Outside the clinic was a queue of about fifteen people waiting in turn to receive medical attention, such as vaccinations and routine examinations for their children. Inside the clinic, which served a community of approximately ten thousand, three mothers waited with children clutched to their necks. Their eyes were full of emotion, some filled with hope, others fear, and some desperation. There is not a doctor at this clinic, only a dedicated medical attendant whose experiential knowledge saves many lives a year. The maternity ward at this clinic has no electricity for lighting, even though approximately ninety percent of all births occur at night. It's refrigeration system which is critical for the storage of vaccinations and medical supplies donated by the government, is powered by gas canisters which are quickly depleted and require a two day journey to refuel. The water supply for the clinic is contaminated, and many lives are devastated or destroyed by typhoid, and other water borne illnesses.
The Mbeere chief's office sits across the path from the clinic. Inside this community built structure we met with two indigenous nonprofits and approximately seven of the community leaders including the chief. Every person in the room is given a chance to speak, and it is soon clear a common goal is shared, TO SEE THIS COMMUNITY TRANSFORMED. A young man in his early thirties tearfully shares his passion to help the youth in his community. He sees the only way to succeed is to work actively for chance in practices and behavior. He asks us for our help, to work with them, and together work to help the broken, below poverty community.
Its hard for us to communicate the joy felt from ministering physically and spiritually to the Least of These that Jesus spoke about (Matt 25:40). By partnering with us, we hope that you feel that same joy in your life, because the Father desires us to care for each other like this. In this same Mbeere meeting we explained that it is because Jesus has so transformed our lives, that we have the desire to replicate that love towards them. We were able to share at this community meeting that we are were there because the love of God compels us, because of the great love which Jesus Christ showed to us, that our passion is for Him, and because of his great love, we have crossed oceans and continents to help them meet the challenges they face.
This is a small snapshot of LOTI's most recent project trip to Kenya. Over the next several months, we will be back in this community in Kenya, helping them specifically with the health clinic. We will help them bring light into the maternity ward, we have a team working on designing effective refrigeration systems that can be utilized without outside sources of electricity, and helping them with a purification system so that the sensitive groups in the community, the sick, old, and young, who come to the clinic will be able to drink clean water, and not further infected with disease, most notably typhoid.
The first part of our trip in December of 2005 involved the building of relationships with the young professionals and director of Possibilities Africa. Relationship building prior to project implementation is a critical aspect of executing later projects with Possibilities Africa. This is because culturally, relationships are such an important part of Kenyan culture. The currency of communication in Kenya is relationship. People understand and comprehend through relationship. People also place priority on tasks and have motivation for doing because of relationships. Developing these relationships with the young professionals and the director of possibilities Africa was critical to projects success. During this time we were also able to develop timeframes for future project implementation, plan for the young professional seminar the following Saturday, and define the relationship that should exist between the two organizations. The Director of the organization, Martin Simiyu, as well as the young professionals are involved in a local church called NPC Nairobi. During the week that we were their, a large youth conference was going on. Our Team Leaders were able to participate in this youth conference and churches by speaking, playing rugby, and spending time with the youth, encouraging them with their ideas and dreams. All of these activities helped build the relationships necessary with possibilities Africa, as well as gave a greater insight into Kenyan culture for effective development in the future.
The second part of the the trip in December 2005 was focused on spending time in the villages where LOTI will be working with Possibilities Africa. There were two main villages that LOTI will be focusing there efforts on: the Namawanga and Mbeere. The Namwanage village is located in Western Kenya, close to the Ugandan Border. This area is predominately agriculturally based. In this area we were able to do invaluable survey work, establish future project sites, meet with the community leadership and speak with the village people. We were able define with the people three major areas we will tackle in the next in our upcoming tentative visits: a small irrigation project.
Reed Barton Justin Henriques
Executive Directors, Co-founders