Friday, 17 December 2010

PLAYING CATCH UP

WE WISH YOU ALL A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS, HEALTHY NEW YEAR!


THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED LOVE, PRAYER AND SUPPORT!




THE WELL

When we left Kenya the well was very deep and the plan was for the culverts (concrete rings) to be put in place - to line the well.  Shortly after we got home the rainy season set in - the latter rains - and all work had to stop on the well.  We were able to contact the contractor on Monday, Dec. 7, and he has told us the digging in complete, but the well is not finished.  The rainy season is over and work can resume; however, he has been ill - was hospitalized for a month -  and unable to supervise the completion of the work.  Additionally he reported that the culverts that were sent are the wrong ones (not a big surprise - that's Kenya) and he is waiting for the new ones.  They require a month to cure before they can be transported.  He reported that the water is 3 feet from the top of the well.  This is amazing!!!  Here are photos of the digging process.  A man sat on the ground and began digging with a hand tool, like a pick.  He merely dug around himself in a PERFECT CIRCLE, and absolutely straight down.   Mind you - he was not using any kind of measuring device, yet this hole was the right size for the culverts to eventually be inserted - approximately 39.2 inches.  As he got deeper and deeper his partner would lower an old make-shift bucket down by a winch and bring up the dirt and eventually the mud and water. Every couple of days we would go look at the progress.  The hole was so deep and dark that we couldn't see the man down there - we would call out to him and ask if he was there, and he would reply.  The only time we could see him was at high noon when the sun shone down the hole.  After water was hit, before he would enter the well he would have to check for snakes and other small reptiles - they are attracted to the water.  We had enough trouble thinking about those potential snakes without asking just what those small reptiles might be in there.  As the well got deeper it would take them a few hours to winch up all the water so that the man could to down to dig some more.  Additionally, sometimes when digging wells the oxygen level gets very low, so the digger can only be down for a short time.  In some cases there is special equipment to get oxygen down to him - it wasn't necessary with our well.




HE'S HIT WATER
THE "BUCKET"



RETURNING TO KENYA
John will be returning to Kenya on January 11 with Jeremy Bell from Emmanuel Christian Centre in Lichfield, and I will be going to the States.  By the time he gets there the well should be complete - lined and covered with a concrete slab that has a manhole for maintenance purposes.  


FOOTBALLS, BASKETBALLS AND VOLLEYBALLS

Jeremy came with us he brought some unexpected gifts.  Before he left the UK his 18-year-old son, Josh, told his dad that he really should take some footballs (soccer balls) for the kids.  So he bought several, deflated them and packed them, along with a pump.  Boys all over the world love to play football - even in the village the boys know about Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal. (All well-known and highly successful soccer teams for our American friends.)  Needless to say, there are no footballs for the kids in Kadawa.  While there Jeremy and Marty also went shopping in Kisumu for Volleyballs and Basketballs. 

The Sunday school class totals about 180 kids and the secondary school across the road has given permission for the children to meet on the field out in front of it.  So, one Sunday, Jeremy went over while church was being held to give the kids these balls.  You should have heard the squeals, laughter and hollering!!!   It took the boys a split second to form football teams,  and boys and girls to start batting the volleyballs around and tossing the basketballs. What a delightful sight and sound it was.  John and I quickly left the service to go watch and take photos.  The youth leaders quickly appointed one or two youngster with ongoing responsibility to collect the balls after use, and store them in the church.

















THE LAND
The bean crop was recently harvested on the Widows Farm and the maize crop will be harvested the end of December.  Some maize from the previous harvest, which was being stored until the cost of maize went up and was less affordable to the widows, is now being distributed amongst the destitute widows.  They are receiving 3 tins each (a tin is about 1 kilo, or roughly 2 pounds).

       CARETAKER'S HOUSE & STORAGE BARN
       We will soon be starting to lay the foundation for the farm caretaker's home and the
       attached storage barn. We hired an architect and have plans for the home and store.
       The structure will cost approximately $13,500 (£9000); there will likely be a rise in
       the cost of building materials due to inflation. If you want to help us with this next 
       phase of the project you may send contributions to our regular channels.




                                        BLESSINGS & MUCH LOVE!!!!



