Tuesday, December 20

Returning home...

It seems this trip to Kenya went very quickly. I will just share some of the things we accomplished this trip. Jackie Scott was with me the first half and Mindy Miller, a PFC board member, was with me the second half. Both of these women are strong in their faith and came to serve the PFC team and not to be served. They left the PFC team in Kenya better equipped to serve the people of East Africa. I am grateful to both of them. Highlights from the trip:

1. Jackie had brought with her many Christian books and tapes for the team's spiritual development. Jackie had the fundi (carpenter) build a bookselve for all the team's books and tapes. She organized them by category and Mindy completed the task of numbering all the books creating a library check-out system. This also helps us know what books and tapes we can bring to add to the library.

2. Cris and Gary from Parsons had sent hundreds of Crocs for the children in Pakishon. When Cris was there she saw first hand the need for the children to have shoes to prevent the jiggers from attacking their feet. The conditions are very harsh in this area and shoes don't last long. The Crocs are a perfect shoe for these children. Pastor Hirbo was with us in Nairobi this trip and we packed the shoes for him to take to the children! They will have them for Christmas.

3. Several people sent money for the children of Nick and Charles to have a Christmas meal at the Partners for Care house. David my sheep given to me by Sam's mom was sacrificed for the occasion. The PFC team took the vans to bring all the children to the PFC house. Moses and others cooked all day preparing food. We had given each child a new outfit and a pair of new shoes for Christmas. Some of the little ones insisted on leaving the tags on their clothes showing they were new!

4. We spent a lot of time on the implementation of the mHealth program. It is hard to explain how excited Dr. Vincent and his medical team are about mHealth. The bonus from using mHealth is that all the patients who either come to the clinic or are seen in the field will have an electronic medical record. We have really just begun to understand all the benefits of mHealth. None of the medical team had any problem using the devises. Dr. Vincent even put all his medical books into the devise to use as references. We met with the head of the Community Health Workers. She is helping us to reach all the CHWs in Marurui slum which is our catchment area. These 98 CHWs will spread the word about mHealth.

5. While at the medical mission conference last month I found some unique community health teaching tools. The same company that made Evangelism cube have recently released malaria and HIV/AIDS teaching cubes. The cubes are excellent teaching tools. We are doing a small study using pre and post tests to determine if the cubes increase a person's knowledge and behavior change. We gave a set of the cubes to the head community worker. She would like to see the thousands of community health workers have a set of them.

6. When Bridgette and I were stranded during the ash over Europe delay we were put at the Inter-Continential Hotel for a couple nights. We learned they along with hotels in Kenya throw out the uneaten food at night. Bridgette has a dream that someday the uneaten food will be given to the children who are hungry. I have been working with Bill Boling, Atlanta Food Bank and Maurice from the Glodal Foodnetworking to learn the process for establishing a food bank in Kenya. I met this time with two key people in Kenya who could help make a food bank a reality....will keep you updates.
Good trip, good progress. God is good.

Connie
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Thursday, December 15

Sometimes it is good to hear from someone else...

Mindy Miller, Partners for Care board member is here with me this trip. It is truly a blessing to have her here. She is supportive of the PFC staff, patient even in long traffic delays and has been a great observer of what is happening here in Kenya. Sometimes it is good to hear from someone else. Here is the 2nd update she sent out.

Hello, again, from Kenya!

On Tuesday, I was able to attend the Partners for Care staff meeting.  Each person covered their respective projects by telling what their vision was, where the project was at the beginning of the year, what they accomplished this year, what their challenges were, what they want to accomplish next year, and what needs they have in order to accomplish their goals. It was so great!  I won't be able to go through all of it here (it was a long meeting!), but let me give you some highlights:

IT - John heads the IT training, which is free to the community.  John told a great story: he trained one of the women who did laundry for us at the PFC house. She took her new IT skills to apply for an office job. While she was at the office applying, the hiring person was having trouble with Skype.  John had taught the woman to use Skype as part of the "internet training" (there are seven packages plus internet to complete under the IT program) - so, she was able to assist the person and was hired!  John just beamed with pride!  So precious.

Second Chance Educational Program - Sam M heads the second chance program; also free to the community.  In the Marurui slum where the center is located, 85% of the adults never finished high school. In Kenya, getting a high school diploma is accomplished by sitting for exams. The second chance program saw four students sit for their exams in December - we won't know until February whether they passed or not. There are currently 15 students enrolled in the program.

Football (soccer) - Sam G heads the sports program for football. To hear him talk of his vision was so inspiring: to capture the hearts of the young people in the slum in order to keep them away from bad behavior (idleness, drugs, etc.). You could just see the passion in his face as he talked about the kids. When they started the program, there were no teams in the Marurui slum - now there are twelve (with substitute players)! And two players did so well that they were recruited into what is the equivalent of the "minor leagues" here in Kenya - paid positions!

Poultry project - The PFC house has a poultry project led by committee. It's actually chickens and rabbits. This was the last presentation and it had us all cracking up with laughter!  Turns out, it's sort of hard to be a farmer. :)  But, the project is on the cusp of turning around! We all have high hopes!

Medical clinic - Dr. Vincent officially opened the clinic on October 5th this year. There are approximately 900 households in the Marurui slum. Dr. Vincent has seen 536 patients since opening! Wow. Peter and Charles, who also work in the clinic, have distributed bed nets to almost 75% of the households. They were very excited to report that some of their healthcare instructions to the community have been taking root - for example, they've seen people placing their captured rain water barrels on their roofs (it boils in the sun and kills the germs).  Dr. Vincent and his team have great plans for this clinic!

