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  • Writer's pictureDavid Moore

The Rendille tribe – the sickest, the poorest – very much the least of these

Both the Americans and the Kenyans thought that the people we treated the last day of our medical mission in Marsabit were the sickest and the poorest people they had ever met. We traveled about an hour on the bus to hold our last medical camp. As the bus approached a small group of houses (manyattas) made from sticks and dung, children started running towards the bus. We got off the bus and the children put up their arms to be carried. We carried those we could and held the hands with the others as we walked to the area where we would set-up the medical camp.

We were given two small buildings to use so registration, prayer/sharing the gospel, community health and family planning would be outside. HIV testing and medical would be held inside. There waiting, were all the people we would be able to treat that day. We gathered for prayers for the people and for strength for the day and opened camp.

The doctors and nurses were saddened at how sick the children were – they had bacteria, fungus and virus infection. Most of the children had all three! And, the children were infected with jiggers! Badly infected. TJ, Linda and Robert set-up a jigger treatment station treating as many as they could.

Mare cutting the toe nails of a child infected with jiggers

T.J. and Linda treating the children infected with jiggers

I normally don’t treat as I leave that more to the Kenyan doctors, nurses and American doctors, nurses we bring. But, I thought we should do something for the children we couldn’t treat because of time. So we gathered them and Pastor Hirbo and Mare gave them deworming medicine. I was assisting. I realized there were at least 15 children with serious scalp fungus. So we set-up a station just for the children infected with fungus. As I held each one and showed Mom how to apply the medicine I saw they also had eye infections, ear infections and of course running noses. We treated as many as we could with as much medicine as we had.

Connie with a sick child

Connie deworming a child

We gave out nets to the pregnant women and the children under five. In the book “When Helping Hurts” it says don’t start with a needs assessment but first start with an asset assessment. Then give the resources to build on the assets. I was reminded of that when the children told Rob “we have a soccer field, but we don’t have a ball”. Rob had the ball – he then played soccer with the children all the time we did the medical camp! Praise God for Rob’s endurance…

I also wanted to tell you Pastor Hirbo and I sat with the chief asking about the life of these Rendille people. They walk 6 hours for water and 6 hours back! Twelve hours a day to get water.

Charles testing the area chief for HIV/Aids

The good news for the day was 60 people gave their life to Christ that day. Pastor Hirbo had asked for a sleeping bag so he can travel to these people and stay with them for days at a time to disciple them. We brought him two sleeping bags and a tent for his ministry outreach to the unreached.

At the end of three days in Marsabit 773 people were treated, 323 tested for HIV/AIDS, 1,403 people signed commitment cards, 250 nets distributed and many people heard the gospel.

We left at 4:30 am Wednesday morning for the long road home to Nairobi. We were blessed to serve God’s people and to help the humble servants Pastor Hirbo, Mare and the other pastors and people who serve as they reach out to the unreached people groups,


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