Monday, 11 October 2010

YOU DON'T PAY - YOU DON'T LEAVE


SURGERY - HOSPITAL EXPERIENCES




You would think that we would realize this by now, but it is nearly impossible to anticipate things that we have never dealt with before.  Even Violet has been taken off guard by the little extras here and there at the hospital (not much - $11.00 for something obscure, or some medicine that we didn't know about).  Transportation is a real issue.  Here are examples of incidentals: Some of the people must ride a matatu, which costs both ways and then they need a lady to go with them to help them through the hospital system and even get them to the bathroom, then she ends up needing to eat (reasonable need) while she's there getting them admitted.  (Just getting them admitted is an all-day affair.) Then we find that they need eye drops for three weeks, then they need to come back to the hospital for a follow-up check (more transportation money) and then need more eye drops for three  more weeks.  Of course there is the need to buy them a dish and cup and spoon so they can eat (not much money).  Anyhow, we have figured an overall average of $100 per patient.   I went with Violet one Thursday to help her get Mary and two widows out of the hospital, and it took hours; a lot of the time was due to being sent to wrong places within the hospital, getting to the right place but it being closed so everyone could go to lunch, then clerks that took forever to fill out a simple form.  No one is discharged until the hospital is paid, so just waiting at the billings office takes forever. When we get to the gate we have to present all of our paper work to prove the bills are paid before they will open for us to leave with the patients.  If the bill isn't paid, you don't leave, and you get charged for each day you are there until you do pay.

You can read the prices for the services in the hospital.  These prices are posted everywhere.  In this case, on the wall in the eye surgery ward.  The prices are in Kenya Shillings which equal approximately 80 KES per 1 US Dollar or 125 KES per 1 Pound Sterling.  For example: the daily bed charge is $2.50 or £1.60

We have done approximately 8 surgeries.  They are all paid for.  There were 19 people, but 26 surgeries altogether (some are in both eyes).  However, we have found that two of them that were admitted couldn't have surgery.  The one has nerve damage in both eyes that can't be corrected - she has been prescribed medicine that is supposed to improve her retinas.  The other is little Mary - this is really a sad and 


frustrating case.  She is the one with a corneal adhesion.  The doctor was really anticipating a simple corrective surgery.  However, after she was admitted and they did further tests they found that it wasn't a congenital problem as they first thought.  Instead she had injured her eye and never received treatment for the injury.  The doctor said that had she received medical treatment her eye could have been healed.  Now it is too late - the damage is permanent.  Her other eye is normal.  You see - a lot of these folks don't even think in terms of doctors and treatment.                                          Chances are good that nothing was done, or maybe there was some folk medicine, or she was taken to a witch doctor.  Yes, this is common practice - even some of the Christians still rely on both systems; i.e. if God doesn't work, we'll try the witch doctor.   


If we were in Kenya for 6 months Marty could see herself spending most of her time doing administrative work/follow-up,  and also grunt work just to make sure that these people were being carefully monitored.  Some of them have never even been in a hospital in their lives, and Lorna had never seen a flush toilet; sit-down type or squatty potty (yes some of those are porcelain and do flush).  So they have a hard time once they are outside of the village.  I don't know, perhaps it is like taking a young Amish person from the farm in very rural Lancaster County and plunking them in New York and expecting them to get themselves around some of the systems.  Then there are issues such as we found out by chance one Sunday. Because of her bad eye sight, then her surgery and being told not to do any hard work - Lorna hasn't been unable to "dig" (plant any maize or vegetables) nor has she been able to get to market to sell rope (which she still managed to make somehow even though she couldn't see, and we suspect some people may have put coins in her money box or whatever she used to keep her money).  So, she had little or no food.  We think a nephew has been helping her a bit.  Well, the Lord kept Marty dreaming about feeding Lorna all Sunday night.  We had some food items in the apartment, but we knew she should have some beans and maize.  So we asked George,  who  lives near the market to get those things for us.  He is one of the leaders in the church. The 3 of us went to her hut, way back in the bush, to give her the food; 8 kg. of maize, 2 kg of beans, 1 kg of sugar, 200 gr of tea and 500 gr of salt.   She was a very happy old lady and was praising God.  Marty didn't tell Lorna that the Lord had been interrupting her sleep all night on her behalf.
The Eye Clinic at the Provincial Hospital

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO LORNA?  
There are some amazing things happening because of Lorna.  This lady is well known in the village and at the market.  Some people have known her for years. They knew her husband, they knew how badly he would beat her and how he would get her up at 3 in the morning and force her out of the house to work.  Just before we left, an old woman who is related to Hesbone asked him "What has happened to Lorna"?  Her transformation is so very apparent that people are talking about it in the village and want to know what took place that changed her so?  