It was such a great meeting!  I loved being able to sit in to see and hear the passion and plans these guys have for their community!

On Thursday, I spent the day in Mathare slum with Community Transformers, an organization that PFC supports. Mathare is the second largest slum in Kenya with approximately 800,000 people. It's always hard to see the poverty in the slums - I prepared with lots of prayer (thanks to those of you who are praying for me, too). The CT center volunteers visit the sick and help where they can. I tagged along for two house visits to clients. The women we visited were so grateful for how they are cared for by CT - I was encouraged.  The center facilitates a beaded jewelry and note card making business to help cover costs of the center (the clients do the work). In addition, they have a cyber cafe.

I'm looking forward to the staff Christmas party tonight.  We've all had a fun time joking about the killing of David, the sheep, for the celebration.  This sheep was given to Connie last year as a thank you from Sam G's mother. David's life ended yesterday - I didn't watch the killing, but caught a glimpse of the draining and skinning - glad to be a vegetarian! Ha! (And, by the way, Moses has been feeding me quite well with lots of vegetarian dishes!)

I hope you can sense my excitement about what PFC is doing in Kenya!
Mindy

An exciting day for PFC - implementation of mHealth has begun

If you read the last update you know Partners for Care is partnering with Global H.E.E.D. to implement mHealth. We have been working with Global H.E.E.D. for the last 6 months developing the technical side of the program. Global H.E.E.D. Has done all the work on the technical side with PFC developing the medical protocols for the program. I came with four smart phones that were programmed with the medical protocols.

We have struggled with technical difficulties all week but this morning I received the following message from Dr. Vincent:
"We just recorded the first patient on the device and its working well. The data has also uploaded to the server." And, to make it even more special, the first patient - patient 001 was one of Pastor Hirbos's children. Pastor Hirbo has been with us all week and had brought his children with him to attend a camp.

The way the program works is we will have two of our non-medical staff collect information from a patient in the slum sending the information via the internet to a server creating a secure medical record. Dr. Vincent can access the information on his computer and provide recommendations in real-time to our staff who is with the patient in the slum. Our staff then advises the patient. The devises take and transmit photos of the patient for Dr. Vincent.

The advantage of mHealth are many including:
  • Quicker access to healthcare for people living in a slum with poor infrastructure and limited transportation to health facilities
  • Increased number of patients one physician can manage as he has more people collecting information for him
  • Improved follow-up to determine resolution of patient's complaint
  • Better tracking of patient's compliance with treatment regime 
  • Improved surveillance of diseases
Phase I of the project will be in Marurui slum. Phase II we are looking at implementing in Mathare Slum through Community Transformers with Nick and Charles. And, Phase III we want to implement in government facilities with Dr. Joe.
There are many key players to a successful implementation of mHealth including Dr. Vincent who is our physician using the program, Sam who is working with the technical team in the US, Dr. Joe who is our consultant on the project, Sammy who is the PFC Director in Kenya and the Global H.E.E.D. team - Chris, Sonny, Igor, Ling and Shreya.

We are all very excited to be involved in improving health care in Kenya.
A good day in Kenya....Connie

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Can't even begin to tell you how exciting this is!  This is just the beginning of great things to come! Partners for Care and Global HEED are on the verge of revolutionizing access to health care in developing nations.


Sharon Dicks

Thursday, December 8

More convinced than ever....

This trip to Kenya, I have become more convinced than ever that people in developing nations can and will reach their own people, care for their own people, and build their own bridges to their future. We in the developed nations can help by equipping them to do the work. And, together we can celebrate as they move their villages, their nation towards development. Let me share a few examples of equipping that we are blessed to be able to do because of our donors and partners in the US.

First, there is Pastor Hirbo. We have equipped him with the resources to reach the children of Parkishon treating their hands and feet for jiggers. He has reached 113 children in the last three months treating them for jiggers. Twenty-three of these children have now returned to school. They had stopped going to school because of being infected with jiggers. He told me last night he has expanded his territory to other villages in his area. And, he has done this without any means of transportation! Imagine what he can do when someday we are blessed to be able to equip him with a motor bike. Jackie Scott is with me this trip. She sat and talked with Pastor Hirbo last night. She said to me his eyes light up and dance when he talks of reaching the children.

Then there is Dr. Vincent and Charles, Franko and Peter who we have equipped with a medical clinic. They have treated in the first 3 months 350 patients, distributed 250 bed nets and screened 250 people for hypertension. Everyday they see more patients. This trip we have brought smart phones for them to implement mHealth. With this program Dr. Vincent can reach thousands with the help of his non-medical staff using smart phones in the slum to collect and transmit medical information to his computer. These smart phones serve as Dr. Vincent's eyes and ears...these devises can take photos and even video tape the patients. Our partners on this project is Global H.E.E.D (globalheed.org). who is partnering with SANA (sana.mit.edu). If you are interested in learning more about this Initiative go their websites. The staff here are so excited about this new initiative...they are already talking of Phase II of implementation - Mathare Slum and Marsabit.

