Many of you know the story of how I got involved with Lodengo, but for those of you who don't, I'll try to briefly bring you up to speed. For many years, their was fighting between the Pokot and the Marakwet (the tribe where Kapsowar is). Pokot borders Marakwet and the Pokot people are herders, typically nomadic. They would often raid nearby Marakwet villages to steal their cattle. Because of this fighting, the Pokot people used to be fearful to come to our hospital, as they would have to travel through areas they had raided to get here. Kyle Jones, one of the other physicians here, traveled to East Pokot to follow up on a little boy he had seen in the hospital. During this visit, many people came to be seen as they had heard a doctor was coming. During that trip, Kyle was able to see the significant need in that area. The people of East Pokot have very little access to basic services, such as water, health care and education. We are their closest hospital, and the trip takes 3 1/2 hours with a good vehicle. They have to walk about 40km to the closest transport or basic health center. Because of this, many of the patients we see at the hospital from this area are very sick by the time they reach us. This is how our mobile clinics started. We began going every 6-8 weeks and would see between 100 and 150 people each time. Each time we came, they asked us to help them with a health center, so that they could have more consistent access to health care.
Through the generosity of many donors as well as resources from the community itself (each family donated goats that were sold to buy the bricks), I am happy to say that the AIC Lodengo Health Centre is nearly complete, along with staff quarters. (See pictures below)
I was so excited to go back to Lodengo and see the clinic building, as it was just in its planning stages when I left in 2011. The people of Lodengo and the surrounding communities are very excited for the clinic to open! Evans, the contractor, happily gave us the grand tour. The building consists of outpatient rooms (including a room for prenatal care and vaccinations), a small lab, a pharmacy, a labor and delivery room (which will have 2 delivery beds), a postpartum ward and female, male and pediatric wards that will each have 5 beds. The solar panels will be going on soon to provide power for the clinic. The staff quarters are beautiful and consist of a duplex with 2 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and bath on each side. We are currently taking applications for staff and our goal is to have staff hired by the end of October. We are hoping for government inspections to occur at the beginning of November so that we can open by early December.
To see the joy on the people's faces as we talked about opening the clinic confirmed to me that this is a needed ministry in this area. It was also exciting to see the local church continuing to expand. The Sunday spent in worship with them was, as always, so encouraging. It was wonderful to see many familiar faces but also many, many new faces.
I was so impressed with the work that has been done in the last 2 years to bring this much-prayed about clinic to reality. Water is still an ongoing pursuit. Currently, they have built an amazing rain-collection system that feeds into a 40,000 liter underground tank as well as several above-ground tanks. Thanks to these tanks, the clinic and staff quarters have running water. Water for the community, however, is still scarce. We are waiting on a survey by an organization that builds sand dams in riverbeds as a water source. This works well in areas like Pokot that have large rains followed by long periods of drought. We are praying that this will finally be the answer for water for the Pokot, as all of our attempts at wells have failed (and we have been told a well is basically impossible).
Please join me in praying for the last details that need to come together for this clinic to open. Pray for wisdom as we hire staff, that they would be able to provide not only quality medical care, but that they would also be committed to spiritually ministering to the patients as well. Please also pray for favor from the government during our inspections. Also, we need partners, initially, to help support the clinic. We will need to pay for medical equipment, medications and staff salaries. This will not be a free clinic, and so we hope that it will eventually become self-sustaining. Until then, though, we need people to partner with us to provide much needed care in Lodengo and the surrounding communities. Would you consider assisting with this? If so, you can find a link on the right where you can donate funds. Please just include my name and Pokot clinic in the memo line of your check.
Thank you to all of you who have prayed for this clinic and for the Pokot people! The Lord is definitely answering prayers!
The front of the staff house
Access to the underground water tank