As we leave Marsabit I want to tell you about the home visits we made with Mare yesterday. What brought us here was her report from her first month as a Partners for Care/GOA social worker in Marsabit. When I read her report a month ago I did not know I would walk with her to see what she was telling me.
The first place Mare took us to was to visit a woman who had seven living children – one deceased. The children were from two husbands who have both died. She had twin girls 10 months old. A seven year old girl carries one of the babies on her back as she cooks in the outside “kitchen”. The house was deplorable with nowhere for children to sit or sleep. The children were dirty and not playing. The mother leaves them alone locked in the house when she goes for firewood to sell. She makes less than a dollar aday.
The immediate concern were the infant twins. They were obviously failure to thrive. Mare tried unsucessfully to convince her to surrender the children. She was not feeding the babies formula. She refused. She would give her older children up but not the babies. We left heavy hearted as we knew the infants were at risk.
We went to discuss with Pastor Hirbo what to do. He was very wise in suggesting they would try to convince her to let us take them to the hospital. We returned later that day and she agreed. We took her and both babies to the district hospital. The nurse weighed the babies – they weighted 4.2 KG and 4.3KG. That is birthweight. The babies do not roll over, sit up and have not cut teeth. Pastor Hirbo and Mare will meet with the children’s officer to discuss the babies. We returned late Sunday night to the hospital and with the mother’s permission Charles tested the babies. They were both negative. Starvation is their medical problem.
The second place we went was to a very, very old man whose daughter died and left seven children. They were double orphans ages 2-12. They were dirty, malnourished and some had fungus and sores. The small mud house they were living in was collasping so some Muslims had given him a tent. The tent was equilavent to a tent we were sleep six. There was nothing in the tent – no pads for sleeping, no clothes for the children – only several dirty blankets. The children didn’t laugh and they don’t want to play with you like most Kenyan children.
The grandfather is willing for them to be moved to a GOA children’s home. In kenya there is a process which includes the children’s officer, the chief and signatures from any available relatives. Pastor Hirbo and Mare will start the process this week. After all our house visits we took the grandfather and the seven children on the bus to the quest house with us and fed them. Charles tested all the children for HIV/AIDs and they were all negative. Praise God at least the children are not sick with AIDS. We fed them all before they went back to their tent.
The third she wanted us to see was a 12 year old boy with AIDS – a double ophan. Plans are to see if he can go to Peat the Drum. That has to be arranged by the Bishop and Pastor John
These are just some of the 125 orphans in Marsabit.. Mare has identified 20 other chiildren at risk.
The Peace Team was very impacked by what they saw. Haneil wanted to give his clothes to a man who told him he had AIDS and needed clothes. Paul wanted to leave all of the remainding drugs. Several team members wanted to stay and most want return to help Pastor Hirbo and Mare. Some of the reasons we want to return include Daniel a 16 year boy who is an orphan, sings in the choir at Pastors’s Hirbo church – he sleeps in the church. Sade – 18 year old sister of Mare, so sweet and special. Ready to go to the university if her parents can send her. She was second in her class and scored B- mare and Pastor who are like people you will never meet anywhere else on the face of this earth.
The Peace Team did great working very hard! Pastor Muturi led with strong direction and guidance and a sense of humor. The team slept in the bus, endured hours of very difficult road travel, three flat tires and working in hot, difficult situations – including under trees and outside in a park and carried drugs and nets on their heads for 1.5 kilometers. They treated 1049 and tested 181 for HiV/AIDS. Worship Saturday night led by Sammy and David was wonderful and the church wants them to return! And the great thing is Haneil has everything on video and pictures including the testing of the babies at the hospital at midnight. He was there early in the morning, late at night and covered all the home visits. And as always Simon kept us safe, never lost his joy and smile even after 8 straight hours off-road travel and he only laughs and jokes when he has three flat tires!
We left Pastor Hirbo money for food to distribute, medications and 700 nets and money for the hospitalization of the babies.. And we left him encouraged that we care and that Pastor Karanja’s church cares. He sent a message to Pastor Karanja – thank you for supporting this mission to Marsabit and we are waiting to greet you in Marsbit.
Blessed to be serving with the Peace Team, Connie
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