Next is the ministry of Nick and Charles. We only equip them by paying their salaries and helping sometimes financially with the 34 children they care for. Their ministry reaches to the very heart of Mathare slum - 2nd largest slum in the world. They have helped almost 500 people who are infected with HIV/AIDS through the mobilization of young men and women volunteers. We don't need to tell Nick and Charles how to care for their people...and we don't need to do it for them. I am a nurse and a social worker and I have been in healthcare my entire professional career. I have seen healthcare in health care settings in 35 states in the US. I am in awe of what I see in Nick and Charles' ministry. A ministry without nurses, social workers and medical supplies and equipment. But, what they lack in degrees and equipment they make-up for with a heart and passion to care for their people.

And, the Temples of Worship have been equipped with a keyboard , drums, guitars, microphones, speakers and a saxophone. They use their music to reach thousands with the message of salvation and HiV/AIDS prevention. Next they want to make and distribute a video of their song Peace and Love. It is a song they wrote during the Post-Election Violence. It is a message that will inspire Kenyans as they move toward elections next year. A message of peace.

We have also equipped the team with two vehicles so they go and spread the gospel.
The last example I want to share with you is the equipping of the sports program. Partners for Care staff here started a what if? football team in Maruri Village. Now there are 12 football teams in this village. Thanks to our partner PEACEPASSERS we have been able to bring football equipment for the players equipping them with what they needed to play football.

This trip I have brought the information about the Atlanta Food Bank. I was truly blessed to spend time with Bill Bolling a man who has had a passion all his life to eliminate hunger. Bill is the founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Food Bank. Bill connected me to the Global FoodBanking Network. The Global FoodBanking has helped create food banks in 30 countries. They have given me the Feasibility Analysis:Starting a Food Bank System Toolkit. My part is to pass this information to people here who like Bill have a passion to eliminate hunger. PFC will play a role in the development by partnering with others and equipping where we can.

Ryan Morris who spent three months with the team here in Kenya once wrote that he was blessed to have a front row seat to watch God at work. I feel the same way - blessed to be a small part of equipping this team on the ground in Kenya to reach their people.

I am grateful for mentors like Steve Saint and my daughter Mindy who continually teach me ways to help and not harm.

Connie
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Saturday, December 3

Remembering Elizabeth and Baby Diamond on this World's Aids Day 2011

On this World's Aids Day I am remembering two very special little children - Elizabeth and Baby Diamond. Both Elizabeth and Baby Diamond were born infected with HIV/AIDS. Both died from this disease - Elizabeth was 4 years old, Baby Diamond just 1 1/2 years old. Both gave a mighty fight but the disease ravaged their bodies and left them unable to fight off the secondary diseases they died from.

Elizabeth

Baby Diamond
Sometimes it seems the world has forgotten that HIV/AIDS is still a threat. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV. During 2010 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390,000 children. Despite a significant decline in the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths over the last five years, there were still an estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths in 2010.

Imagine 390,000 children born with a disease that could have been prevented. The Partners for Care team in Kenya everyday fights to prevent babies from being born infected. Everything they do is focused on stopping this disease that either has infected or affected everyone they know - their families, their friends, their neighbors. Through their what if? campaign they call the youth to do their part to create an HIV/AIDS - free generation.

On this day, I also remember Nick and Charles who mobilize young men and women to go as volunteers to minister at the bedside of those infected with HiV/AIDS. Those who live in the 2nd largest slum in the world - Mathare Slum. Nick and Charles have seen 77 people die from HIV/AIDS including 22 children. Two of these children were Elizabeth and Baby Diamond.

Today...I remember and for me I pledge to do whatever I can to support to support the team on the ground in Kenya who are fighting the giant of HIV/AIDS.

Grateful for those who also help support them in this fight,

Connie
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Tuesday, November 22

God answers prayers for Marsabit

When you search information about Marsabit a town in the far northeastern part of Kenya, you find the precipitation for the year is 0. This lack of rain causes severe hardship for the people of Marsabit. But, God has answered the many prayers for Marsabit. Yesterday Pastor Hirbo sent the following text:

God is so great and wonderful,the face of Marsabit changed from dust to green, from dry to wet. God has remembered Marsabit. The Marsabit Dam is full. (Pastor Hirbo reminded me that is where I slipped and fell once when I visited this dam). I was in Parkishon on the 16th.

Marsabit dam before
The new face of Marsabit dam now
I tell you the situation is improving, but the need of food is very high. I have also been introduced to a new jigger medicine by a pastor from Malindi. I used it and it is so wonderful and powerful. It worked well. After one night the feet are clean and it is locally made.

-- Pastor Hirbo.

Imagine a pastor who is so excited for rain and a new treatment to treat the children's jiggers. Truly this man pleases God each time he kneels and washes and treat the feet of the little children.

Praising God this Sunday morning for Pastor Hirbo and for remembering Marsabit,

Connie
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Saturday, November 12

Meeting an extraordinary man

I am at the Medical Missions Conference in Louisville, Ky.- one the largest in the country. It is a little overwhelming with 150 vendors and thousands of participates. Partners for Care is sharing a vendor space with MedShare. We shared a vendor space at the Emory Conference, also. It is always a blessing to be with MedShare as we support what they do in the world to help improve healthcare in developing nations. MedShare bridges surplus medical equipment with need by sending hundreds of containers worth millions of dollars to equip medical clinics and hospital in developing countries.

One of the speakers at the conference is Steve Saint, the son of Nate Saint one of the five missionaries murdered by the Waodani. The story is told in the movie End of the Spear. The story is one of incredible forgiveness and healing.

