Man does not live by bread alone
Jesus said man does not live by bread alone. He meant man needs spirituality as well as food. Yesterday, I realized that this also can apply to the fact that man cannot live just with bread but man needs water and that water should be safe water.
I am on mission in Marsabit County – a land and people that has been neglected for years. There are no paved roads in Marsabit town or to the manyattas surrounding the town. Illiteracy is very high and many moms still give birth alone in their tiny houses made of sticks, cow dung and plastic covering. With funds now coming to the counties since devolution (creation of county governments) in Kenya, there are some improvements in all sectors and that is good. But, there is much to do including building an infrastructure, schools, health centers, etc.
We visited Parkishon a small village we have been to many times. It is where we rescued baby Yolanda three years ago. The very good news is they have built a health dispensary right there at Parkishon! We visited the facility and talked with the nurse who works at the facility everyday. The dispensary is fully stocked – equipment, medications, etc. And, they are supplying people with waterguard to make the “mud” water they collect from the nearby dam (big hole that catches rainwater) safe for drinking. The problem is that they put the waterguard in water that is stored in contaminated jerry cans.
The facility has ”plumpy nut ” (a nutritional supplement) for the severely malnourished children. But if they drink contaminated water, the children won’t improve nutritionally. It was sad to hold the little children as they are so frail.
The good thing is this is a perfect place for the water back packs! So we are conducting a demonstration project here with the packs. We will give all 60 households two water packs. Pastor Hirbo will train the community health workers on how to properly use the water packs and give them a stipend for a few months so they can help the women learn how to correctly use the packs.
With all the households receiving healthcare from the center it will be easy to measure the impact nutritionally and on health. We know part of the solution to improved health is hand washing. We learned there is no soap in any of the households – it is too costly for these families who have no means to support themselves. We met with the Minister of Health for Marsabit County and Dr. Kochi, Marsabit County Health Officer to involve them in the demonstration project. They will help secure the waterguard and soap for the women.
Dr. Kochi said if this project works in Parkishon he would want to purchase water packs for other such villages in Marsabit County.
These kinds of changes aren’t easy…but when you hold Yolanda and see the rest of the children, you know it is worth it.
From Marsabit County, Connie Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T