Friday, April 22, 2011

A Life-Giving Gift

Greetings on this Good Friday.  I pray that all of you join me today in remembering the sacrifice that Christ made for us in order to give us life.  On this day that we remember the ultimate life-giving gift,
I would like to tell you about an exciting opportunity to provide the life-giving gift of water.
As most of you know, we have been serving the Pokot people in Lodengo through mobile clinics.  The people there are amazingly resilient as they survive in the harshest of circumstances.  One of the most
difficult struggles they face is that of how to obtain water.  East Pokot is a very dry and hot place.  Drought is common.  The people in Lodengo and the surrounding villages have to walk at least 8-10km to
get water and carry it on their backs to their homes.  In times of significant drought (like right now), they have to walk up to 20km to find a water source.  As you can imagine, this is not an easy thing to do.  Often times, then, they get water wherever they can find it - including stagnant puddles.  This leads to significant diarrheal
diseases, especially for children. 
This past Tuesday a geologist went out to Lodengo and found a place a well could be drilled - right near the spot where we want to build a health center!  The drill will be ready next week to begin drilling the well.
The cost of the project is $10,000, which includes a generator and electric pump that will be required to pump the water uphill into a large water tank.  I have agreed to share the cost with another missionary family here, the Jones family.
Would you consider contributing towards the $5000 I need to raise to provide the people of Lodengo and the surrounding communities with access to life-saving water?  Even a small contribution can make a huge difference in the life of a child or a pregnant mother.  I am hoping to have the money raised in the next 2-3 weeks.  Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!  God bless and may you all have a blessed Easter weekend!

If you are interested in contributing to this project, you have 2 options.
1. Mail a check made out to Samaritan's Purse to:
Samaritan’s Purse
Attn: Post-Residency Program
P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607
Please be sure to write "Project Account #003655" in the memo line of
your check.

2. Online donation: go to , type in my
name and follow the directions

Here are some pics from past Pokot trips.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deliveries with a purpose

This past weekend, we headed to Lodengo (in Pokot) again for another clinic and time of encouragement with the people there.  Our times there, while at times difficult (it's very hot, there are a lot of flies, and sleeping is never a good experience) have been some of my best times here.  The people are such an inspiration to me - they persevere in spite of very difficult circumstances, have literally nothing, and truly desire to try and better their lives.  We are so excited about the changes we see going on there and the changes that are to come in the future.
One of the most exciting changes is that this time I was told that the women there are now desiring to deliver in healthcare facilities as opposed to at home.  Previously, nearly 100% of the women in this area were delivering at home with untrained birth attendants.  Because of this, infant mortality rate is extremely high in this area and many women suffer complications of childbirth.  Now that they are hearing stories like Monicah's (see previous blog), they are beginning to realize the importance of receiving prenatal care and delivering with skilled attendants. 
This trip, we brought back a total of 4 patients with us.  Two of the ladies were admitted straight to maternity.  One was past her due date and told me that her water had broken 2 WEEKS AGO.  The other had a complicated pregnancy history and had hemorrhaged after her last delivery.  So, I admitted both of them, and they both had healthy deliveries.  I was thankful they had come with us, especially because the 2nd one again had a postpartum hemorrhage which we were able to control but would have likely killed her had she delivered at home.  Praise the Lord for healthy babies and healthy moms and pray with me that there will be many more stories like this to tell in the future!

Josephine and me with baby Christina!

Pamela and baby Kipchumba

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Karibu Kipchumba! (Welcome Kipchumba)

Yesterday a very special baby was born at our hospital.  In Marakwet culture, a child is given a tribal name which is based on the circumstances of their birth.  There are names for babies born when it's raining, born at night, born in the morning, born at the times when the goats come home, etc.  Boys' names start with "Kip" and girls' names start with "Jep" or "Chep".  "Chumba" means white person, so Kipchumba is a boy who was born when a white person, or visitor, was present.  As you can imagine, over the last almost 2 years, I've delivered many Jepchumbas and Kipchumbas.  However, this one will hold a special place in my heart.
I first met Monicah in September 2010 at one of our mobile clinics to Lodengo, in East Pokot.  She told me her story of how she had lost 2 babies at just 5 months of pregnancy.  She had no living children and was desperate for a child.  When I saw her, she was about 11 weeks pregnant.  The history she gave sounded consistent with cervical insufficiency, a condition where the cervix is not strong enough to hold a pregnancy to term and usually the pregnancy is lost between 16 and 24 weeks.  So, we brought her back to Kapsowar with us and I put in a cerclage - a stitch in the cervix that holds the pregnancy in.  She then went back to Pokot and I prayed that this would be the answer for her.  I saw her each time we returned to Pokot and rejoiced with her that her baby continued to grow and she had no signs of labor.  When she reached 36 weeks, she came back to Kapsowar and I removed the stitch.  I expected that she might deliver soon after that and encouraged her to stay here so she could have a safe delivery.  Nearly all Pokot women deliver at home and because of that have a high neonatal mortality rate.  She stayed here with Mikel (see previous blog posts) and came in Tuesday night in labor.  Wednesday morning she delivered a healthy baby boy - Kipchumba!  Despite no pain relief during labor, she wore a huge smile and gave me a big hug.  You can tell she is completely infatuated with her little one and we are praising the Lord for His blessing in her life.
Thank you to all of you who financially support the ministry here - your generosity helped pay for her initial surgery and for her delivery in a safe environment.  Thank you also to all of you who faithfully pray for me and for my patients here - your prayers are being answered every day.

Me with Monicah and Kipchumba (under all those blankets)

Look at that precious face!