I have been blessed to meet and spend time with Steve. We share a belief in the way missions can be done in the world that respects and honors those we go to serve. I had given Steve one of our what if? bracelets when we were talking. To my surprise when he spoke the next day he told the audience about his bracelet...and he asked them. what if? we served as God served?

Connie in interview with Steve Saint


And, I would add what if? we could all live in a spirit of humble service and forgiveness like Steve Saint, Elizabeth Elliot and Steve's Aunt Rachael? what if?

Blessed to meet a true servant of God,

Connie
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Wednesday, November 9

Dadaab Report

This summer I along with my son David and members of the Partners for Care staff in Kenya visited the Dadaab Refugee Camp. We were saddened at the desperate conditions of the Somalia refugees as they walked thru the desert seeking help. We were heartened by the response of the world to help them. Below is our report.
Some of the photos of the children are graphic. We can tell you that the stories on the news of the desperation of these children when they arrive in the refugee camps are not exaggerated. But, we can also tell you that the doctors and nurses there are performing miracles as most of the children are recovering but not all of the children survive.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Dadaab Refugee Camp report.






Continuing prayers for peace in Somalia,

Connie
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Tuesday, November 8

Run for a life

We ran...they ran. Together we ran to save the life of a child. Together we asked the question what if? 472 children didn't die every day in Kenya from diseases that can be prevented...

On November 5, 2011 Partners for Care held its third annual run. Charity runs in the US are common...but this run was different. While runners were running in Brook Run Park in Dunwoody at 8:00 in the morning, Kenyan runners were running through Marurui Village on dirt roads at 3.00 in the afternoon. All the funds raised go to support the work of the Partners for Care staff in Kenya. Just like us here, the Kenyan team had worked for months to organize their race. Many in Kenya were doubtful PFC could really organize a run.

Some of the runners before the race

Here runners ran for beautiful Kenya handmade soapstone bowls...in Kenya the children ran for pencils and notebook paper for school. Here runners ran through a beautiful archway as the finish line, there they ran over a rope laid on the ground. Here every runner had shoes - nice shoes like Nike. There some of the youth ran without shoes - not by choice but because they don't have running shoes. We ran 5K, they ran 8K.

A girl running without shoes
But, though there were differences the joy and excitement of the runners and those who organized the runs were the same. The pictures from the US run are posted on www.partnersforcare.org. Below you can see the story of the Kenyan run through their photos and here is Sam's report about the run...I hope it touches you heart like it did mine.

From Sam

We had 60 runners register with 47 actually running in the race - 5 women, 8 children and 34 men. The oldest was 30 years old, the youngest 6 years old. The overall winner was 24 years old.


Victor Njogu, our youngest runner (6 years old)
We had spent months planning the run. It was difficult to get sponsors and people to support the run as people weren't sure we could actually organize a run in the slum area of Marurui. It was the first run ever in Marurui and Kasarani region, and many critics said it was the most successful event after the tournaments we held earlier this year. They said we've opened the door for more runs and marathons to come, as no one saw the run succeeding until they saw it happen. It was also good awareness for our programs as the runners ran by the United States International University (USIU) where so many students had come out to see the runners pass by.

Next time we expect many more runners, people are already asking when the next run will be. Many were afraid to register as they weren't sure if it would succeed, but now they're more willing to participate. Individuals are also coming forward asking how they can participate in the next run, through sponsorships and other aspects.

Here are some highlights:

  • Agnes, Anastasia's daughter (remember Anastasia is the woman who has been blinded by a brain tumor) came in 2nd in the women's category, running without shoes. She's in our volleyball program, computer class and 2nd Chance.
  • Esther, another one of our volleyball player. She came in 3rd in the women's category, and her mom was there to congratulate her and receive the prize on her behalf. Her and her mom were in tears when they were called to receive the prize. Her mom said she'd never been that proud of her daughter. Esther and Agnes had vowed to do the volleyball and what if? program as a whole proud, which they did.
Esther (center) being awarded in the presence of her mother
  • Stella, another one of our volleyball player came in 1st in the children's category, and when she received the top prize she refused to open it until she got home so that they could open it together with her mom. She had promised her mom to do her proud. She ran the whole 8kms or so and finished first. Justus hugged her as she crossed the finish line. She was in tears also when she finished, she couldn't believe she came in first. It was the biggest day of her life then when she ran towards the finishing line and everyone was clapping and shouting, motorbikes hooting and applauding her all the way from the matatu stage. (I also teared up when I saw her cross the finish line).
Stella running towards the finish line
Justus proudly hugging Stella when she won the race
John awarding Stella the 1st Position award
It was an amazing run, the team did a commendable job and I've never been more proud of every team member for their participation in the planning and implementation processes.

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Add 22....

Before the team completed their weekend event at the boys high school 22 more said yes to Christ...a total of 166.

More for the kingdom,
Connie
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Sunday, November 6

Spreading the good news

This weekend the Partners for Care staff are at a boys high school spreading the good news of Christ and the prevention message of HIV/AIDS. Sammy just sent me the attached photo - 144 young men have accepted Christ. This is the heart of the ministry...equipping those on the ground to do God's work. 

Students giving their lives to Christ

Thank you for all those who donate to their work, help with our annual run and pray for the Partners for Care staff in Kenya.

Praising God this morning for the good news,
Connie.