FUNDING FOR THE EYE CLINIC EXPENSES
Violet continues to see that the cataract patients get to the hospital every other Wednesday.  Funds are coming in to pay for the operations, and all of the attending expenses, as well as for glasses for those that the doctor prescribed them.  It looks like we may even have a good financial start for another eye clinic next year. Several people in the village have asked if we are going to have another one. Thank you so very much to all of you who have contributed.  We believe that this has been the most important and rewarding project that we have been involved in.  It is hard to express our feelings in seeing people regain their sight and hear their testimonies.  We wish it could be shared with you.  Perhaps we can figure out a way to do that.  With all the modern technology we just need to be given some thoughts and direction.  Perhaps we can video something and put it on YouTube.  Any suggestions???

BACK FROM KENYA
We have returned to the UK and we are taking care of some medical appointments prior to returning to the US for the next "download" of the little computer (defibrillator) that the doctors have put in John's chest as a back up in case his heart should ever give him problems.  By next year he should have a hand-held device that will communicate/download the data that the doctors need via satellite - from anywhere in the world that we may be.  Amazing!!

We have pretty much developed our routine for going through security at airports.  John has a card that explains the defibrillator in his body and the security personnel take him around the security scanner and then do a body search, being very careful not to hurt him.  Except, of course, at the International Airport in Nairobi - Kenya's largest airport.  There they just unplug the scanning machine for him to walk through and then plug it back in once he has passed - then they search him.  Meanwhile in each airport Marty has to see that his carry-on luggage, coat, belt, shoes, laptop, loose change and camcorder get through - along with all of her things.  Then she has to get them all put together (more or less) and get the things off the conveyer belt so as not to hold up all the other passengers.  Grace, grace!!
  
John celebrated his 70th Birthday just after we got home; we had a lovely meal with his three children and daughter-in-law.  A good time was had by all!

Blessings, Grace and Peace,

John and Marty






Monday, 20 September 2010

PREPARING THE GROUND AND PLANTING THE MAIZE


On Monday, the 6th of September and Wednesday the 8th the 1 1/4 acres of ploughed ground was prepared and planted.  What a party!!  When we arrived on Monday, about noon - couldn't get there any sooner due to transportation issues - we found about 41 widows (one or two actually married folks) sitting in Marty's Prayer Chapel finishing their chai and bread!  These women had come from all over the village and from several miles away in other areas to voluntarily work on the Widows Farm for their destitute sisters.  Actually there were a few of the very old destitute widows amongst them (they were there for encouragement and to take care of babies).  There was a man there - Joel - who was helping to oversee the project.  The women had spent the morning, from about 8 AM, tilling the soil to prepare it for planting of the maize on Wednesday.  What a wonderful way to use that clump of Bondo Trees for the very first time.  Charles, is the man who has been working so hard to clear the land of brush and weeds and ant hills, and digging ditches to control rainfall (to keep the ground from eroding and use the rain in the ditches to irrigate the crops by osmosis).  He has cleared out the saplings and bushes that Marty wanted removed from the Bondo grove in order to make the area into a place where she can go to have quiet times and to have small groups of women over to pray and also have meetings.  It is developing quite nicely, and when we arrived and saw how the women automatically went into it for shade and rest; we were delighted  to see how it drew people to itself, and served an additional purpose from the original intention.




