We are finding great joy visiting the members’ homes of the feeding program group and discovering new members hidden in the dry, rolling hills near Machakos. This morning we began walking early, met up with the elder and did some home visits. Two were from current members. Two others were households petitioning the Elder for assistance. The walk was long but early enough to be cool. You can see the remains of the maize crops. They began and were dried out before producing corn. Things remain so dry.
We first visited with “M”. She is a single woman of 46 years, living with an older son and a preschool child. The father is not in the picture and she lives on a small plot given her by her father. There was a time, almost three years ago, that she experienced a violent attack from a local worker who broke in the house at night. Since that time, “M” has boarded all windows and remains fearful. She became part of our program due to her situation and her having severe arthritis. After trying painkillers (Kenyan Tylenol) we now purchase herbal medicines for her that seem to be helping and giving her some relief from the joint pain. Inspecting her house we found her to be without adequate blankets. We will continue to provide food and herbal medicine weekly.
In the second house we found Steven, a ten year old mentally handicapped child. He has five other siblings, all healthy. As in many situations, the mother really doesn’t know what the problem is, only that her child cannot speak and does not recognize her or any family member. Because of hunger, Steven has been found eating the foam rubber mat he and mom sleep on. When he was one year old he developed cerebral malaria and what she was told was meningitis. His spine was drained of some fluid in a local hospital and that is when his condition was either caused or recognized. Mom took him to a school for the mentally disabled but the cost is close to $200 a year so he never attended. He has no control of his bowels and toileting is an issue. We will provide food and look into the school for mentally handicapped.
“T” is 56 years old and the mother of two sons. (seated on the right) One is 30 and the older is 38. The younger is the more responsible and more sober. In 2012 “T” experienced a series of strokes that affected her speech and hearing. Her jaw has become twisted and it is difficult to understand her. Her hearing has deteriorated and her eardrums frequently abscess and need to be drained. At the time of her stroke she was also found to be HIV positive and began Anti-Retro-Viral medications. Without an adequate diet, she is quite weak. The younger son cares for her and they struggle for food using money from any casual jobs he can find. They ate simple githeri on Monday; leftover on Tuesday. We asked about food today, Wednesday? “We can only rely on God for today.” “T” is the third member accepted onto our group who is HIV positive. We are developing a diet plan to accompany the ARVs. She and the other two HIV guys need more protein when they take their meds. We will also purchase a padlock to protect her relief food from the older son!
Upon returning from our walk to the farm you can see our new wheels, the cart that will be pulled by the oxen and save us some money at the chicken coop. Those chickens drink a lot. We then headed off to drop off some eggs.
Some other pics: