IN THE VILLAGE OF MUSUNGU
First of all, I want to thank all those who sent money to help us buy reading glasses and to continue to do circumcisions for boys. We raised almost $800 just last night.
Today we set up our camp in the village of Musungu. We are about 25 miles from Kakamega in a place I have never been before. The road was barely passable, but with caution and prayer we slowly made our way to the church. The daily rains are a nuisance but they are also a very big blessing. Rain started to fall only two weeks ago and the grasslands have turned bright green and are growing incredibly fast. Kenya is an unusually beautiful place. The land is fertile and lush. The problem is people in the rural area cultivate the land in the same way it was done 1000 years ago, by hand with hand tools. Everyone struggles to survive here and when sickness or pestilence or drought or flood comes they are literally defenseless.
There is very little medical care in this region so our presence is very important to the community. All of the people are loving and friendly but just under the surface lurks a desperation that can cause them to explode in an instant. We arrived this morning to find a large sanctuary full of people. A problem arose over the queue (That is the reception line). First there was a lot of confusion about how people were to line up for registration, then, people were coming in from several directions and “jumping the queue” (pushing in line). In just a few minutes these lovely sweet people turning into an angry shouting mob. We pressed the panic button but it took us 20 minutes to restore order. To counter things like this we start of every camp by assuring everyone that we will see everyone and everyone will go home with medication. We do this because we know that all of them are living with the fear that they will not get helped.
We need to understand the reason for this. Many times these people have waited in line for days to have someone look at their sick child only to be sent home without help. If they wait quietly in line for a bit of food, they more than likely will not get any, because the “pushers” will shove them out of the way. The same with the kids! When I try to hand out candy to a crowd of kids they invariably start pushing and shoving and grabbing and thrusting their hands out for candy. It doesn’t matter if I line them all up first. The minute I start down the line they all collapse on me, desperate for a piece of candy. They also cannot stop from trying to take more than their share, even if it means their neighbor gets none. Desperation is a terrible thing. Something we know very little about in our world.
The pastor of the church made a special visit to say that he and his leaders have never seen a medical camp like ours. I have heard this before a number of times. Our camps are the largest and best equipped camps in all of Kenya. We have a complete supply of free medications, we are offering a wide variety of services: eye exams with free glasses, tooth extractions, circumcision, cervical cancer screening, counseling and testing for AIDS, malaria and typhoid, etc. Almost all of the church leaders have made it a point of say “you are doing a good job”. They asked me to pass the thanks of a grateful community to all of you back home who have made these blessing possible. “Every good and perfect gift comes down from Heaven from God”.
All in all it was a blessed day. I commented to our staff on the way home that is felt very good to be in a place were we were so needed. More tomorrow