Sometimes I wondered why I had come. It was a last minute decision. I missed my kids. I was surrounded by doctors, nurses, dentists, and evangelists who spoke the language way better than I did and who had skills to offer that I could never come close to offering. It was me, a team of 80 Kenyans, and one other American. Sometimes I wondered why I had been invited, but I came, observed, tried to communicate, and helped were I could.
The jobs were never glamorous jobs counting out pills in the pharmacy and helping peel a literal mountain of carrots. But, I was happy to be apart of a team ministering in the remote mountains of Kenya no matter how small the job.
Pokot reminded me of a desert, cactus, camels, and thorns everywhere. But, this desert was a green one with leaves mixed in with the thorns and a muddy river nearby. The people dressed more like the remote Maasi tribes of Kenya—large beaded necklaces, gauged ears, and men and boys in plaid wrap around skirts. Small boys with walking sticks in hand herded scattered flocks of goats. Camels rambled through our makeshift dwellings. It felt at times like a whole other world tucked peacefully in the mountains untouched by the stresses and noise of modern life.
Over 500 people showed up the first day for medical and dental care. Councilors were on hand to provide spiritual help to those who wanted it. Evangelism teams walked miles to talk to people in their homes and were greeted by receptive listeners seeking a relationship with God.
I joined the Sunday school team. We taught the children Bible lessons while they and their parents waited to see a doctor. The first day we had a small group. The second days we were mobbed with children. I still felt more like an observer than an actual teacher as our translator seemed to be doing such an excellent job of teaching the kids that I didn’t want to interrupt her flow.
Bible story time
Then I met Kipilat. I had seen him come in that morning a slender boy on crutches. He was nimble despite only having one leg, but when all the other kids trooped up the hill to hear a Bible story and to play games he shyly stayed behind. I invited him to come join us in the little broken Swahili that I know. He answered me in Pokot and stayed right where he was. I went to get Elizabeth the other American on the team she works with people who need artificial limbs so she sat with Kipilat for awhile and with the help of a translator they talked for awhile. He was still hesitant to join the other kids. Elizabeth told me that many children born without limbs are seen as having been cursed, so they are often afraid to be around other kids their age. Kipilat seemed to have one good friend a little boy around his age who would come and check on him and hang out with him. We finally convinced him to join us. He still sat away from the other kids, but near enough to hear the story. I gave him a pen and some paper to draw, and he seemed to do well as long as he wasn’t getting too much attention.
Elizabeth and Kipilat
Elizabeth has taken it upon herself to help get Kipilat get an artificial leg so that he can walk to school (right now he is attending nursery school even thought he is 12 years old) and have a more normal life. The boy has been living with an uncle so getting the leg paid for is going to take awhile, but the doctors have agreed to do the surgery now and then raise the money to pay for it. The cost of the leg is only $500 and the cost of the surgery is $800. I’ve asked Elizabeth how I can help because this little boy touched my heart. She told me that for those living outside of Kenya money can be given to
AIC-CURE International Children Hospital
Account Number: 7336323
Bank name: Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited
Bank address: PO Box 14403-00800 Nairobi, Kenya
Swift code: BARCKENX
Branch code: 022
and for those in Kenya money can go through a pay bill account or brought in person to Cure Children’s Hospital in Kijabe.
Kipilat and his friend
I am excited to see how God will provide for Kipilat. He is scheduled to come on Thursday to begin preparations for surgery. He is such a sweet boy, and I hope I get to see his face when he takes his first step on his new leg.