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Wow, great picture!  Very inspiring to see the heart of the ministry in action!  Lifting Sammy and team up in prayer.


Sharon Dicks
Director of Development
Partners for Care

Monday, October 31

Partners for Care 3rd Annual Run

Please read and then send this message to anyone you think would want to join us this Saturday as we run for the children of Kenya! The Kenya staff of Partners for Care have also organized a run at the same time as us...we will connect to them by phone. This is Partners for Care major fund raising event so we hope you come to support the team on the ground in Kenya. If you live out of state and are receiving this message you can sponsor a runner in Kenya. We will see the Kenyan team gets the financial support. And, you can pray for us as we work as a team here to help the Kenyan Partners for Care staff transform their Nation - one life at a time. Hope to see you on run day, Connie

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Our Third Annual 5K Run 
"what if?" 5K Run - Saturday, November 5 - 8:00am
Monday, 31 October 2011
Register Now 
Click below to learn more about and register for this 5K Run, to benefit the life saving work of Partners for Care in Kenya. Every day, 473 children die in Kenya due to preventable diseases. Partners for Care asks the question - "what if?" - wondering how different Kenya and other developing nations would be if billions currently being spent each year battling preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, etc - were able instead to be invested in schools, businesses and infrastructure. Every day, our Kenyan staff work with a goal of realizing how their nation could be changed by answering the call to this simple question.  
The image at right will be printed on the front of a black, technical long sleeve race shirt being provided to each registered participant. Register today to assure your place.
 Learn More and Register
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Thank you from Partners for Care
You are receiving this email since you have previously supported Partners for Care. Thank you for your prior support. Please share this email with family and friends who may be interested in participating in our Third 5K Run. We hope to see you at the race this weekend.
The photo at left illustrates the type of Kenyan artwork which will be awarded to race winners in each age group. To learn more about what Partners for Care is up to, click below. 
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All our team in Kenya are fine...but they do ask for your prayers

I know most of you have probably heard there were two "bombings" in Kenya today. The Kenya officials have not indicated who is responsible but it is suspected it was done in retaliation to Kenya sending troops into Somalia. Sam was downtown near the area of the second "bombing" and was shaken but is fine. They just ask for us to pray for an end to any retaliation in Kenya.
Praying for the people of Kenya,
Connie
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Wednesday, October 19

Milestone

Today is a milestone for Partners for Care and for four young people in Kenya. This is the day Simon, Silvia, Gobet and Ann sit for their national exams to receive their high school degrees. In Kenya, while primary school is free, there is a costs for high school. For many, especially those who grow up in the slums, the cost is too much for parents to pay so many kids have to drop out of school.

Last year Partners for Care hired Sam who had started a program called 2nd Chance. This program helps those who had to drop out of school prepare to take the national exams. Through daily classes and individual tutoring he prepares them for the exams which if they pass gives them a high school degree. Simon, Silvia, Gobet and Ann have been in 2nd Chance this year and under the guidance of Sam are prepared to take their exams today. Pray for them to pass - a huge milestone in their lives.

This is just one of the many ways the Kenya Partners for Care staff are helping to transform their village, their Nation - one live at a time.


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Tuesday, October 4

Partners for Care Newsletter - October 2011



Hi Everyone,

Below is the Partners for Care newsletter highlighting our friends, the Peace Passers organization.  Peace Passers is a non-profit headed up by Candace Cooper-Murray, a nurse and Community Development /Health Administration professional in Charlotte, NC.  

Peace Passers' mission is to use a collaborative approach to collect and distribute soccer supplies to people and communities throughout the world. Peace Passers supports team development and the funding of sustainable sports league play to empower youth & maximize hope for all participants locally and globally.

Through a friend of Bridgette Boylan's, Partners for Care recently connected with Peace Passers to receive donated soccer equipment and gear for the children of Kenya.  Within a few days of making the request, several large containers arrived at Connie's home filled to the brim with practically new soccer balls, shoes, jerseys, shorts, and shinguards in all sorts of sizes and colors!  Connie took the shipment with her on her most recent trip to Kenya.  It's an understatement to say that the children were delighted to open it all up and couldn't wait to play soccer with their new things!

Enjoy!






To download the newsletter, click on the link below:


Download Newsletter Here



Friday, September 23

Thank you to Star Travel

When I first started going to Kenya, Christian, lead musician with the Milele music group told me to use Loise Sauer from Star Travel to book my flights. I have used Loise ever since. She has become more than a travel agent...she is a friend and a supporter of Partners for Care. This will be Star's third year to support our run. This trip Loise had arranged for Partners for Care to be the ministry in Kenya to partner with the team from Protocol International who went to Kenya to train executives on protocal. The staff from Star Travel in Kenya and Protocol International from the US did a day of service with the PFC staff. They went to Maururi Slum and planted a kitchen garden for a family. They also made a donation to the ministry. Some of the PFC staff were able to attend one of the trainings conducted by Protocol International at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi. The staff loved the training! Loise also made sure I was included on the invite list to attend the evening event at our US Ambassador in Kenya. It was an honor to be in the home of our Ambassador. I want to thank Loise and her sister JoAnn who manages their Nairobi office. We consider Loise a great friend and supporter of the work of Partners for Care.

