Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kenya Medical Mission Final Thoughts

As it began, so it ended. With excitement and gracious giving we finished 5 days of clinics in Kenya seeing 1476 patientsIMG00157-20100827-0908 and completing the training of 17 Health Care workers. And this morning I had breakfast with Pastor Daniel, one of the HCWs we trained and who is the pastor of a community where we have about 200 sponsored children. He affirmed that what we did here this week is God given, and God driven.

I came to Kenya 1 year ago exactly to give a 1 week course to these pastors and teachers that worked with us this week. It was the first part of a 2 week program I developed several years ago to train them to be Health Care workers. To be able to recognize a sick child, start basic treatment, and know when to transfer to an advanced health care facility.. This week was the second week of their training, their “practical” or “skills” training, where they actually worked with us seeing patients and putting into practice what they learned in class. The training was intense. The learning curve steep. The excitement and the commitment of the HCWs solid. The US medical team members (Lara, Melissa, Sarah, Heather, Deanna, Aimee, Anne, Glenda, Stephan, Michael, Kelly, Sue) IMG00151-20100827-0907IMG00153-20100827-0908IMG00154-20100827-0908IMG00155-20100827-0908IMG00156-20100827-0908IMG00158-20100827-0909IMG00160-20100827-0909IMG00162-20100827-0910IMG00163-20100827-0910IMG00165-20100827-0911IMG00150-20100827-0907IMG00170-20100827-0912were instrumental in the success of the program. They worked tirelessly, teaching patiently and  slowly, taking time to explain what the HCWs were seeing. By the end of the week, the HCWs were seeing patients on their own. They also learned how to dispense medications, and to do a nutritional assessment. Last night, we had a graduation dinner and ceremony, handing out their certificates and each received a medical bag filled with medical supplies and medicines that they were now going to use in their projects. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful week.IMG00149-20100827-0837 IMG00190-20100827-2230Pastor Daniel shared with me this morning that he saved a woman’s life a few months ago because  he had learned the Heimlich maneuver last year in the course. He had in turn taught it to his community members, and 2 of  them had used it on family members who were choking on food. Pastor Daniel said that he and the other HCWs stayed up late last night and talked about all that they had learned and did this week. He shared that many of the parents of the children seen this week were touched by the fact that one of their own, their community pastors and teachers, were giving of themselves to help others in ways that were never expected. The patients and parents were comforted by the fact that the hands that were touching them, were hands that were known to them and part of their culture. Pastor Daniel said it finally made sense to him and the other HCWs what I have been sharing with them all this week: the most powerful tool or medicine that they will bring to their patients is themselves. Affirmation given that what we did was blessed and bountiful. The children of MoM are better for it. The villages and the communities are better for it.

What is it that brings us back to countries like Kenya? What is it that brings us to a place of humility in our hearts when we see what we have and what we are blessed with, and how we are sometimes not good stewards of our given gifts? For me it is the realization that all that I have is meaningless unless it is used for a greater purpose. The purpose for which it was given: to serve and to be His light. We did that this week. There is no greater reward than to give and know that it is given freely without need for anything in return. The great irony in it all is that I do so more readily in the countries we go to, than I do in the US. Hypocritical yes. But I am trying to do better, and openly confess my shortcomings. This week, being with the forgotten children and the HCWs have shown me once again, that I am not really all that I make myself out to be. Being humbled is a hard taskmaster and one that I am not very good at, but I am getting more used to it.

So how about you? I trust that the gifts and talents given you are well used and freely given. Look in the mirror with me. Do you see “what” you are, or do you see “who” you are?  You may be surprised. IMG00174-20100827-1032

In all things give thanks,