Monday, 11 October 2010



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

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?  

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???

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