Connie
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Monday, September 19

We have been to see Yewlanda and the other children of Parkishon


On Saturday Sammy, Mark, Dr. Vincent and I traveled to Isiolo and took the all night bus to Marsabit. Our mission was to see Yewlanda and to buy shoes for the children of Parkishon. We also planned to meet with the Ministry of Health to partner with them to assist in Kenya's 90 day Rapid Response Initiative to eliminate jiggers throughout the country. We wanted to make sure the children of Parkishon were included in this Initiative. Yewlanda looks great. She is walking and is jigger free.

Baby Yewlanda
Her brothers are also jigger free. A donor funded our trip to Marsabit and sent us with money to buy shoes for the children. The shoes help the children avoid the jiggers. We also were given $40.00 from a young girl who shared her birthday money to buy shoes for the children. While the children looked "better" following the medical camp we did in August they still broke our hearts. They are dirty because there is no water to bath them. They are in rags and some are naked.

The children of Parkishon


Fitting them with new shoes
Thanks to both the medical camp and Pastor Hirbo's weekly visit to treat the jiggers only a few of the children had jiggers. Pastor Hirbo will help them on his next weekly visit. We met with the Minister of Health and he said the answer to the elimination of jiggers in Parkishon is WATER. We are exploring now with the Ministry of Water. Pastor Hirbo is also teaching the women starting with Yewlando's mom how to use animal dung to help rid the house of the jiggers. You mix the dung with the dirt once a week and spread on the floor of the manyatta it keeps the jiggers away. Imagine...but it works.

Returning to Nairobi now...remembering the children of Parkishon in our prayers, Connie

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Friday, September 16

Yewlando returns home

Pastor Hirbo took Yewlanda back to her home yesterday. She is now jigger free, walking, playing and growing. Pastor Hirbo was greeted by the elders of the village and the chief who stood and faced the East saying a blessing to the Americans, Partners for Care and Pastor Hirbo praying for them to have a long life.

We cannot forget the condition Yewlanda was in when we did our medical camp there. She was very sick - weighing just 40% of what she should weigh, so infected with jiggers she couldn't walk and severely malnourished. And, her siblings and other children at Parkishon are in the same condition.
We want to help. We want to see that Yewlanda never returns to the condition she was in.

Parkishon children
Jiggers hurt
Dr. Joe (our doctor consultant here in Kenya) came this week to tell us of a government program called Rapid Response Initiative for jigger elimination. It began September 1 and the intent is to deploy necessary resources to treat everyone in the Nation who has jiggers in 90 days. Homes will be sprayed to kill the jiggers. Medicines, spray chemicals, etc. will be distributed throughout Kenya through the clinics.
This is very exciting but we know in any program not everyone is reached. We know the children of Parkishon are the most marginalized children and we know the health situation in Marsabit is critical. The drought has made a difficult situation even more desperate. The children of Parkishon could be missed.

Dr. Paul Farmer, well-known for his work in Haiti, says you must work through and with the governments of developing Nations to affect real change. So, we are going to Marsabit this Saturday to meet with the Ministry of Health to partner with them to reach the children of Parkishon. We will see how we can do our part while they do their part to eliminate the jiggers in this small village. Jigger elinimation involves four parts:

  • Treat the people infected
  • Spray their manyatta
  • Shoes
  • Water

We will let the people who care about the children of Parkishon know what we find out and ask for them to partner with us to help the children. Maybe our part will be to help transport the government workers to this village to spray the manyattas. Perhaps our part will be to put shoes on everyone of the children. Together we can make a difference for these children. We went there last year and treated the children with jiggers. We went there this year and treated the children with jiggers. I pray when we go there with Dr. Craig and Pat and their team in March we don't find children infected with jiggers.

Partnering to care for the least of these,

Connie
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Friday, August 19

Update on baby Yewlanda - this one will make you smile


The following was written by Pastor Hirbo who is the pastor in Marsabit who helped us rescue Baby Yewlando. Kacey and Cris made sure Yewlanda and her siblings were going to be taken care of. Pastor Hirbo is helping.

FROM EDGE OF GRAVE TO NEW LIFE

Yewlanda is a baby girl of 3 years but she looked like a three months old baby when she met a young woman - Kacey. Kacey was on a medical mission trip with her Mom Cris. They were serving with Partners for Care. Yewlanda was half dead, not moving her hands or legs. She only moved her eyes. One day and one night spent in the hospital but no service was given. On Sunday evening at 10 pm I took her to my house carrying her in my arms. Yewlanda lay on the bed with my six month baby boy. My wife (Zainabu) and I prayed for her. Yewlanda was not even able to turn on the bed. My wife woke every two hours to turn her on the bed to another side.

What God Can Do No Man Can.

The second day I saw Yewlanda stand by our bed laughing, I was amazed and did not believe my eyes. The third day Yewlanda walked from our house to the kitchen outside 3 meters away -another miracle.
What has happened;

  • Yewlanda is a hundred percent free from jiggers.
  • Her body is strong so we can take her around other children.
  • Her appetite has increased she is eating well
  • She is a joyful girl throughout and attracts all the village children and mothers and is loved by every one.
  • She never cries a single minute

Yewlanda very happy
Challenges

She left two brothers and three sisters behind at her village who are in the same situation as her
But honor and glory may return to God and blessings to Partners for Care and those who support it.
The six children were malnourished and highly infected by jiggers and not able to come out of their house even for the porridge provided at the nursery school once a day for the village kids.

