Saturday, the Africa Connect team, Graceway team members, and medical professionals (11 of us all together), along with boxes and suitcases of medicine and medical supplies, piled into 2 vans and headed down the road to Kaisagat, a rural village about an hour and a half outside of Kitale... truly beautiful country! After only one wrong turn, we reached Graceway Kaisagat.
I was here in 2013, at which time the church building was under construction, but incomplete. I remember a huge heap of dirt in the back corner, and we dispensed meds from low benches in the rear of the building, while preaching and teaching sessions were held in the front of the space. This year, the building is complete and quite lovely. The floor is tiled; there is good lighting through large windows dressed with curtains of lace, and we had ample space to set up various stations for doctors and nurses, medication dispensing and wound care.
The clinics always start rather slowly, but it doesn't take long for word to get around, and then the crowds come. Do they come! So many people with so few services, and the people too poor to travel to find healthcare or buy medicine. Many times, a person knows they have a condition, has been on medicine to treat it, but when the medicine is gone, they have no money to buy more. It's a particularly serious problem in the case of chronic diseases like diabetes or HTN. We treated the usual respiratory infections, eye infections, allergy symptoms, fungal infections of all sorts; a man who poked his eye out with a stick (several years ago, we found out!) - couldn't do much for him except teach him how to protect it, prevent infection, and make his own soothing saline eye drops at home, and of course, lots of TLC. Another man came in who cut the side of finger off with a band saw - I fully expected to see bone and lots of blood, but in truth, he had only grazed the side of the finger and lost a bit of fingernail. I looked at it and exclaimed, That could have been a whole lot worse!" He looked shocked for a second, then burst out laughing. It was an easy patch job. And we always give care packages to take home with plenty of supplies, plus instruction, so they can continue their own care at home.
And as we found in Chalicha, so we found here - so many people with significantly high blood pressure. The doctors attribute it to stress - it's not just a western plague anymore. Life is so hard here, people so stressed out by simply trying to survive... all the more reason they need to hear the Good News of a loving heavenly Father who sees their misery, knows their every need, and is able to meet those needs.
The local church is learning how to be the hands and feet of Jesus and be the practical answer to many of these prayers. We were honored to be a part of those answered prayers. The invitation stands for us to return. One mzee (elderly gentleman) told me, "You must come back every three months! You are needed here!"
I tried to explain that the U.S. is very far away, and that I wouldn't be able to do that, but I will pray for God to fill that void. "God will make a way...!"