Sunday, June 14, 2009

What a Week

This week has certainly been a full one. I feel like I've been on the run since we got back from Nairobi with my old UCLA friend Ann last Sunday. Here is the day-by-day craziness of the week:

Monday was the Children's Home and School memorial service for Kelvin.

Tuesday was the funeral.

Wednesday I was realizing just how far behind I was getting. Wed was also the first day of "The Great Pharmacy Inventory". Has a scary ring to it doesn't it? It turns out that our pharmacy has not had an inventory since 2002. I was asked by the clinic advisory committee to develop a tracking system and then inventory the drugs. Let me give a HUGE thanks to our interns Kayte, and Joanna, as well as my friend Ann. They spent the day counting pills with me.

Thurs was Mother-Baby clinic followed by more fun in the pharmacy. During the clinic hours one of my pregnant friends showed up sick. After doing a history and physical I started her on treatment for malaria.

Friday morning was, you guessed it, more pharmacy inventory!! Only during the pharm inventory I was called into the treatment room to see the daughter of one of William's cousins. The mother had been force-feeding the nine-month-old baby porridge when she aspirated. (Aspiration is a fancy medical term that means the food went into the lungs instead of the stomach.) By the time I was called in to consult on the case the baby had a fever of 104, and was in severe respiratory distress. During the course of her physical exam I could see her rapidly deteriorating and losing consciousness. Being that it was Friday, our ambulance had taken our HIV patients to the local HIV clinic for their appointments. I called the driver and asked him to drive like the devil to get to the clinic and take the baby to the hospital. As we waited for him to arrive I couldn't help but think "This child is dying in front of my eyes!" The most frustrating thing is that we didn't even have oxygen to put her on. I laid my hands over her and asked God for a miracle before she got in the ambulance.

Friday afternoon I went to do a follow-up home visit on the pregnant mom with malaria. That was followed by a huge goodbye service for our intern, Jeremiah, who hosted a soccer camp at our local public school. Several months ago I heard about Jeremiah's interest in doing something with soccer while here. I simply made arrangements with the principle of our local public school to hold an after-school soccer camp. The farewell ceremony was overwhelming as I wound up being one of the guests-of-honor. I was overwhelmed with the many thanks I received for helping to coordinate the camp. It was a reminder to me that even small thoughts and actions can have deep impacts. (Also a humorous reminder of the many hats I wear!)

Friday evening I learned that Chepchumba was stabilized in the ER and had been admitted to the hospital.

Saturday I headed into town for the day with our interns and my friend Ann. We went to the hospital to visit Chepchumba. This was the highlight of the week! She looked one-hundred, no make that one-thousand, times better!!! Thank you father for working a miracle in this little one's body!

Saturday evening we found out that an in-law to William's brother had gotten drunk, fallen in the river and drowned.

That brings us to today. Our church was meeting at a distant location for their quarterly assembly. Not having transportation we stayed home to rest today. And I must say after this week I was in desperate need of some rest and recharging of my personal batteries. Just as I was preparing to start dinner I got a phone call to come assist with a delivery at the clinic. After a few hours of tough labor the baby girl finally came. She had a bit of distress at birth but was doing fine after a few minutes of warming and stimulating.

My heart is full and I'm more than ready to call it a week and head to bed. After all, who knows what tomorrow may hold?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Honor of Kelvin

Yesterday we had the honor of attending Kelvin Kiprotich Busienei's burial. Often times when leaving a burial I feel a deep sadness and heaviness in my heart. But there was something special about this one. As I left I did feel sad, in fact my heart still aches for Bush, Veronica, and Patrick, but I also felt hope. The service began around 10AM and concluded around 5:30PM. There must have been close to a thousand people in attendance.
Part of the crowd

There were moments for tears but there were also moments of laughter as Bush recalled how he wanted his son to grow up to be a lawyer but Kelvin insisted he would be a soldier and would regularly practice his fighting techniques with his brother.

Several speakers reminded the crowd that Kelvin is now rejoicing with the Lord. We were reminded that when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we can be certain we will see him again. One pastor said "I will say pole (I'm sorry) to the family; I will say pole to the school friends; I will say pole to the neighbors; I will say pole to those who worked with the family; but I will NOT say pole to Kelvin. Because I know that Kelvin is not in pain and is happy to be with the Lord."
Bush and Veronica

Kelvin was a part of the Brook of Faith school choir. The remaining choir members took time to sing and dance in honor of his life. At one point David Tarus called out "Everyone dance and celebrate life!". The children moved into the crowd to bring others to the field to join them in dancing. As I saw Kelvin's older brother, Patrick, join the dancing my eyes filled with tears. It was such a bittersweet moment.

Brook of Faith Choir dancing in honor of Kelvin

Patrick in the suit on the right joining the dancers

In our community when someone dies he or she is buried at home. So as mourners arrived at the funeral the grave was being dug. Once the service concludes, the mourners all proceed with the body to the graveside. Everyone then waits for the burial to take place before decorating the grave.

Presentation of flowers to decorate the grave

The grave at the end of the service

Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement for the family and the entire community during this time. Please continue to lift them up as the loss begins to really sink in.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Time to Mourn

Our community is experiencing a time to mourn this weekend. Friday night our dear friends and colleagues John (Bush) and Veronica Businei lost their nine-year-old son Kelvin. Earlier in the week he was treated for malaria but failed to respond. The doctors were unsure of exactly what was wrong with him. He was started on strong antibiotics on Friday. Later that evening he passed away in his father's arms.

Kelvin was in standard two (second grade) at ELI's "Brook of Faith" school. He is survived by his parents, older brother, and over three hundred children who he lived, learned, and played with.

Today Kelvin's body was brought home from the morgue. The Children's Home and Brook of Faith students came together to hold a memorial service for him. Several children shared about how special he was. One girl encouraged his brother, Patrick, to be strong and to know that God loves him and his family.

As I looked into Veronica's eyes my own filled with tears. I held her tightly as we cried together. At the end of the children's service Kelvin's body was transported to his parents home not far from our village. Tomorrow we will gather to say a final goodbye and bury him at his parents' home.

Unfortunately Kelvin was just one of three deaths in our community this week. Tuesday morning William's aunt lost her son in childbirth. We also lost a 28-year-old single mother of two to heart failure. Then just yesterday I received word that one of our colleagues had lost a relative and would be going home to be with her family for a few days.

During times like this it is easy to become overwhelmed. Please join us in praying for our community during this time or mourning. Pray that the Holy Spirit will bring comfort. Pray that some may come to know Christ through these tragedies. Pray for wisdom and strength for our staff as we press on during challenging times.