Most needy at Parkishon
After the 6th Aug, 2011 medical camp by PFC, all of them can now walk from their house to the nursery school to have porridge at the school walking on their own feet. This is a great improvement.
I am visiting them every Wednesday for check up on jigger's infection, their health and to connect them to the clinical support from the government.

The children of Parkishon
Children line up for jigger treatment
Pastor Hirbo treating the children
Boy healed of jiggers proudly walks home
Treated children with new shoes now can walk
Thus far I have a lot to say thank you to Jesus the Father to the fatherless and to Kacey who came so far to save a child. May God bless all those who support PFC and for the lives you are saving. You are helping the marginalized and forgotten people groups of Marsabit.

Pastor Hirbo
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Friday, August 12

Message from Cris to her friends/supporters

This is the message Cris who is here with her 18 year daughter Kacey wrote her friends and supporter. She titled it "Saving baby Yewlanda".


Dear friends and supporters,

We have been very busy and very blessed since we last sent an email. So much has happened and we cannot wait to be able to share it all with you. We have truly come to the end of the earth and we have seen and met the most wonderful people. Today was the best day and the worst day rolled into one. It was our third day of medical mission camps so we figured we knew what to expect, but boy was it different. The children were sicker and so much more in need. We saw over 240 people and many of them were children with parasites (jiggers) in their hands and feet. And it was the dirtiest day yet, the wind blows the dirt so much you just get caked in dirt. It was overwhelming. Kacey got the best graduation present of all today. She fell in love with Yewlanda a little 3 year old girl who is severely malnourished.

Bringing her from the village


Treating baby Yewlanda for jiggers
Because of your genorosity we were able to fund this trip to bring doctors to these little villages where people are suffering so much. So I want you to know you all helped to save a special life today. We transported her to the hospital today. We admitted her there and went to buy what she and her caregiver would need. She only weighs about 14 pounds but she is so beautiful.

Kacey with baby Yewlanda


Baby Yewlanda at the hospital


Please pray for her and her family. The doctors with us say she would not have survived much longer. There are 4 other children in that hut and they did not seem much better off, but she was the worst we found today. I could not hold back the tears today. Kacey and I cried more today than the others combined. This has been an amazing trip so far and we are only half way through. Kacey has not complained once and we have had some tough living conditions plus she has been peed on and pooped on. She is amazing. I wish you could have all seen her today with that baby, she was amazing.


Kacey with baby Yewlanda at the hospital

 We have one more full day in Marsabit with a what if? Event and then we take the long bus ride back to Nairobi. We have a full week planned after that. We will send another update in a few days. Thank you again for your generous donations that provided the medicine for these camps and the soccer supplied for the kids and the books for the leadership team here. I cannot wait to get home and tell you all about the wonderful PFC team here in Kenya. We have been so impressed with each and every one of them. This is an amazing organization.

Love, Cris and kacey
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Thursday, August 11

Feeding the children at CT


Many of you have been involved with the 34 children Nick and Charles have rescued. You have built a home for them and moved them from the slum. You have provided medical care for them. You have fed them, prayed for them and loved them from a distance.

It hasn't been easy for two young men who struggle themselves to care for so many children but they have always believed God would help them to care for the children.

Yesterday the Partners for Care team took them 60 3-month old chickens. Cris and Kacey were amazed to see how they were transported there - in our van without cages! (Bridgette..not the Noah). It was funny to see George driving 60 chickens to the CT children's home. But, George didn't think it was funny to clean the van after the chickens were taken to their new home. But, he understood and took the van to clean it out.

It was so sweet to see the children one by one carry the chickens to the chicken coop. And, Nick and Charles were so excited knowing soon there will be eggs everyday for the children.

One of the children carrying a chicken

Dr. Vincent with the help of Cris, Kacey, Charlo and Franko saw and treated all the children. And, all of them were dewormed.

And, everyone was encouraged to see the sack gardens Nick and Charles have planted....soon there will be greens everyday for the children.

It was a good day...it is always a good day in Kenya when you see the hope of feeding the children.

Thankful for all your love and support for Nick, Charles and their children,

Connie


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GOD IS FAITHFUL...if we continue to TRULY believe! Love to you today from afar...

Bridgette

Monday, August 8

The drought has brought desperate conditions to Marsabit

Marsabit has for many years suffered from drought....but this mission trip we have learned why the cry of the people is so desperate this year. In years past the animals survived the drought but this year the animals have died from the severe drought. The animals that have not died have been taken to Ethiopia by the herders in search of water.

Our overnight bus to Marsabit
Immediately when we arrived we were taken to a village where hundreds of cattle had died. The people are surviving on the relief food that comes once a month...which isn't enough food to feed the people.

Only 2 cows left in this village
Government relief food - not enough for this village
Grazing off barren land 
Where they live
Cataracts are a major problem in this area
We have done three days of medical camps in three different locations. We were blessed to have Pastor Hirbo travel with us for all the medical camps.

Our transport to the medical camps
On Thursday we traveled almost three hours to a village called Kargi. There is only one store and a tiny cafe in this village. We had carried our food as food is scarce there. We treated 250 people. We used our rented Land Cruiser to go to the clusters of manyatta (huts they Iive in) to transport the very sick to see Dr. Vincent and Dr. Joe as some of them were too ill to walk. The main health problem we saw was malnutrition and mature eye cataracts. We transferred two elderly people to the local mission hospital who were emaciated from starvation.

