Health Center update for Lanet Umoja

S5003412Mercy and her son Samuel

DSC01462Ruth shares a laugh with Mercy

putting baby on backMercy and her friend demonstrate how to carry a child Kenyan style

These photos are from a trip I took to Kenya in 2009 when EC conducted our first set of medical clinics.  The young mother is Mercy.  She was from Kampi Ya Moto, a very dry area where we built The Lord Ranjuera Primary School – our third primary school in 2003.  This school has the highest percentage of orphans and is also the place where the first orphan feeding program was established.  Mercy came and sat with me one afternoon on the school porch while the clinics were wrapping up in side the school.  She was curious about the differences between life in Kenya and life in America, especially when it came to child rearing practices.  She wound up giving me a gift that I still treasure – a small hollowed out gourd used for carrying milk and making yogurt.  Every time I look at it I am reminded of Mercy and her son Samuel and the conversation we shared that day.

That year I had the privilege of bringing several doctors and medical professionals with me to conduct the first set of medical clinics in three different locations.  Our team collaborated with the Kenya Ministry of Health to bring health care to over 1,000 individuals that week.   The following year I brought a second group of medical professionals from the USA to conduct another medical clinic – again in three different locations.  They were able, once again, to see and treat over 1,000 individuals who otherwise would not have had access to medical care.  An AIDS clinic was included in these clinics, allowing men, women and children to be tested for the disease that has taken Africa by storm in the past three decades.   Dr. Carol Vassar, an internist who traveled with us both years called these trips “reconnaissance missions” as they gave us an idea of the level of need in the areas where our medical clinics were held.  As a result, last year Everyone’s Child and the Waterbury Vermont Rotary Club raised close to $10,000.00 to initiate the building of a full-scale Health Center that will serve 28,000 residents of Lanet Umoja.  The clinic will be built next to the preschool and across from the primary and secondary schools that  we built in 1999 and 2010 consecutively.  Construction has begun, but only haltingly as they are only able to build when funds are available.  The initial phase required the building of a latrine that will serve the preschool, a trench (footing), and a fence to protect the children who are frequently on the playground next to the clinic.

Everyone’s Child is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and impoverished children around the world.  Our mission reaches out to children everywhere: to educate where there are no schools, to connect where there is isolation, and to care where there is great need.  Our main focus is education, we believe strongly that an educated child has a better chance at making positive changes in our world than one who is left with no education.   We are no longer actively fundraising for the health clinic, but we still believe strongly in the need for a clinic in this area.  The nearest hospital is 15 miles away, which is not much by American standards, but in Kenya this usually means a trip by matatu (bus) or on foot over very bumpy and often impassable roads.  Chief Francis Kariuki (Chief of Police in Lanet Umoja) owns a car that often doubles as a hearse.  Pregnant women are carried by wheelbarrow to the matatu stage (station), and in many cases people who make it to the hospital spend the entire day in the waiting room before being seen by a health care professional.

We are very much looking forward to the day when the people of Lanet Umoja can walk a short distance from their homes to receive medical assistance.  Our hope that the success will lead to a clinic being built in Kampi Ya Moto as well.

IMG_20151027_112321Building materials for Lanet Umoja Health Center