Joy and sorrow in an IDP camp
Think of primitive camping you might have done once in your life. Living in an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp is like primitive camping that never ends. This is where the Gabra tribe is living – in an IDP camp about a 30 minute drive from Marsabit. They live in very harsh conditions – hot, dirty and with no nearby water source. There are 250 men, women and children who lived in this IDP camp for five years.
The IDP camp
They were pushed away from their land due to tribal clashes in 2005. This is one of the people groups Pastor Hirbo is trying to reach. The only transport he and his church members have to get there to serve these people is by Pastor Hirbo’s motorbike or by walking in the dust for hours. This is the place where Pastor Hirbo told us the people were infected with jiggers.
On Saturday I and David (my son) went early with Pastor Hirbo on a taxi-motorbike and Pastor’s motorbike to set-up in this IDP. our first medical camp. (Not complaining but Pastor’s motorbike has no shocks and could use some other basic repairs such as brakes. The rest of the team would come on the bus after picking up the Kenyan doctor and nurses. Pastor Hirbo, David and I set up medical camp using the signs Amy from our previous team made for us. Registration would be under a tree, prayer in one of the tents of the people, community health under a tree, family planning and VCT outside and the doctors and nurses would be in the “school” made of sticks with a dirt floor. The team soon arrived on the bus. After praying together for God to use us to serve these people we opened the medical camp. At first the people were leary of these white people in blue medical scrubs. But, one by one they came. They registered and the two pastors from Pastor Simon’s ministry who had joined our team prayed for them and shared the gospel with them. They heard how to prevent the illnesses they were suffering from and they tested for HIV/AIDS. Then they saw the doctor – some saw our doctor and some the Kenyan doctor. It was very sad to see the children with Jiggers! The end of their toes were infected by the jiggers. The jiggers kept them awake at night and it was painful for them to walk. We were determined to help these children.
We had learned from searching the internet that the feet and hands that were infected should be soaked for two weeks in a mixture of dettol and water. We had also heard vaseline would smother this parasite and they would die. We found an angel living among these people – Jane. Jane is 21, beautiful and the teacher in the school we were using for the medical camp. She was teaching 28 children who sat crowded in their little school in the dirt – where the jiggers lived! Jane volunteered to take the responsibility of treating the children for the jiggers. We treated two children showing Jane how to wear gloves to protect herself, how to mix the solution and apply the vaseline.
Jane treating a child for jiggers
Linda prayed for the children – for the jiggers to die and for the little toes and fingers to heal. The children were so sad. No smiles like we are used to from the Kenyan children. For me I think I was the most humbled I have ever been as I washed the feet of the first little boy. He sat on a yellow plastic old, dirty oil jug and let me take his swollen feet and wash off the layers of dirt. His feet were hard and calloused. I couldn’t tell what was jiggers and what was dirt. I put his feet and hands in the basin of dettol and water. We had used our water bottles for water as there was no water in the IDP camp. I dried his feet and put Vaseline all over the ends of his toes. I cringed as he placed his feet back in his broken, open toed sandals. I prayed the Vaseline would stop more jiggers from invading his feet.
Jesus said there would be joy in the morning – and there was joy in this camp. A woman came to tell us that a woman had just given birth! We were led to her tent. We ducked down to go through the small opening in the tent. There sitting on a piece of cardboard in the dirt was a woman holding a newborn baby! She handed me the baby all wrapped in a small blanket. She had cleaned the baby but the small infant still had blood on her little hands. One of our team members, Linda, is trained in obstetrics.
Linda with the new born baby
The new born baby
She came to the tent to speak with the mom. The mom delivered the baby alone cutting the cord with a razor blade. Other team members came to see the baby and pray for this new life to know Jesus. The mom is a Muslim but she allowed us to pray for her and the baby. At the end of the day we had treated 201 people and gave 125 nets to protect the children and pregnant women from malaria . We packed up preparing to leave. Many teams members had come to know the people. The people came to the bus as the Temples of Worship sang Remember Me. The women then sang and danced for us. A joyful ending to the day.
Dr. Craig attending to a patient
Pat treating a child
Rob taking blood pressures
TJ helping with the drugs
Praying for a miracle for the children infected by the jiggers and for the newborn born in a tent in an IDP camp in Marsabit, Connie Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry
A cup of water… or jar of vaseline… in His name. wow. way to go, Connie.
Prayed for you. Blessings, Alan