The drought has brought desperate conditions to Marsabit
Marsabit has for many years suffered from drought….but this mission trip we have learned why the cry of the people is so desperate this year. In years past the animals survived the drought but this year the animals have died from the severe drought. The animals that have not died have been taken to Ethiopia by the herders in search of water.
Immediately when we arrived we were taken to a village where hundreds of cattle had died. The people are surviving on the relief food that comes once a month…which isn’t enough food to feed the people.
We have done three days of medical camps in three different locations. We were blessed to have Pastor Hirbo travel with us for all the medical camps.
On Thursday we traveled almost three hours to a village called Kargi. There is only one store and a tiny cafe in this village. We had carried our food as food is scarce there. We treated 250 people. We used our rented Land Cruiser to go to the clusters of manyatta (huts they Iive in) to transport the very sick to see Dr. Vincent and Dr. Joe as some of them were too ill to walk. The main health problem we saw was malnutrition and mature eye cataracts. We transferred two elderly people to the local mission hospital who were emaciated from starvation.
In this area there have been 180 children enrolled in the government nutrition program since April 4. Three babies have died from malnutrition in the last two weeks.
At the end of the medical camp we went to the missionary house where we had hired a local person to cook our dinner. Some of our team slept in a manyatta, some in tents and David slept outside in his sleeping bag.
The next day we drove further interior and held a medical camp in a village without even a store. The people walk to Kargi (20 kilometers!) for shopping and medical care, but here they had a well and animals. What a difference a well makes. We spent time at the well with the chief and the men of the village as they watered their animals. This village isn’t suffering like the other villages we went to.
The last day we went to Parkishon the village where we held a medical camp last year. Nine people from the Redeemed Gospel Church (our partners on this mission) joined us. We were warmly greeted by the people and appreciated. Some of the people including the chief remembered our team from last year. One man sent a note to Dr. Craig sending his greetings. We were especially encouraged as when the people were prayed for this year and ask about salvation they said they were Christians. These are the same people who accepted Christ last year during our medical camp when Pastor Hirbo prayed for them . Our hearts were broken at the condition of the people especially the children. They are sicker and more desperate than last year. We were treating the children for the jiggers when they told us there were children in the manyatta that couldn’t come to the medical camp because they couldn’t walk, their feet were so jigger infected. We took the Land Cruiser to get them. As they brought the children to us and put them in the vehicle we could hardly keep our composure. Not only were their hands and feet jigger infected but they were severely malnourshed and so dirty with rags for clothes barely covering their little frail bodies.
We treated 25 children for jiggers. Some children had severe wounds on their backs caused by intense itching due to massive intestinal worms infestation, We dewormed them and left more medications to the community health workers for repeated therapy. Deworming medication is FREE. It is just getting the medication to the children. Kingsway gives us 1500 tablets every time we do medical camps.
When we finished camp we carried the sickest child back to Marsabit with us. Her name is Yewlanda. She is 3 years old and weighs 14 pounds. She is 40% of the normal weight for her age. She looks like an infant. She is in the final stage of starvation,so frail that she cannot respond to any pain inflicted to her body or even cry. She was admitted to the Marsabit hospital with severe malnutrition and brochopneumonia. Our hearts broke though when we saw the condition of the Marsabit hospital. We knew we couldn’t leave her there. In the hospitals in Kenya you must have someone with the children to feed them and provide all their basic needs. There isn’t anyone to stay with Yewlanda to help her. Pastor Hirbo and his wife have agreed to take her and nurse her back to health. She was already enrolled in the government nutrition program but no one was able to take her to the clinic for her weekly weigh-in so she can receive the Plumpy Nut. Plumpy Nut is a nutritional supplement that saves children who are starving. Pastor Hirbo will take her to the dispensery every week to get it for her. Kacey, Chris and David bought her clothes, diapers, shoes, a cup, a bowl, a spoon and a pink backpack to carry her things. She will live and grow.
The Partners for Care team have all been outstanding in their work. The Temples of Worship played all day for the conference and then in the evening for the revivals. The people including all the pastors loved them. Sammy led the medical team with Dr. Vincent and Dr. Joe, treating over 600 people. Sam and David have captured the desperate situations of the people through photos. We were blessed to have Mark with us from the Lumumba Foundation. Mark served the people passionately especially treating the children with jiggers. Mark will help tell the story in Nairobi.
Mark treating the children for jiggers
Cris and her daughter Kacey have served in the most difficult of conditions without one time complaining or being concerned for themselves. It feels like they have always been a part of Partners for Care. They have cried with us at the condition of the children, laughed together as we hung on in the back of the Land Cruiser as we traveled on the rough roads to the medical camps and together we celebrated the small victories.
We ask ourselves what does God want us to do now? We cannot forget the desperate conditions we have seen, the children we have held and loved. We will give our report to the Ministry of Health in Marsabit. We will share the stories and photos in Nairobi to hopefully bring more relief food to this area. We also want to employ a person to make a weekly visit to Parkishon to take the Plumpy Nut to the children and to treat the jiggers. We want to work with Gospel Redeemed Church to help get shoes for the children to prevent the jiggers from infesting their feet. And….we will pray for the children of Marsabit. This is a place where God is needed to bring rain and save the children.
We are all tired and dirty. The dust here makes everything dirty, nothing is spared from the dust. We leave early this morning for the long bus ride to Isiolo to get our vans and then travel 5 hours to Nairobi. Nairobi will look like a developed city…even Marsabit town looked like a big city after where we have been.
Praying for the children of Marsabit, Connie.
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