No sooner did we get there than it began to rain.  So they all got up an filed back to the church for shelter.  When we got there we both told them, through a lovely lady who was interpreting for us, how wonderful they were to have spent the morning working so hard to see to it that the destitute widows - their sisters - would have food.  John told them all that he thought they were so wonderful that if he wasn't married he would marry all of them!  (Many giggles!)  Of course Marty informed them all that he is "the husband of one wife" (more laughter).  Now John has a long established history that has taught him not to try to make jokes in another culture.  Yet, he still sometimes doesn't heed the little red flag that warns him.  So, since his little jest went down so well, he went for another joke.  He told them that he was going to buy a leso for Joel for the next time he worked with them. Note: A leso is a colourful piece of fabric, about 1X1.5 meters, that every village woman owns and uses for many different things.  It is used to wrap around oneself to keep your skirt clean, to sit on, to wrap thing in to put on your head, to carry a baby, as a fan, to wipe perspiration off yourself, to protect yourself from the sun and sometimes rain, etc.  They always have a proverb printed on them in Kiswahili - usually mentioning God.  Well, there was much cheering, ululating and laughter!!  Marty told John that his joke really went over big!  He was quite pleased with himself!!!  We did a whole lot of singing and dancing with them. (It takes very little to get villagers from the church to sing and dance.)  A little bit later when we were making the plans for Wednesday - the day for planting the maize - Irene, our interpreter, asked when we would be bringing the lesos.  Marty asked her to say it again to be certain she heard her correctly .... she had!  What with his accent and the communication gap, instead of hearing him say "I will buy Joel a leso", she heard "I will buy you all a leso!)  THAT'S why there was so much joyous reaction!!  Then the leaders made a list of all the ladies that worked that day and added a few who had worked originally on the first crop but weren't there that day.All in all there were 47!  When Marty told them that there was no way to have them by Wednesday because they would all need to be hemmed (on the ends), they said that they would be willing to wait to get them after church on Sunday.  So, the next day Marty went to market in the village, and with the help of , an interpreter and also a seamstress, went to every vendor who sold lesos and bought up all that were in the market.  Then on Sunday, after church, we used the list, called names and handed out the leso that was on top to the name that was called.
The day they planted the corn we both wanted to help.  John kept up quite well for a couple of rows.  Marty wasn't as adept - they kept saying hurry up, faster, faster.  Then one of the younger women gave me a  leso and told me to go sit under the bushes with the old widows and hold babies.  Marty protested that she wanted to work and the woman very gently explained that holding babies was her work.  Do you want to know something?  Those women are STRONG - they just kept going and going - determined to finish that day.  By the following Wednesday the maize was beginning to germinate and on the 20th. the women gathered  again to plant beans along side of the maize.  The maize stalks will act as bean poles, and the beans plants will restore nitrogen to the soil.  A good time was had by all.  We gave Joel a leso for his wife, since he couldn't wear one himself!
Marty Was Relegated to Hold Babies with These Grandmothers
It was a pleasant and much cooler job!






This is How it is Always Done















Be Blessed - Every one of you!

       John and Marty


                                                                              








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Thursday, 9 September 2010

THREE SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS











Lorna with head covered 
Wednesday morning, Sept. 1, three of the old widows - Lorna, Peres and Catherine - went into hospital for cataract surgery.  We had 4, but one got sick and couldn't make it.  They are in the Provincial Hospital and once again we have come upon something that we just wouldn't even think about - in our wildest imagination - in terms of culture.  We had some extra expenses that morning.  Violet, the pastor's wife, had to stop and get Lorna some slippers (flip-flops).  Lorna was barefoot - she doesn't own any shoes.  Violet didn't want her to have to walk to the bathroom in bare feet. (Hesbone said he has never seen Lorna with shoes.) Also, Violet had to buy 3 cups, 3 plates and 3 spoons so that the ladies could eat. One "younger" widow went along to help Violet and the ladies.  She had to take them to the toilet several times.  Most likely these women were very nervous and probably had never been to a hospital before.  They couldn't see to get to the toilet by themselves.  Lorna had to cover her head and just look out of a hole because the light hurt her eyes so badly.  Here is her photo with the patch just after surgery and then the one the day she went home.
We did incur some extra expenses - as happens. There were some added medicines and also other hospital fees that hadn't been factored in.

Two extra bonuses are:1. that the doctor assigned to the clinic is actually from Kadawa; 2. There is a one-year waiting list for cataract and other eye surgery- these surgeries are being done immediately.  Praise the Lord!







                                                   

On Friday, Sept. 3, we went to get the widows from the hospital after having their cataract surgery.  What happy ladies they are.  Marty cried a whole lot (again).  When we came in and the one old dear saw us she just hugged Marty and kept saying over and over "Erokamano, erokamano, erokamano....." (Thank you, thank you, thank you....)  As we said,  all had to be helped to the bathroom when they got there on Wed.  But while we were there today, Old Lorna got up, took her stick, and walked herself to the bathroom.  She thanked God and thanked us.  Although she has two cataracts the doctor won't operate on the other eye.  She was greatly abused by her husband, and it seems that he must have blinded her in the other eye.  So the restoration of her sight is ever so precious to her.  John stood next to Hesbone and had him ask Lorna if she could see which one was the "mzungu" (white man). (Lorna only speaks Luo.)  She said, of course she could.  She pointed to Hesbone and said you're the black man and then to John and said you're the white man!  Then we all had a good laugh, including Lorna!  We took her photo and it is the very first time we've ever seen her smile.  Other than when she came to get a new dress last year, we have only seen Lorna in church once – and then she introduced herself to the congregation as a visitor (as they do).  Well, today she said she can hardly wait for Sunday so she can go to church.  We are pretty certain that she will tell the whole church what the Lord has done for her.   Lorna is in her 80s.  She may die soon.  But she will die with much more dignity and she will die seeing once again. When I asked Peres if she was afraid before the surgery she said - no, not at all.  She said that she knew that only God could have put it on our hearts and minds to think about the widows and to have an eye clinic.  She said that since she knew He did that she also knew He was making this operation possible and was there with her - therefore, she wasn't the least bit afraid. It was a wonderful event!  We never did see them leave.  It isn't easy getting someone out of a hospital here.  They don't move anyplace until every shilling is paid.  They kept having Violet running all over the grounds.  She had to go get prescriptions, then had to have them filled, then had to get medical summaries from the doctor.  While waiting for all of this, the ladies got all ready to leave and were perched on their beds.  After a bit a nurse or orderly came in and told us that the old ladies said they didn't want to go home until they had had their meal.  (You see, they have so little to eat at home, and also it is a wonderful treat for them to have food prepared and served to them.)  So we all had a laugh over that and John and I left with Hesbone - leaving Violet to deal with it all.  We got another call later that there were some other expenses that hadn't be communicated to us and we had to work that out.  We will make arrangements for next week to have little Mary's eye repaired - she has a corneal adhesion.  Some of the people will only required prescription eye glasses.  We have realized that some of the children will be able to improve their school work because they couldn't see well to learn and do their work.  One little boy came to town with his dad - one of the pastors at RCC - to have further examination and get a prescription for glasses.  It may have been the first time, or surely was one of the few times he has ever been to town and you could tell that he was a bit afraid (although he wasn't about to show it).


