Dedication of Maggie’s School This trip to dedicate Maggie’s School almost didn’t happen. Everything was difficult about going to Lodwar – transportion, funding, coordination, etc. But many were determined to go to the Turkana people. Many say the conditions in this area are as bad as it has been for many years – severe water and food shortages. We wanted to use resources wisely so to go without giving food and providing medical help did not seem wise. The Partners for Care team was willing to go it was just a matter of funding. At the last minute some funds were given to allow the team to travel.
After prayers at the apartment, the 24 member team left Nairobi at 10:00 pm Sunday night. We were prepared to help the Turkana people. We had been given 1000 nets from our partner HEART but due to space limitations we could only carry 300. We will send more up to Lodwar on the missionary plane and take some with us to Marsabit. We had medications and 5 VCT counsellors with us. Five staff from the GOA head office were travelling with us to provide micro-finance, finance, and peace and reconcilliation and financial seminars. The Bishop, the Taylor family and Susan Spencer would fly the next day with the member of parliament for the Turkana area who requested to go see Maggis’s school open.
And probably the most important for Turkana people was the special gift of hundreds of bibles in the Turkana language. When Donna Taylor told a friend about Maggie and how she loved the Lord and about the school to be dedicated in her name he wanted the first books the children had to be bibles. He was touched by Maggie and Maggie’s Mom who would build a school in a tribal area for children who have no school. And they will soon be able to read John 3:16 – a desire of the Bishop since he first travelled to this very remote unreached area.
After 23 hours on the bus we arrived in Lodwar Women’s Conference Center where we would stay.. I will spare all discussion of travelling on a bus for 1/2 of the trip on unpaved roads. Sometimes we could barely determine where the road actually was. But God is good and we arrived safely.
The next morning our transport arrived to take us to Aktuman – an open truck. We loaded the blood kits for testing for Aids, medications, the bibles, the music equipment and borrowed chairs as the church has no chairs. All of us sat on the floor of the open bed of the truck and we began the three hour ride to Maggie’s School. There was no complaining from the team . In the morning the Bishop had asked us to look where we saw God. The team looked over the vast desert land seeing God in the beauty of the land, the camels with the young Turkana boy with no home or village in sight. At one point we had to stop and put under the tires of the truck the logs we had brought to help us traverse through the sand.
Arriving at the Akatamun GOA church the Turkana people were waving greeting us. The Bishop, the Taylor family and Susan Spencer had already arrived. The Member of Parliament had also arrived in the Office of the President vehicle.
The ceremony began under the tree where the church first began 5 years ago. The Turkana people danced and sang for us. The Bishop spoke telling of his first trip here in 2004 when God told him to go go to the Turkana people.
I spoke of Maggie and of her mother’s love for her. I gave them Maggie’s poem book translated in Swahilli. I told them Maggie was happy knowing a school was here so the children could learn to read and write. We gave them the 200 exercise books, pencils and rulers we brought them. Then I showed them Maggie’s picture that would hang in the school. The Taylor’s presented the bibles. The Temples of Worship sang Remember Me – the song written by Justus of Partners for Care when he was in Mombasa in a time of despair. Then Justice asked if he could carry the picture to the school as the Bishop and David (my son, Maggie’s cousin) led the Turkana people to the new school. The purple cloth was unvieled so everyone could see the plague that read “In memory of Maggie Elizabeth Macleod – dedicated July 23, 2008” The Bishop and David cut the ribbon on the 2 room school. It is a beautiful school with large rooms. Justius and I hung Maggie’s picture. Maggie was indeed honoured and her mother appreciated by hundreds of the Turkana people.
The medical team then began to see the sick as hundreds lined up and the VCT counsellors began to counsell. There is still much fear and stigma in this area with people saying they would be killed if they had AIDS. The member of parliament publicly testified standing in the bed of the truck. The medical team saw over 100 people before we had to leave as it was getting dark. Mostly they treated for malaria. We were glad we brought 150 nets to this area to be distributed. All the Taylors and susan helped with children and the medical camp.
We returned the three hours to the Center. Only by faith did we make it in the dark with the truck breaking down several times and having to be pushed to start.
The next morning after devotion the GOA leaders did seminars all day and the medical, VCT and music team set up in the Lodwar Church. They treated almost 500 people until we ran out of all the drugs we brought. We taught how to use the nets and distributed 150 nets to babies and pregnant women. We tested 95 people and were shocked to find 19 people positve – the most any VCT counsellor had ever found positive. Some would not even take the referral forms fearing the disease. One pregant women tested positive and Charles convinced her of the need to go for treatment so her baby would not become infected. One 20 year old woman tested positive. She was the first of five wives and her husband wanted to take a 5th wive. She tested positve. All seen were prayed for. And Susan Spencer donate money for food which was distibuted. Thank you Susan for you obedience to God.
Returning to the Center we had a quick supper and at 6:30 pm loaded the bus to travel through the night to Kitale then Nairobi.
The team wants to return to see the children reading. Even in their desperation for food the Turkana people believe and worship. We were blessed to worship with them.
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