Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kenya Assessment Trip May 2008

There is always a story, always a happening that stays in one's mind after a trip. Kenya lent many of them. I spent 6 days traveling to the northern part of Kenya to an isolated area called Lokori, which is just south of Lake Turkana, and then traveled south to the small communities of Nahipai and Emarti. My hosts and friends, Hapi and Nicholas were with me the whole time. Hapi is the field project manager for MoM in Kenya and Nicholas is his right arm man.

We began by traveling with MAF. Driving to Lokori would have been a 16+hour drive, usually done in 2 days, and the road is patroled by bandits. Flying took us 1hr and 40 minutes. David, our MAF pilot and I flew up to Lokori and landed on the dirt strip next to the isolated village of Lokori. Truly some bush flying, and again my thanks to MAF and David for allowing me to do some of the flying. We pilots will fly anything anywhere. We were met by our Korean missionary hosts who oversee our MoM children in 6 villages in the area, Sungi and Pastor Daniel.

Lokori is a small village community that has surrounding it 6 smallere remote and isolated villages. We have about 700 MoM children in the villages and access to them is by 4 wheel drive all nito the bush. The Turkana comunity are for the most part herders and their dress is spectacular!

I must emphasize how remote we are. At Pastors Daniel and Sungi house, there is solar panel electricity for about 2 hours at night, water from an outside tank, and modest toilet facilites. But outside of that, there is nothing. And that is where we are going. We traveled south and visited several other areas where we have Mission of Mercy children. Emarti is an isolated village in the bush south of Nairobi, and a water project had just been completed, which we were fortunate enough to dedicate. The local dress is different from the Turkana tribes and we can see the unique differences in the health care of the children. Families live in huts made of mud and dung and are truly small with a small fire always burning inside. The family lives within this isolated area inhaling smoke constantly and for that reason, upper respiratory tract illnesses are commonplace.
On a visit to the local healthcare facilities we came across a unique and extremely progressive rehabilitation center for physically disabled children. There were approximately 70 children who lived there, and were receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, and prosthetic devices that served to improve their lives. We established a relationship with them as Kenya was the first country that I have assessed that had a large number of children with special needs. One of our future efforts will be to establish a special needs program for those children who are part of MoM.
The pictures speak for themselves. We saw many things and witnessed incredible isolation, thirst, hunger, and significant illnesses. The country is beautiful. The people are beautiful. And the children I can assure you will not be forgotten.

In all things give thanks,