Shikusa: Our Final Medical Camp

We are now on the grounds of the Shikusa Boys Detention Center.  Since I was last here there has been a major turnover in the boys and in the detention center staff.   We arrived to find that they were having their annual meeting, which includes the detention center board, a larger group which they call a “board of visitors and prison officials from all over the country.   They were just finishing their opening ceremony and much to my surprise they immediately included me among the dignitaries in the group and brought me over to plant a tree.  This is a Kenyan Custom on very important occasions.  Following that I found myself sitting in a room of 60 people as they discussed the needs and successes of the Center.  In short order they asked me to say something and I got up and shared our history with Shikusa.  Since 2008, when we began visiting the center, we have been deeply moved by the physical and spiritual needs of the boys.  In the last six years we have held annual medical camps, built a basket ball court, bought hundreds of blankets and mattresses, bought school supplies, bought 100 chairs, brought medicine and hygiene supplies, built 100 bunk beds, held evangelist meetings, bought sports equipment, and brought the boys treats.  At the end of my speech I said that we were here today to hold a medical camp and we have brought the boys almost 200 mattresses.  I was so glad to be in the meeting because, in spite of all we’ve done most of these people didn’t know about it.  They all stood up and expressed their appreciation in the Africa way with a series of hand claps and a big hip, hip hooray.

We then went with the National Chairman of Prisons to make a formal presentation of the mattresses.  It turns out that only about 40 of the 346 boys who are presently in the camp had any mattresses at all.  They were all thrown out because they were moldy or ripped to shreds.  Dr. George is so wise, because he got the Chairman to commit to supplying 100 more mattresses immediately for the boys.   At the close of the ceremony the National Chairman went over to see our doctors and to get some medication for a problem he was having.

At present we have examined close to 200 boys.  One of them was close to death.  Dr. Phil thinks has cerebral Malaria and it’s a good thing we were here to get him on an IV or he might have died.  Generally the boys are in fairly good health aside the minor skin problem and respiratory infections

I never get used to seeing these boys in a big group or standing in line in their dark blue uniforms.  My heart goes out to them because their future will be such a challenge.  I have always believed that the best thing we can do for them is to help them to really know the Lord and to trust that when they are standing at the front gate on the day of their release, that they will simply pray and ask God to guide them and he will do the rest.  That’s been the story of my life.  As, most of you know, I came the Lord in prison after 5 years of drug addiction and I found myself standing outside of the prison gates with nothing but one change of clothes, my bible and my faith in Jesus.  Jesus never fails!

We are hoping to leave here by 4pm.  Tonight we will have our final farewell family meeting at the Obayo’s house.  This means the best African meal in the world and a great time of loving fellowship.

We must have our bags packed and loaded on the van by 4:00am tomorrow.  We will take the 7am flight from Kisumu to Nairobi.  At the airport we will be picked up by a safari van and go straight to the game park.  We’ll be tired, but nothing keeps you awake like driving through a heard of water buffalos, or a group of lions.  The cameras will be rolling.

I will probably not be able to communicate with you until I am in the Amsterdam airport.  Thank you dear friends for allowing me to fill your inbox with all my scribbles and I am so glad that so many of you have emailed me back with words of encouragement, financial support and prayers.  Together we have served over 8000 poor people.  The left over medicine will go to local clinics that we have partnered with for the long term care of our patients.  During this time we have also entered into some amazing partnerships with organizations here in Kenya.  In addition to all that God is expanding our vision in a very exciting way.  More on that as we sort it all out….

God bless you all….See you on Saturday