to give various business start-up items, would all be in the same room at one time...saving us the drive all over the place for deliveries.

The day was jammed packed with tests and diagnoses and plans for future surgeries and home visits. (You can read Sammy's side of the story here.)

It was also filled with short, broken Swahili/English conversations that ended with a can of seeds, a wish list of items, or a promise of quick delivery.

And, just like that, four families in about three hours. Would you like to meet them? That's what I thought! 

/// FAMILY #1: Mama Wilson ///
Here are Joshua, Limo and Wilson (and their younger sister.) These three brothers have a genetic disorder that causes mental and physical impairments which become more severe over time. Wilson uses a wheelchair, while the two younger boys walk with bent knees, Limo using his hands to keep his balance. 

Sammy invited the mother--a widow with five children, the oldest daughter was at school when we visited the home-- to the Kijabe Clinic with the hope that the doctors would find a way to help this mother and her sons. 

Between our visit and the clinic, Sammy and I talked about the land on the family's property (one of the upsides of living so far outside of town is space!) and what a wonderful farm it could be...providing vegetables for them to eat and/or sell.

So, on the morning of the clinic, Evelyn and her oldest daughter, brought two of the three boys to the clinic. (She could not find an additional adult to help carry the boys to and from the car, so Wilson stayed home with the youngest sister.)

As they wrapped up the visit and moved outside to await their ride home, I talked with the mother for a few minutes before handing her two tins of seeds. I know it's not much, but I am hopeful that, over time, these seeds will grow in to an abundant blessing for Evelyn and her children.

The following Tuesday, the doctor's from the clinic asked Sammy to take them to the home of the boys. She drove out with a Kijabe employee and three visitors, to talk with the mom and take photos of the boys. They are hoping to find a donor that will allow them to give at least one free surgery (to loosen the muscles around their knees) to this family. (I love this picture...they are so cute!)

/// FAMILY #2: Mama Meshack /// 

About a month ago, we met Mama Meshack when we were invited for lunch at Phoebe's house. (Phoebe is the social worker at Precious Kids Center.) Meshack, a neighbor of Phoebe's, was born with Spina Bifida. His parents were able to pay for the surgery to correct his spine, but with little sensation in his legs, it is difficult for him to walk.

Willie was so excited to meet Meshack that he marched right over and sat next to him. (Meshack was a bit frightened by Willie's aggressive greeting, but warmed up to him fairly quickly.)

Sammy invited Mama Meshack (Christine) to the clinic where the doctors said that, with a surgery to loosen the muscles in his ankles, Meshack may be able to learn to walk with crutches. As we walked out and I began my little speech in Swahili, Phoebe stopped me. She said, "Christine is a teacher. You can speak to her in English." (Which was really a gift after fumbling through the last attempt!)

She said she enjoys planting and is looking forward to sowing the seeds. They also live quite far from town, so there is plenty of space available for a farming.

/// Family #3: Mama Bregys ///

I met Mama Bregys at my first Kijabe Clinic last March. Bregys had been smiling at me from across the room, so I went over and shook her hand and introduced myself to her mother, Carolyn. Over the last few clinics, we have chatted more and more (as best we can with my Swahili and her English) and I knew, this time, that I wanted to ask more intentional questions. 

Bregys came over to say hello and, while making small talk, I asked her who had done her hair. When she told me her mother had done it, I knew I had an in! I came to find out that Carolyn has a salon, but does not have the right tools to take it to the next stage of growth. I asked her to write a list of the items that would be most helpful to her and the next day, I went to town to purchase a few combs, a mirror, and a blow dryer for her salon--all of which I'm hoping to deliver next week!

/// FAMILY #4: Mama Do ///

One afternoon, we went out to Bramwel's house to bring him back to the kid's house after a week or so with his family. When we arrived, Mama Bram pulled Sammy aside and told her a story of a young boy, with a club foot, who lives across from them. So, naturally, we went to meet him. 

This is Do and his sister. They are two of seven children being raised by a single mother on a small plot of land outside of town. Mama Do is doing her best to help these kids stay alive and healthy, but struggling to find a job that pays enough to provide for all of their needs.

When we left that afternoon, Sammy and I talked more about it and decided to surprise her with a brand new chicken coop, 4 chickens and a rooster. The coop will be ready for delivery on Saturday! I can't wait to share the photos of the drop-off with you next week!

So, there you have it: four families in one morning! Thanks for hanging in through this long post. There are, obviously, a few updates on these families to come. And even a handful of families I've yet to introduce to you. I can't wait for you to meet them!

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