Dr. Vincent treating a patient
Dr. Joe treating a patient
Connie treating a woman with a wound
A child receives her medications

Too sick to come to the doctor - Dr. Joe visits
Taking him to the hospital
He is severely dehydrated
Taking him into the hospital
In this area there have been 180 children enrolled in the government nutrition program since April 4. Three babies have died from malnutrition in the last two weeks.

Saving every grain of the relief food
Children depend on the relief food
 At the end of the medical camp we went to the missionary house where we had hired a local person to cook our dinner. Some of our team slept in a manyatta, some in tents and David slept outside in his sleeping bag.

Some of the team members slept in manyattas

Some slept in tents
David slept outside
The next day we drove further interior and held a medical camp in a village without even a store. The people walk to Kargi (20 kilometers!) for shopping and medical care, but here they had a well and animals. What a difference a well makes. We spent time at the well with the chief and the men of the village as they watered their animals. This village isn't suffering like the other villages we went to.



 

Water makes all the difference

This child had been burnt
The last day we went to Parkishon the village where we held a medical camp last year. Nine people from the Redeemed Gospel Church (our partners on this mission) joined us. We were warmly greeted by the people and appreciated. Some of the people including the chief remembered our team from last year. One man sent a note to Dr. Craig sending his greetings. We were especially encouraged as when the people were prayed for this year and ask about salvation they said they were Christians. These are the same people who accepted Christ last year during our medical camp when Pastor Hirbo prayed for them .
Our hearts were broken at the condition of the people especially the children. They are sicker and more desperate than last year. We were treating the children for the jiggers when they told us there were children in the manyatta that couldn't come to the medical camp because they couldn't walk, their feet were so jigger infected. We took the Land Cruiser to get them. As they brought the children to us and put them in the vehicle we could hardly keep our composure. Not only were their hands and feet jigger infected but they were severely malnourshed and so dirty with rags for clothes barely covering their little frail bodies.


The jiggers affect the children's hands and feet
Treating the children for jiggers
We treated 25 children for jiggers. Some children had severe wounds on their backs caused by intense itching due to massive intestinal worms infestation, We dewormed them and left more medications to the community health workers for repeated therapy. Deworming medication is FREE. It is just getting the medication to the children. Kingsway gives us 1500 tablets every time we do medical camps.
When we finished camp we carried the sickest child back to Marsabit with us. Her name is Yewlanda. She is 3 years old and weighs 14 pounds. She is 40% of the normal weight for her age. She looks like an infant. She is in the final stage of starvation,so frail that she cannot respond to any pain inflicted to her body or even cry. She was admitted to the Marsabit hospital with severe malnutrition and brochopneumonia. Our hearts broke though when we saw the condition of the Marsabit hospital. We knew we couldn't leave her there. In the hospitals in Kenya you must have someone with the children to feed them and provide all their basic needs. There isn't anyone to stay with Yewlanda to help her. Pastor Hirbo and his wife have agreed to take her and nurse her back to health. She was already enrolled in the government nutrition program but no one was able to take her to the clinic for her weekly weigh-in so she can receive the Plumpy Nut. Plumpy Nut is a nutritional supplement that saves children who are starving. Pastor Hirbo will take her to the dispensery every week to get it for her. Kacey, Chris and David bought her clothes, diapers, shoes, a cup, a bowl, a spoon and a pink backpack to carry her things. She will live and grow.


Kacey with baby Yewlanda

Sam with Baby Yewlanda
While we served in the field, Pastor Martin from Redeemed Gospel Church held a 3-day conference for Marsabit pastors. There was a revival every night. Sunday the last day of the conference the church was full. The Partners for Care team did a what if? event with one of the bishops testing publicly. Many signed the commitment cards.

Signing the commitment cards
Pastor Martin and Marsabit pastors
Sammy at the keyboard


The Partners for Care team have all been outstanding in their work. The Temples of Worship played all day for the conference and then in the evening for the revivals. The people including all the pastors loved them. Sammy led the medical team with Dr. Vincent and Dr. Joe, treating over 600 people. Sam and David have captured the desperate situations of the people through photos. We were blessed to have Mark with us from the Lumumba Foundation. Mark served the people passionately especially treating the children with jiggers. Mark will help tell the story in Nairobi.



Mark treating the children for jiggers





Cris and her daughter Kacey have served in the most difficult of conditions without one time complaining or being concerned for themselves. It feels like they have always been a part of Partners for Care. They have cried with us at the condition of the children, laughed together as we hung on in the back of the Land Cruiser as we traveled on the rough roads to the medical camps and together we celebrated the small victories.

Cris treating the children
We ask ourselves what does God want us to do now? We cannot forget the desperate conditions we have seen, the children we have held and loved. We will give our report to the Ministry of Health in Marsabit. We will share the stories and photos in Nairobi to hopefully bring more relief food to this area. We also want to employ a person to make a weekly visit to Parkishon to take the Plumpy Nut to the children and to treat the jiggers. We want to work with Gospel Redeemed Church to help get shoes for the children to prevent the jiggers from infesting their feet. And....we will pray for the children of Marsabit. This is a place where God is needed to bring rain and save the children.

The people are desperate
We are all tired and dirty. The dust here makes everything dirty, nothing is spared from the dust. We leave early this morning for the long bus ride to Isiolo to get our vans and then travel 5 hours to Nairobi. Nairobi will look like a developed city...even Marsabit town looked like a big city after where we have been.

Praying for the children of Marsabit,
Connie.

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