We had another great day yesterday. We started out from Nyamira in the morning and travelled to just outside of Kisii Town to meet with our friends Evelyne and Wycliffe. Evelyne is a licensed nurse by profession and works in the local hospital. They have both been assisting us for a number of years in connection with medical camps that have been held at the school and, for roughly the last three years, by traveling to the school at least once a quarter to provide basic medical care to the students and staff. In addition to treating any issues that they can and dispensing medications when needed, they assess the students and staff for any bigger concerns and bring those to our attention so that we can seek additional medical assistance.
They recently learned of a program run through a combination of UKAID and the Kenyan Ministry of Health to provide freestanding medical clinics to certain parts of the country. The only two hitches - beyond the bureaucratic ones of licensing and registration - are that you transport it to the site and that you report back to the Ministry of Health on certain family planning statistics. So, we were able to meet them at one of these clinics that has been awarded to them to be placed on site at Hope Educational Centre.
It appears to be basically a modified shipping container-type of structure. It is divided into two rooms - one is a waiting area and the other is an office/examination room. It comes complete with an examination table, a sink, a desk, a locking storage cabinet for medications and some other equipment. While nothing requires power (the device for sterilizing equipment is manual), the program that provides the clinic says that they may be eligible for solar powering units upon application. There are windows and the roof is lifted to allow air to circulate that way, as well.
In short, it looks great and would be an incredible blessing at the school and for the local community (it would be open for all). There are, of course, a number of monetary issues surrounding it. While efforts are underway to find someone here that may be willing to move the clinic for free, if those fall through moving it will cost roughly $300. Once we get it there, the registration and licensing fees will be another $200. Then we have to staff it. A nurse that has recently graduated from school likely would need to be paid about $250 a month, plus an allowance for transportation to Sakwa. If we want to lure Evelyne away from her job at the hospital, it would be something in excess of $500 a month. Then, of course, there is the cost of the medications and supplies. We have asked Evelyne to provide us with an estimate of what that would cost.
After leaving them, we traveled to visit an orphanage that was established during the post-election violence. There are currently 48 children (boys and girls ranging from 4 to high school age) living In a very small facility with Pastor Esther and her family. The children do have separate rooms divided by gender and age, but in many instances they are sleeping three to a single bed with 15 or 18 children in a room. Food expenses are obviously high and conditions are poor. Some of the children have health problems as well, with one currently in the hospital with kidney failure and other serious ailments that cannot be treated because of the lack of funds to pay the medical bills. The children of school age have a 7 kilometer walk to their school each day.
Some supporters of the orphanage have purchased a two-acre plot of land that is not too far from their current site. Right now, it is a field used for growing corn. While they hope to be able to continue to grow crops on some of it, they also have dreams and visions of building a better facility there as an orphanage that also would give them the ability to provide some schooling on site.
Leaving there, we drove back to our hotel in Nyamira. We had a nice dinner and conversation into the evening with Roberta and Robert, talking about our lives, cultures, concerns, etc. It was very pleasant. But, when going to bed, I couldn't help but to think of the obvious - where we are staying would certainly not be considered a luxury hotel by US standards, but it is very nice. We have private rooms and private bathrooms. We have running water (not that we drink it) and beds with mosquito nets. We each have a television in our room. We can walk down the stairs to a restaurant that will prepare meals for us. It is extremely luxurious compared to everywhere else that we are and we have it extremely easy compared to everyone that we are spending time and working with. There are so many needs to be addressed and so many opportunities to help - we just have to stay organized and focused on where we can do the most good and where we are called to make the biggest difference.