Some heart warming stories from our work in Kenya
P presented at one of our rural clinics in 2015. At 5 ½ year of age she was unable to walk much more than 10 steps without becoming breathless. Her growth was stunted and she had never attended school because of her illness. She lives with her mother (the family breadwinner earning less than £10 a week on the tea plantation), her father (an amputee), her 4 siblings and her grandfather in very basic accommodation with no electricity or running water. We funded her travel to Nairobi and cardiac diagnostic tests at the Mater Hospital – which specialises in heart conditions in children. She was found to have very complex congenital heart problems – the advanced heart surgery she would need could not be provided in Kenya. After two years of giving what limited support we could and trying to find her help we are delighted to say that the wonderful people at the Chain Of Hope charity carried out specialist open heart surgery at the Madgi Yacoub Heart Foundation in Aswan Egypt, led by Prof Yacoub. We provided medical escort for the flights and an interpreter for her six week stay in Egypt. After successful surgery and recovery she returned home to be reunited with her mother and family just before Christmas 2017. The next step for P is to find a sponsor for her education – she has never attended school because of her illness.
B presented at our first Kisii medical camp in 2012. He is a polio victim. Unable to walk he was living with a stranger who had given him shelter. We were able to find him a place in the Kisii Children’s Home and UK sponsors who have continued to sponsor his accommodation and schooling. In 2014 on our return to Kenya we purchased a wheelchair for him. In 2017 we visited and were delighted to see the perseverance of the staff at the children’s home with his physical therapy and their dedicated care meant he was able to walk unaided with the support of a wall.
Boys A & B
In the 2017 medical camp we had many patients presenting with cataracts with ages ranging from 2 to 92 years old. We were able to fund 50 successful cataract operations at the local regional hospital. One family presented with 2 small boys (under 5 years) both with cataracts. We referred them but noted that their mother also suffered with cataracts – she refused referral however as she wanted her children to be prioritised. On attending the hospital she was treated anyway and received cataract surgery (so we found the funds to pay for her surgery too).
In January 2017 we were presented with a very challenging case. Baby E, a 19 month old girl, weighing just 1Kg was suffering from severe life-threatening malnutrition. Because of the severity of her condition and because we had only 1 week in Kenya we had to act fast. A Facebook appeal was launched from the field in Kenya. The amazing heartfelt generosity of our friends back in the UK meant we raised enough for her hospital admission and treatment. Our visit this year however coincided with a prolonged national doctor’s strike during a dispute with the government. Our only option was to arrange and pay for a bed in a public hospital and a private consultant and nutritionist. Her hospital stay was also much longer than we had expected but she steadily improved, put on weight and was discharged home 8 weeks later.
Children D, V and R
At our first medical camp in 2012 we are asked to help a family in desperate circumstances. 4 children a baby and their mother who was struggling to manage were living in an outhouse provided by a local schoolteacher. We were able to home three of the children at the Kisii children’s home and found sponsors to fund their accommodation and schooling each month since. The oldest boy has thrived at school, academically gifted he has an entry to one of the region’s top secondary schools. Without our intervention and ongoing support they would not have had the same opportunities.
At our 2017 medical camp D a three year old boy with an inguinal hernia attended. We arranged for and funded him to have surgery at the regional general hospital. All went well.
These are just a few individual stories from our work in Western Kenya. There are many more we have helped. Even the smallest help can make a difference – Patchworking Against Poverty.