Next week little Mary will receive surgery for a congenital corneal adhesion; the doctor said that we got her just in time - if she went past this year she would be blind for life in her one eye.  We will also do Dancan who has never been to school because of his eye condition - he's 11 years old.  In addition we plan two or three more cataract surgeries for widows.
Catherine
The news is spreading fast about the ladies and people are approaching Hesbone asking for another eye clinic.  We won't be holding one for awhile - not until we have raised enough funds to pay for the rest of the operations.  

NO WAY!  I'M NOT DIGGING THAT HOLE!!
Here is another cultural gem!  Hesbone was telling us of the great difficulties one of the ladies had in building a new house in the village.  She is a widow!  She is a retired nurse and has lived in town for many years, but she wanted a house on her land in the village.  She had all of the materials, but couldn't get anyone to do it.  Here is why:  since she is a widow, and hasn't been inherited, whoever digs the first hole to put in an upright pole to build her house becomes her husband!!!  So not one man would be the first to start building her house.  She was desperate and went to Hesbone, as her pastor, and told him of her plight.  He made the arrangements for the "fundis" (skilled workers) to go to the site. Then he told them she needed her house and he was going to confront and deal with this cultural issue himself - he then dug the first hole!  He let them know that she isn't his wife and he hasn't inherited her.  Once the  hole was dug, the men got on with it and built her house.  That was the end of the whole thing!
We will be building another widow's house this week - it appears there will be no issue about digging the first hole (hopefully)!


Be Blessed,


John & Marty

Friday, 27 August 2010

WE HELD AN EYE CLINIC


120 PEOPLE SEEN
There are things here that make Marty cry a lot on occasion.  Wednesday, 25 August, was one of those occasions.  
We were given £292 to be used for medical purposes and and additional $100 from a nurse for what we saw fit.  Last year we became aware of some serious eye afflictions in the village and decided that we would use these funds for an eye clinic to treat as many as we could.  So - Hesbone arranged for two eye specialists (one a surgeon) and a medical secretary/assistant, plus a retired nurse who is a member of the church to set up a clinic in RCC - the church.  The two professionals were paid a nominal fee.  We also purchased medicine that was dispensed on the spot.  THIS WAS THE FIRST EYE CLINIC EVER HELD IN THE VILLAGE.  The clinic was to be held for three hours, but went longer so that everyone of the 120 people could be seen.  At the end of the day 73 people were treated for various infections - one little boy had such a serious infection in his eyes that puss was coming from them.  Medication will heal them.  Nineteen will receive surgery - 14 of them cataracts - including an 11-year-old boy (some both eyes), several with foreign objects to be removed and one little eight-year-old girl, Mary, with a corneal adhesion.  As it turns out, if surgery isn't done while she is still eight, the damage will be permanent and she will be blind in that eye.  The surgery is very simple.  Thanks to supporters this little girls life will changed and she will have normal eye sight.  Lorna - a widow in her 80s - is seriously visually impaired.  She walked to the clinic - the light hurts her eyes so badly that she drapes a cloth over her head to let in as little light as possible.  The doctor said he doesn't know how she could see to get there.  He said that a simple operation to remove severe cataracts will restore her sight.  We hope to be here when she has the surgery so we can see her face when they remove the bandages and she can see.  The equipment was not what we in the West are accustomed to seeing, and the eye-chart test was simple - sometimes  not needed as the technician would hold up one or two fingers in front of a person with serious visual impairment to see if they were able to even see that well, other times because the patient didn't know the alphabet.


