Wednesday, 12 September 2012


In the beginning of August we asked a specific prayer request for a one-year-old baby girl named, Imana, and her mother and father - Elizabeth and Samuel.  She had been diagnosed by doctors in Kisumu - the city/town where we stay when in Kenya - as having a hole in her heart.  She is very weak - hasn't been able to learn to walk because she is too weak to make the effort - is pale by Kenyan standards and has had two blood transfusions in her short life; she is listless and sleeps a lot.  The doctors in Kisumu refused to treat her any more, saying she had to go to Nairobi to heart specialists there who were more qualified to handle her condition. Hesbone, through contacts in Nairobi, was able to make arrangements for her to be seen the end of July by a Nairobi heart specialist who was coming to Kisumu.  The day came, but the doctor didn't.  
Some Insight into African Culture
Let us interject here a bit of the culture, and how if effects people:  These type of things are normal in Africa.  They are part of the frustrations that we face regularly in the culture.  Villagers don't seem to get upset by the constant delays, broken promises, no one showing up or calling, last-minute cancelled appointments, waiting for hours, etc.  That is what they have known their whole lives - they haven't experienced any other way of living.  Then, going to Nairobi (about 250 miles and 8 hours away) is a very difficult and complex thing for a village person. They have little or no experience with long-distance travel - often have never gone more than 15 miles from home, if that far.  Additionally, there is no place to stay.  Of course, the MAJOR issue is lack of money; not just for transportation, accommodation and food, but for treatment.  To be seen by a doctor in Nairobi could take many months. In fact, even after the appointment is made they could get there to the hospital and wait, only to be told to come back - without having been seen.  Meanwhile  the patient becomes more ill and, in some cases, dies.  
Elizabeth and Imani Go to Nairobi
Hesbone was formerly the financial administrator of a major hospital in Nairobi and he was able to use his influence to get an appointment for Elizabeth and Imani; additionally,  she was able to stay with Hesbone's brother and family in Nairobi.  Samuel remained in Kadawa with the four other children. After being hospitalized in Nairobi for several weeks, Imani was recently discharged.  However, all this time she had been misdiagnosed.  Her heart is sound - no hole in it.  But she is seriously ill with a disease known as Sickle Cell Anemia.  Elizabeth and Imani will have to return to Nairobi for ongoing tests and treatment every two weeks.  This presents nearly insurmountable odds for them.  They will do this for one more month, and meanwhile Hesbone will try to make some kind of arrangement with the Nairobi specialists to have tests and treatment made available in Kisumu.
What Is It?
Sickle cell anemia is, briefly, a disease of the red blood corpuscles, causing some of them to become malformed into the shape of a crescent or sickle. Some of these blood cells become sticky, and that and their shape cause them to clog up various blood vessels, etc.  For all intents and purposes, it is incurable.  A cure is possible, through stem-cell or bone-marrow transplants.  But this is highly unlikely.  The successful search for a donor with a positive match is very rare, and patients in Africa are highly unlikely to be able to afford such a procedure. Symptoms include: Fatigue, paleness, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and jaundice; all of which Imani displays.  Over time, the spleen no longer works and as a result other major infections occur.  People with sickle cell anemia are especially susceptible to malaria - a rampant disease in Kenya.  Cause of death is usually organ failure and/or infection.  IMANI TRULY NEEDS A MIRACLE.  THAT IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS DILEMMA.  PLEASE PRAY FOR A MIRACLE FOR HER AND THE FAMILY!  Without a miracle she will die - painfully.
Hospital Fund
Our hospital fund has paid all of the related medical expenses for the family - which by Western standards is nothing, but by the standards of a beneath poverty-level Kenyan are unfathomable.  Her expenses were $393 (250 GBP).  With the treatment of many other patients, the hospital fund is depleted and we want to continue to help meet this baby's needs, and those of other people, as best we can. All of you have continually been generous with the various projects that we report on through our newsletter and talking with you.  The Lord continually supplies the needs through you.  We merely let you know the needs, and leave the rest to Him.  

Now for some positive news. The water tower on the farm is complete!!!  What a major engineering job it has been.  Really!  We hired an architect and a structural engineer to see that it was done properly.  It is a wonder to behold!  AND 85% of it has been done without us being there.  Johnfred has faithfully  managed the whole procedure and kept us informed every step of the way; with accompanying photos.  We opened the e-mail showing the completion of the main structure while we were in a coffee shop.  When Marty saw it she was so surprised she began to cry (quietly).  Do you remember that we asked you to pray that the small, impassible road at the bottom of the farm could be made useable? Well, Johnfred did it!  He engineered all the needed repairs and the truck that delivered the water tank to go atop the tower drove through the gate with that big tank on it.  Johnfred sent us a photo to prove it, for our John was just not sure that the truck and tank would fit through that gate even if it did get down the road.   And now all of the villagers in the area are very happy with us for opening the road for them.
The next step is to hook up the tubing for the drip irrigation system that we  intend to use to get good crops even when there is drought.  We will eventually get a pump and generator to get the water from the well into the tank.  The well has continually been full even in drought.

Blessings, Grace and Peace to You All,  

                               John and Marty