Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Settling In

The children at the home are settling in with their new families. Yesterday I spent most of the day doing health exams on each child. Some of them will need chest x-rays to rule out the possibility of TB or pneumonia. There are a few with unidentifiable rashes that I definitely need to refer out to an expert. There were a few nasty wounds as well. Most are adjusting really quickly to their new environments. It is amazing how resilient they can be!! One particular girl, Olivia, has been giving her new parents a bit of a challenge. She has a strong spirit and cries at the drop of a hat. Pray that Mike and Dorcas will have wisdom in handling her.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Visit With Jesus

Thursday we were feverishly preparing to receive the first children into the Kipkaren children's Home. I spent much of the day washing windows and hanging mosquito nets. We had a time of discussion and prayer that night. David Tarus (the area director) informed us all that we would be meeting Jesus the next afternoon. He said that if you had never shaken the hand of Jesus you should prepare to do so the next day. Because the Bible says that whatever we do unto the least of these we are doing unto Christ himself.

Throughout the next day you could hear various people saying Jesus is coming! I got a list of the names of the children that morning and spent several hours praying for them by name as I read through their case studies. A caravan of vehicles was sent out to pick up the kids at their current places of residence. As they pulled up to the home with horns honking we all broke out in song. I get chills even as I write this. My eyes were filled with tears as the first 14 orphans left the cars and approached the home. Some of them had never had contact with white people before and were very afraid. Others were so excited they were jumping up and down singing. Several were dressed very well for this special day. And some had nothing but tattered dresses and bare feet. Those of us blessed to be there, were meeting Jesus and given an opportunity to hug him.

One of the little girls was very sick with malaria and had to be carried to the home. She was taken to the clinic for intravenous rehydration shortly after arriving. The children immediately began to settle into their new home. They were introduced to their parents. One of whom is my friend Dorcas. In the afternoon I came back to ask Dorcas how she was doing. She told me that the children were so excited when they saw their room. They asked her how many girls to each bed. When she told them that they could each have their own bed they were shocked and amazed. They proudly showed me their beds and their new toothbrushes.

Monday I will be starting physical exams and growth & development checks. I am excited and a little nervous. At this point we do not know the HIV status of any of these children. They range from age 5 to 10. Eventually we will be getting some as young as 3. Pray that I will have wisdom and sensitivity as I work with these children. Many of them have seen more in their 6 or 7 years than many of us will in a lifetime. Thank you again for your continued prayers and encouragement. I always love to hear from you!

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Mzungu Daktari!!

I am loving being able to put my medical training into practice here in the rural parts of East Africa. I am in fact, a Mzungu Daktari! That means a medical professional with white skin. Let me share with you a little about how I am implementing nursing into day-to-day ministry in Kenya.

The Kipkaren Childrens Home
On Friday the first children will arrive in the Kipkaren Childrens Home. ELI has chosen to not use the word orphanage because they truly want the children to feel that they are a part of a family. I will be helping to provide the medical care for the children. We will be accepting HIV+ children, and that has caused a bit of upset in the government. They are hesitant to approve for these children to live with those who test negative. Pray that God will soften hearts and open doors. I am currently preparing health forms for the physical exams and follow-up visits for the children. I will also help to give a training to the parents on basic health first-aid, HIV, and general child development.

Labuiywet Mobile Health Clinic
Once a month ELI journeys to the nearby village of Labuiywet. This village does not have any medical services available. They set up at a home and begin to see patients and provide HIV testing and counseling. Last week I joined another RN and a nursing assistant at this clinic. It was a wonderful and amazing experience. I treated malaria case after malaria case. It is amazing to me the lack of resources. From past experience I knew that that would be the case, however it seems I never cease to be amazed at how we treat them and send them on their way. So many patients I see here would be hospitalized in the states. We are hoping to up the visits to this area to weekly instead of just monthly.

Chebaiywa Health Clinic
This is the clinic that is partially funded by ELI. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work here several times each week. I am seeing patients and providing primary care alongside two incredible Kenyan nurses. Last week I had two patients who arrived in hypertensive crisis. I was seeing blood pressures of 230/120!! I was able to assume care of these patients and successfully bring them down to a safe range before, you guessed it! sending them home!!! I really hope to have an opportunity to do some education regarding this condition and its treatement.

On Thurs a woman was carried to the clinic and presented to me while my colleague was at lunch. She had a severe case of malaria. I was so thankul for the IV starting skills I have learned through ER work. She was severely dehydrated. We treated her with intravenous fluids, Quinine, SP, Tylenol and then sent her on her way. She left the clinic able to smile and walk on her own. What a blessing to be able to make a tangible difference in someones life!!

Specific Prayer Requests
After a little over a week of settling in I am ready to embark on the adventure of trying to learn Swahili. I must confessed that I am more than a little intimidated by some of the interns living in the village. It seems that they have somehow become close to fluent in under a month!! (ok, that is an exageration but it feels that way!) I am convinced that somehow the language acquisition part of my brain has been switched off. So pray that I will be a fast and studious learner.

Things truly are in high gear at the training center. Pray for energy and enthusiasm as I often pursue three or four projects at a time.

Please pray for my relationships. I am learning so much about the Kenyan culture. I am making many new friends and building relationships with old ones. I was able to spend a day in the kitchen cooking over a fire. I felt like I had stepped into the 1800s in the USA. The Kenyan ladies have been so gracious in welcoming and teaching me.

Continue to pray that Christ will draw me closer and closer to his heart. I want to know my savior on an even deeper level. I want others to see his love in my life every day. Know that you are all in my prayers as well. I would love to hear from home so send me your e-mails with updates!

My Day With the Ladies of the Night

Shortly after my arrival in Kipkaren Kenya I was able to spend a day with a special group of ladies. Empowering Lives International (ELI) has been very involved in HIV and AIDS awareness in this area of the country. They are frequently hosting special campaigns to promote education and awareness. At a recent campaign the area director was approached by a woman. She told him that she is a prostitute and she knows she is HIV positive. She wants to stop spreading the disease and to leave the lifestyle. However, she did not know how else she could support herself and her children.

This provoked the founding of a new ministry which some of the staff are referring to as the Samaritan Womens ministry. Several of the women mentioned that they did not have their own Bibles. On the morning after I arrived in Kenya I was asked to mark passages in a group of Swahili Bibles for these women. As I was finishing the women began to arrive. I looked up and saw a young woman in jeans and a baseball cap. I instantly thought to myself that she should changed or she was going to be confused with a streetwalker. Then I remembered that that is exactly who she is!

We shared a devotional with the women and then washed their feet and gave them pedicures. So far we have seen 5 of them come to Christ. Please join me in praying that these women will find productive ways of supporting their families. Another organization called Heavenly Treasures has been meeting with some of them to develop business proposals and do budgeting. I feel so blessed to be involved in a ministry that is truly putting the word of God into practice on a daily basis.