What Letter is This? 
How Many Fingers?
Lenses and Testing Glasses
                                                 

Twenty-eight people had eye examinations.  It was delightful to see the expressions on some when they were having their refraction done; the "glasses" were put on them with a set of interchangeable lenses in them and a newspaper was given them to read.  Now for the amazing news!  The surgeon happens to have been born in this village and was touched by the patients' situations.  If we can provide transportation and pay the hospital fees, he will perform all of the surgeries at no cost.  He can do batches of five per week.  We need to make appointments at the Provincial Hospital and the waiting list is about one month.  

Cataract Surgery -  Costs include:  Lens  1000 KES  
                                                Theatre (Operating Room)1500 KES
                                                                                 Hospital bed  600KES
A total cost of 4000KES would cover an operation for one eye plus transport of 200 KES (£35 or $52)
Foreign Body Removal -  400 KES plus 200 KES for transport - (Approximately £6.50 or $10)
Mary and Dr. Richard
Corneal Adhesion -  2000 KES (£17 or $25)
We do not have sufficient funding for all of the surgeries.  However, we are scheduling the first five immediately and hope that we will see little Mary, and Lorna taken care of before we leave at the end of September.  We believe we are to move ahead with all of the surgeries and trust for the finances to pay for them.  Follow-up care and transportation will also be organized.  

THAT'S THE WAY LIFE IS!
It is nearly impossible for us to wrap our heads around the fact that people have these kinds of maladies and they aren't treated.  We have talked with Hesbone about it and he has explained it the best he can.  But it is just mind-boggling to know that a person who is virtually blind, and has lived that way for years, can have sight restored: "Yes, Lorna can see with a simple cataract operation" per Dr. Richard - because that is the way life is; and to know that children with serious eye infections suffer so badly because that is just the way life is.  The vast majority of the people seen at the clinic can not afford the medicine, the cost of the surgery or even the cost of transportation into town.  Some of the older ones don't have the simple skills or the physical ability to even get on and ride public transportation, let alone know how to get where they are going.  For many village people if you get sick you suffer until it goes away, or you live with it, or you die.  It is that simple!  It isn't fatalistic - it is normal life!  THAT IS JUST HARD TO GRASP - ISN'T IT?

TRANSFORMING A COMMUNITY ONE PERSON AT A TIME!
"Why bother?"  You may ask that question.  "There are so many of them!" you may say.  We believe that clinic was in the right place at the right time.  The Lord showed that He wanted to do this and we made ourselves available to Him to do it through all of you and through us.  Lorna will end her life with more dignity than she has known for decades (due to her abusive background and loss of all of her children).  Mary will not be blind in one eye and will have a greater opportunity to fulfill her destiny; had she not been seen right now it would have been too late to save her eye.  She has the opportunity for completing her education and, who knows, perhaps becoming an eye surgeon like Dr. Richard and return to her community to do what he has done. This was a designated time specifically for Mary.  A boy's mother will not have to helplessly watch her son suffer terribly because now he has received a small bottle of eye drops.  A few widows a year get a new "house" - some would have been dead by now had they not (one that we didn't get to visit last year did die).  Many have disease-free water available to them for the first time ever.  No!  The numbers aren't large, but we hear over and over again that people know it is God that has made these things possible.  They are changing from year to year because of what He is doing in their lives; either, directly or indirectly.  People are being restored and transformed physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  We see women who were hopeless only last year, now laughing and actively involved in helping other women who are in hopelessness.  We hear testimony after testimony from people wherever we go in this village and the area.  Hundreds of lives are being touch in some way - literally.  The Lord cared for John - one person, and he cared for Marty - one person.  He invaded our lives and poured Himself and His love into us in every area of our lives.  He does it one person at a time; so are we and so will we - so are you and so can you.  ONE PERSON AT A TIME!
Cataract
The handkerchief is to absorb the secretions, he isn't crying.









Wednesday, 18 August 2010

THE FARM

 The Next Crop(s)
PLOWING FOR THE 2ND. CROP
On  Monday, 9 August, 1 ¼ acres was plowed (ploughed)* on the Widows Farm for the second crop of the year.  The stalks and husks from the recent harvest were plowed (ploughed)* under to contribute to the nutrition of the soil.  Next week the second plowing will happen, with a crop of maize to be planted shortly thereafter.  There will probably be beans planted in the furrows between the maize; that way there will be a double crop to distribute to the widows.

