Friday, April 15, 2011


Today I met a little boy who came to Oasis for the first time. Emmanuel walked into the clinic room naked. His clothes were being washed, and he had a rash & open sores all over his body, and a bad cut across his leg that he said was from barbed wire. I got him cleaned up and bandaged and wrapped in a blanket while he waited for his clothes to dry.

Later tonight we went back to Oasis for a movie night with the 25 boys that are staying there so they don't have to stay on the streets. Somehow this little boy wandered in after everyone else, and didn't have a seat, so he ended up on my lap. Emmanuel sat on my lap for the entire movie. Several times he started to fall asleep and I had to catch him from falling forward off my lap. I tried to get him to lay back on my chest but he kept resisting and sitting up straight, only to fall forward again. I think he ate popcorn for the first time; he wasn't sure what to do with it at first.

Finally when the movie was over I asked Laila to translate for me. His story is that his family just moved from a nearby town, and today he couldn't find his mom. He looked all over downtown Kitale for her. I suspect that he was left intentionally. If his mother really wanted to keep track of him or find him, she could have. An older boy from Oasis suggested that he just come with him until they could find his mom.

We asked his age, and he said he didn't know. He looks like he can't be over age 5, but he could be older and just very malnourished and skinny. He looked like a deer in headlights.  He must be so scared. He must be so traumatized. My eyes welled with tears as we tried to get more information out of him. He was stone-faced. I'm heartbroken that a tiny child, no older than 6, has just been abandoned. I know it happens all the time. I know he's not the only one. I know it's not rare where I live. But tonight, this one broke my heart.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


In honor of "One Day Without Shoes" today, our team is trying to raise awareness about jiggers and other diseases that are a result of not owning a pair of shoes. We've created a "Cause" on Facebook that you can join by clicking here: 

Yesterday we did a mobile medical clinic in a nearby slum, and today we did a mobile medical clinic in Kipsongo, about 10 minutes away by car. There are a lot of people in Kipsongo, and they are desperate for medical attention. People came with cases of pneumonia, malaria, chicken pox, worms, and lots and lots of jiggers. Jiggers are sand fleas that get under the skin and lay egg sacks. They have to be removed. If they stay in the skin, they will get worse, spread, and get infected.

When we walked into the clinic, there were a few doctors and nurses who had already been there for a while. They were removing jiggers from the hands and feet of a woman who we were told was 112 years old. She was the sweetest little thing and mostly just sat quiet, but if you watched her face, you could see her wincing with each scalpel and needle against her skin.  After about 2 hours, she was in a lot of pain, so I was able to get her an injection for the pain. I can honestly say that I've never given a shot to a person who is 112 years old. I felt bad. Plus, she was very skinny. The "muscle" that I was shooting was mostly just rough, baggy skin. Hopefully it helped her.

After a few hours of jigger removal and helping with wounds and cuts, in walked Maria. She looked to be about 75, but said she was 53, so we're calling her 65.  I told her that sometimes I lie about my age too. Thankfully she spoke no English so my attempt at insulting humor was lost on her.

Her hands and feet were completely infested with jiggers. I've never seen anything like it. My sweet friend Jade came over as I was washing Maria's hands and asked if I needed help, which I accepted. I was already overwhelmed and I hadn't even started. Usually jiggers are exclusive to the feet. We've seen a few cases in the ankles, elbows, etc, but I've never seen hands like this. I started by cutting her fingernails which probably hadn't been cut in at least 2 or 3 years. Then I started with a scalpel, just getting off dead skin to get to the jiggers. We worked on her hands for about an hour--Jade with her right hand, me with her left. After a while she said she was tired and didn't feel good, then she started to throw up. She had low blood sugar, was very dehydrated, and had tolerated a lot of pain. We probably only got about 1/8th of the jiggers from her hands, and we never even got to her feet. It was time to go.

The thing that was even more disheartening than her jiggers was the fact that she is a widow, and she said that most days she eats nothing. I gave her a half loaf of bread, poured the contents of my water bottle into her mouth little by little, and gave her some money. I fully intend to go back soon to check on her.

Please pray for sweet Maria, and for the countless other people all over the world who don't have access to basic medical care, fingernail clippers, or even food.

This is a link to one of the videos that Jason took today of us working on Maria's hands. It's a little grotesque, but you should watch anyway.

Kipsongo Mobile Medical

Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring. Thanks for praying.

For Him,