Friday, 27 August 2010


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.  

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?

"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!
The handkerchief is to absorb the secretions, he isn't crying.

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