In Kenya there are two crops a year.  One is watered by “the former rains” and one by “the latter rains”.  There are two rainy seasons, one long one and one short one.  Many people depend upon these rains for sustenance – if there is drought, the crops don’t grow and the people go hungry.  The first crop is harvested in July, the second in December.

We will also be planting sweet potatoes - this is another favourite staple crop.  Food like beans, maize, sweet potatoes are great fillers for the stomach - besides tasting really good.  Casaba is also grown and mixed with other food to stretch it (by itself it doesn't taste so great).
* plowed - American English; ploughed - English English




 Bananas - Jeremy, our friend from the UK who was here with us for two weeks, spoke to the folks at Emmanuel Christian Centre (ECC) about the fact that for £2 ($3)a banana bush (they are bushes, not trees) can be planted to help feed a widow.  After church that day a little nine year old boy, named Chris, went up to John and gave him £2, saying he wanted to plant a banana bush for an old widow.  We told him that we would plant a banana bush for him and take a photo to send back. When we            inquired about the boy we found out that he isn’t from any family in the church, but comes to church with a friend. We have been given several pounds from people at ECC toward the start of the banana plantation, and Jeremy planted a bush for Chris and one for the church to begin the plantation.  We plan to plant about 50.  Another interesting fact about bananas is that they aren’t seasonal; the bush will produce continually.  Bananas will be given to the widows and any access will be sold on their behalf and the money used for various needs.     



Above, Jeremy plants the sucker root in a mixture of dirt, cow dung, chicken manure and DROPPINGS FROM MIX (of Mega & Mix fame).  The sticks have the various names of contributors to the banana plantation - including Chris'.  John holds the promise of the future fruit that these specially developed hybrid plants will produce.

SHALLOW WELL -  We had a geologist out to the land to determine where to dig a shallow well for irrigation purposes.  There is ample water not far down, and a well can be hand-dug; a small pump and portable generator will be used to get the water to a holding tank. It isn't drinking water and therefore the well doesn't need to be a deep-drilled borehole. We are getting estimates for the well project now.  

WILD ANIMAL STORIES - The next blog will share some stories about wold animals here in Kadawa and surrounding area.  We didn't know there WERE any.

Blessings, Grace & Peace

Thursday, 12 August 2010

REALLY GOOD GOAT STORIES & DEATH-DEFYING TUK TUK RIDE!! (JUST KIDDING)



MEGA and MIX
Now about Mega & Mix – the first two goats ever bought and given away.  In 2008 Mega Mix, the Sunday school class at Emmanuel Christian Centre (ECC) in Lichfield, England, decided they wanted to help us in our ministry in Kadawa.  For one week they got money in various ways.  Some fasted a meal and asked their parents for the money it cost for their meal, others did chores, some gave their allowance.  We took the money with us and asked the Lord to show us what to do with it.  That was when we first found out that a child could earn money from raising a goat – breeding it, selling the milk and offspring – and using the money for school fees, uniforms and books.  Primary education is free, but they can’t go to school without those items.  The first two goats went to boys who are not orphans, but whose families struggle to send their children to school.  We added a few pounds (dollars) to what we received from the children, bought two goats and gave them to Meshach & David.  We named them Mega and Mix.

                        John, Mega and Mix
Before we came to Kenya this time Mega Mix asked us about the goats and we told them we would find out.  So last week we stopped by Meshach’s house to see Mega.  Much to our surprised delight there she was with twin babies – a male and female.  Meshach’s parents had named one of the goats one day.  Later they went out and when they returned Meshach informed them he had renamed it John and named the other Marty!  We haven't seen Mix yet, but David's father tells us she is doing very well indeed. 






       

John and Marty - Again                                       And – we went to Korwenje on Tuesday, the tenth.  When we arrived the cell group greeted 
Mama, John and Marty
us outside with singing and dancing.  As we followed them to the house they went past it into the back garden.  We thought it would be too hot to meet outside and wondered why we were going there.  Well -there was a goat there and the bush behind the goat began to move around a lot and out of it came a woman with two of the smallest little goats you can imagine.  The mother goat was one that we gave to a widow for her son last October and it recently had twins.  The little girl one isn’t any larger than the screen of an average size laptop (that tall and that long).  They are soooooo cute!  Once again there is a set of twins named John & Marty.  What a lovely surprise!.  “They shall still bring forth fruit in their old age.”  Ps. 92:14  J  

One friend back in the US says that these sets of twins are prophetic of the multiplication of and fruit of our ministry here in Kenya.  We like that and accept that as fact!


