Sunday, July 31

Jesus said, "feed my people"

Never have those words held such meaning to me as they do now. I think Jesus not only intended us to feed His people but to help His people feed themselves.

I have begun to organize my thoughts and assessment of the situation here in Kenya and in the world related to the current food crisis around 4 groups of people.

1. Those who are hungry due to a lack of food security. They maybe eat 1 meal a day.

2. Those who are suffering because they go many days without eating.

3. Those who are starving because they have gone a long time without food or are eating food of poor nutritional value.

4. Those who are dying because of a lack of food.

This trip I have met people that fall in all those categories. Nick and Charles' children aren't starving but they were suffering as last week they went for 5 days with only porridge. The babies and small children at the refugee camp were starving...some dying. Others we know are hungry.

Food or rather a lack of food is the topic of conversation here in Kenya for everyone. It is in the papers daily and on the news every night. Food costs are very high due to the severe drought. Kenyans have launched a program this week "Kenyans Helping Kenyans" raising money to help Kenyans who are suffering and starving in the Turkana and Marsabit areas.

We ask ourselves what can we do as a small organization. Feeding the Somalia refugees has to be the work of the nations coming together through the United Nations and the World Food Program. And they are responding with short and long term plans. In the immediate, emergency situations food is being delivered to those most desperate. Plans also include helping countries plant drought-resistant crops and developing ways to secure water.

So what can Partners for Care do? We feel we can help in the following ways:

1. Helping people plant kitchen sack gardens. One sack cost $5.00 to plant and feeds one child. Three sacks feeds a family.

2. Helping people catch the rain by installing rain guards and rain barrels.

3. Help people with poultry projects - chickens and rabbits. PFC Kenya staff are giving Nick and Charles 50 grown chickens. This will give them eggs and meat.

We feel we are called to help those we know:

Nick and Charles' children

The widows in Mai Mahiu who are caring for children

The orphans and vulnerable children in Maururi Slum

If you want to help you can send money to PFC so the team here in Kenya can follow Jesus command to "feed my people".

Grateful for you messages of encouragement and prayers,

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Wednesday, July 27

Starving children

It is painful to see one starving child...imagine three wards of starving children. That is what we saw today at the hospital at the Dagahaley Refugee Camp. Simple cot like beds lined up in three hospital wards each with a small, frail child and a mom or dad sitting with them, touching them hoping they recover. The first ward were the most severe cases.

4 year old boy severely malnourished
Children who were so malnourished they could only lay on the cot barely breathing. They were being fed with nasogastric feeding tubes. When the children improve in their nutritional status, they move to the next ward. In this ward they can drink from a cup and are fed plumpy nuts (a nutritional supplement used for severely malnourshed babies). The third ward is where the children are moved when they can sit up and eat food. In this ward moms were telling us "better" indicating the children are getting better. There are 146 of these children. There were only 5 before the recent refugees came.

The hospital 24 hour report
There is a fourth pediatric ward where the children are malnourished and have other health problems like burns, abscesses and other medical or surgical conditions. Then there was a tent where there were children in isolation, those with measles and other highly contagious illnesses were managed from there. There was an outbreak with 30 cases of measles.

Pediatric ward for children both malnourished and other illnesses
We were given great favor today as we met with a Director from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) who spent an hour with us showing us the camp and how the people received help once they arrive. There are three refugee camps in this area with the one we visited being the largest. These camps have been here since the mid-nineties when the Somalians started to cross the border for safety. They started with 5,000 a year then 10,000 with numbers recently totaling 106,000. Since the drought in Somalia and the denying of the relief agencies to be allowed in Somalia the number of refugees dramatically increased. They have received 60,000 refugees since June 4. Presently, they are receiving 1,200 people everyday.

1,200 people arriving daily

New arrivals waiting to be registered

The refugees have walked more than 100 kilometers carrying their children. We were told they can start with a family of eight and arrive with one or two children. The children are dying on the long walk from Somalia to the camp. We went to the maternity ward and spoke with the midwife in charge. She said they are delivering 300 babies a month. Women arrive pregnant and having walked that long distance. Some women are showing up at the camp having given birth along the way. Some had not even passed the placenta. We saw families with makeshift carts being used to carry their loved ones to receive help.

A mother trying to save her baby

When the people arrive they are given emergency food and water. We saw so many arriving here. Then they line-up to be registered and are given a wrist band. They are given shoes as many have walked barefoot. All the children are weighted and their nutritional status assessed. They are then immunized. Next the family moves to the food and non-tangible items distribution center. They receive 21-days of food, blankets, a tent and some clothes. Later they are registered to receive monthly rations of food. We walked through the stations with the UNCHR Director and tried to imagine what it must feel like to those who come here and are so desperate for help.

The UN Director explained to us how everything is coordinated. First, the Kenyan government is responsible for security. The UN only backs them. The camp is actually "run" by the Somalians themselves. They are the ones registering people and distributing the food, etc. The medical care is provided by four NGOs. The main ones are Swiss Medicine Sans Frontiers and the same organization from Spain. In the hospital we were in all the doctors were Swiss. They have hired Kenyan nurses and administrative personnel. The elderly are the responsibility of the Lutheran Federation and Save the Children, a UK NGO, is responsible for the children. Care International is responsible for the food. Water comes in everyday in UN water tanks.
We were able to meet with Ann who is the UNHCR Chief Public Health Officer for the camps to ask her about needed medical supplies. We have her email and contact information so we can follow-up with her after we learn more about what can be sent.
Health care is obviously a challenge as so many people are arriving not only with acute issues related to a lack of food and water, but are also suffering from exhaustion and chronic illness that have not been attended to. There is a surgical suite where they are performing surgeries such as hernia repair, cleft repair, incision and draining of abscesses and C-section deliveries. There are also the health challenges related to having so many people housed in close conditions such as the spread of TB. Of the 240 people in the hospital 104 have TB with possible 4 cases of multi - drug resistance TB. Just today some TB experts from Kenyatta hospital came to the camp to help with the patients with multi - drug resistance TB.
The doctors, nurses, relief workers, UN staff, etc. we met and observed were caring and passionate. They are working in extremely difficult conditions. Many have left their countries for months at a time to help these people. And, they are saving the lives of the children. They are losing an average of 4 children a month - children who come too malnourished to save. The rest are getting better. But, no one knows where these children will grow up. Will they be able to return to their homeland or will they grow up in this refugee camp?

Food has improved the life of this child
The bible says the children will suffer for the sins of their fathers. Today we saw the suffering of the children. You can see for yourself in the  photos the suffering on their their eyes. As the people fight the children suffer. The children need peace in their country.

While the adults are fighting, the children are suffering
 One of the many desperate children

Praying for peace in Somalia,

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Dadaab is a very difficult place to get to

We have always talked about Turkana and Marsabit being the ends of the earth...but now we believe Dadaab is the ends of the earth. Dadbaa is about 400 kilometers from Nairobi. The road to Garrisa is about 3/4 of the way and easy travel with tarmac all the way. But, once you leave Garrisa the travel is on sand through the desert. We passed an UN truck that had tipped over - all of the tents they were carrying to the refugee camp were laying in the sand. We passed many dead animals that had starved to death. It took three hours to travel from Garrisa to Dadaab - seemed longer.

Animals dying along the road from Garissa to Dadaab
There is like a NGO village that has been set-up here in Dadaab. Our main goal after we arrived was to determine a safe place to put up the tent. Security is an issue here so we paid the police to set the tent in a secure area with guards.

Difficult travel from Garissa to Dadaab
It is now early in the morning and we plan to follow the UN trucks to the refugee camps.

We all appreciate the emails we received yesterday and the prayers. I read your messages to the team and it encourages them. We all feel so blessed as we have food, water and shelter just minutes from where hundreds of thousands of people are starving. Our prayers are for the relief agencies here that they can coordinate and mobilize in a way to bring relief to these people.

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Monday, July 25

Leaving for the Somalian refugee camp

It is early here in Kenya and we are preparing to leave for the refugee camp in Daadab in eastern Kenya. Most of you probably have heard on the news that due to severe drought and fighting in Somalia refugees have walked across the border about 100 kilometers to a place called Daada. The conditions are severe as there is also drought conditions in Kenya and a lack of shelter, food, water and health care for the thousands of people in this refugee camp. Our purpose in going is to assist an organization in the US who wants to send containers of supplies to these people. We have volunteered to go meet with organizations who are working in the camp to determine what they need and if they would be willing to receive the supplies and distribute them.

Five of us are going including Dr. Vincent. We have secured a Land Rover as the last 4 hours travel will be on sand. We have packed all our food and water for the 3-day trip and rented a tent for sleeping.

The Partners for Care team here didn't hesitate when I asked them if they would be willing to go. They are eager to see how God can use them to help the thousands of men, women and children in this camp.