We are going to buy a "good" what the folks here call "he-goat" for breeding purposes.  Hesbone is trying to develop a special breed of goat that will be highly sought after, and a "good" he-goat will facilitate that process.  Therefore,  the goats we give the children can benefit from this service, and the general public will pay a very good price for stud service for this “good” billy-goat and also when the offspring are taken to market they will fetch a higher price. We are thinking of giving it to the youth group at the church to raise.  They have a patch of farm ground on the church property and are being given agricultural and horticultural training.  We think that it would be a good micro-finance project for them.  We are in the planning stages of how the stud fees would be used in ways other than what will be needed to feed and shelter the billy-goat.  

TUK TUK VIDEO
Jeremy stays at a different area of the town from us.  He doesn’t live far from a good grocery store/ mall.  He is a seasoned traveler and regularly takes a tuk tuk ( a small, three-wheeled vehicle – not uncommonly run by a pulley lawn mower motor) to the store.  One must go on a very bumpy, busy main road, past a vast market to get there.  Once again, Jeremy has provided entertainment by filming his journey by tuk tuk to the Tuskys market on his mobile phone.  When we saw it we nearly burst with laughter.  It is so accurate!  You will surely enjoy this it; it can be found on You Tube at:

A Typical Tuk Tuk






If you watch along the way you will see different vendors - including the coffin manufacturers.  This is where one goes to buy one's coffin.  Grave markers can also be found in the market along this road.

Will tell you more in a couple of days. Jeremy planted the first banana bushes yesterday - photos will follow.

Mosquito nets will be purchased soon.

MANY RICH BLESSINGS!!

John and Marty




Friday, 6 August 2010

THE FARM


The mountain view and ridge view from where the house will eventually be on the Widows Farm. A river runs at the base of the ridge.

Our First Visit Since Returning
We couldn't get to the Widows Farm to visit until Tuesday, the 3rd. When we got there we were able to see the fence and what the land looks like cleared of weeds and ant hills. Charles, who has been doing the clearing of all these things - including the ant hills - was in Marty's "prayer chapel" clearing it out for her. It will be a really wonderful place of solitude to which to go or have groups of ladies over for meetings in the out-of-doors. When we go to church this coming Sunday it should have been cleared of all the saplings in the middle, and perhaps the floor will have been leveled. John has also asked Charles to make a nice path from the fence entrance to the site.

Here is the circle of trees from the outside and the inside - prior to the saplings being removed.
Jeremy and Marty stood out on the land and were looking at the ridge in front of where the house will eventually be built and the mountain over to the left in the distance. A wonderful soft breeze began to blow and both had the sense of the gentle breath of God wafting across the land and all around them and also became aware of how very peaceful it was there. John commented on the same thing. It is a lovely place!

THE NEXT CROP
Great news today! On Tuesday next, the field will be plowed for the second crop of maize. All of the stalks left from the recent harvest will be plowed under to enrich the soil. It will receive a second plowing in another two weeks from the first and then in a week or so the next crop of maize will be sown, and probably beans in between the rows. Maize and beans are the staple crops for the village people.

TRIP TO MAGWAR
Magwar is about 7 kilometers away from Kadawa. Originally people from there walked those 7 kilometers to church and back every Sunday, and the ladies also did so on Wednesdays for the women's meetings. Now Restoration Community Church (RCC) has a daughter church planted in Magwar and there are just short of 100 adults and about 40 children attending from the surrounding area - including a neighbouring village of the Luhya tribe. The church is about 18 months old. One member has donated land and they are now making and buying bricks - a few at a time - to build a church. Two big trees will soon be felled to make posts for a fence around the property.

John, Marty, Jeremy and Hesbone went there on Thursday to visit and pray for Dorcas, one of the destitute widows, and visit Mary, one of the founding members and cell leaders. The road to Magwar is very bad and at one particularly rough spot Jeremy and John had to get out of the car to lighten it so that Hesbone could navigate over the rocks and ditches. Jeremy took a video of it and it is posted on You Tube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcTvb6Vtxng
The video is a hoot and you will see what is quite normal for us out here.

Dorcas' outdoor kitchen - she cooks on the floor in her house when it rains. Above, Mary is riding with us to Dorcas' house.

We will be sending more updates as we go along. We have news about Mega & Mix, the first two goats that were purchased with money saved by the Mega-Mix Sunday School class at Emmanuel Christian Centre, where we worship in the UK. That will be shared in the next episode.

Blessings & Love,

John & Marty