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Saturday, July 23

Anastasia - now pain free

You can see by the photo posted on www.partnersforcare.blogspot that Anastasia is pain free since her brain tumor was removed. Her vision has not returned but she is so much happier now that she doesn't have the severe headaches caused from the tumor. And, she is so grateful to the Partners for Care staff for "telling her story" and encouraging people to help her. I was touched when we went to see her and she used her hands touching each person's face looking for Justus. You may remember that Anastasia told Justus he was the first person to visit her in the seven years she had lived in the slum.

Anastasia (center) with her husband (left) and Justus (right) 

Thank you to all those who prayed for her and followed her story. Perhaps God hasn't quite finished her story....Connie

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what if? soccer team recognized in the University of Nairobi newspaper

Here's the article.

Friday, July 15

473 children die everyday in we know one of those children

Around noon today Kenya time Baby Chello went into cardiac arrest and in spite of the medical staff's efforts to save her Baby Chello died. Today the number 473 became personal...just like when Baby Elizabeth died last December.
I am so grateful for the wise counsel Bridgette and I received from people that encouraged us to provide whatever help Baby Chello needed. And, we did. Baby Chello had the medical care she needed. She did not die not from a lack of medical care. Baby Chello had a hemthorax, a sign that the malignant had metastatised. We will send the $600 necessary to clear her hospital bill so she can be released to her parents for burial.

Baby Chello, her mom and Bridgette
Sammy, Dr. Vincent and Pastor Martin will go be with her Mom and Dad tomorrow. Baby Chello was their only child. Bridgette reminded me today and I reminded Sammy that even in the death of Baby Chello God must be glorified.

I have ask the team on behalf of Bridgette to buy a white dress, stockings and shoes to bury her in. She will look like a little angel.

Praying for Baby Chello's family,


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Very sad, but God's will.

Loise Ngugi Sauer
Chief Executive Officer
Star Travel & Tours Inc

Sunday, July 10

Bridgette on Mission

Bridgette Boylan, Partners for Care board member went with me on this last trip. She had many people who were her "senders" - praying and donating money for the medical camps, etc. She kept her supporters updated through sending them updates. I sent this message to them when we returned.
To Bridgette's Support Team
Bridgette would never tell you how she helped on this mission trip...but I will. This is Connie, President, Partners for Care. First, I wanted to express my appreciation for everyone of you who supported Bridgette with your prayers, money and love as she traveled to Kenya for this mission trip. As you could tell from her updates to you, the money was used to buy medicines to treat the poor, to fuel the van so the team could travel to help the people, and to help Baby Chello.


Second, I wanted to share with you some things most of you probably already know about Bridgette. She is a woman of beauty - inside and out. She was such a joy to serve with. She went to Kenya with me to serve the Partners for Care team. And, she served them well. Our goal with Partners for Care is to help young Christian leaders to serve God and transform their Nation helping and caring for the poor. Bridgette constantly poured her heart out in loving them, teaching them and being a role model for them.
She swept floors, dried dishes, made beds, helped at the medical camp, took Baby Chello to the hospital, inspired them, reminded them and encouraged them. She listened to them as they told her their stories, their heartaches, their struggles. Sometimes her best teaching moment came when sitting at the dining table just quietly listening to them or when folding laundry or drying dishes.
Bridgette and I laughed, cried, planned, struggled and worked side by side for three weeks. I can't imagine being there without her. The Partners for Care team love her as I do. They will wait for her return.
It isn't always easy serving in Kenya where our laundry is done in buckets and hung outside to dry. We can't just throw it in the washer and dryer. Sometimes for days we don't have water, sometimes no electricity. And, the transportation situation is something one must usually experience themselves to truly appreciate. Two lane roads become four and the cars frequently breakdown and bottom-out!
The Bible says "die for self to live for Christ". Bridgette gives up her comfort and having her needs met so she can serve those 10,000 miles away. For her, it is personal. I know God is pleased.
In appreciation for all those who made it possible for Bridgette to serve,
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Monday, July 4

People not projects

Partners for Care is a small organization trying to follow God's command to "help". Figuring out the way to help isn't always easy. There is help from the Master himself and we study those looking for answers and direction.
We have tried "projects" and don't believe that they have a transforming effect. They may help some people but we haven't seen that for us that is where God wants us to help. We believe the best way we can help is to help the people to help themselves and their community. To do that, PFC has identified leaders here in Kenya that we are helping to develop and we are working to equip them to do what God calls them to do in their Jerusalem, Samaria. Judea, and the ends of the earth. For them their Jerusalem is Maururi slum, their Samaria is Mai Mahui, their Judea is Mombasa and Kissimu and their ends of the earth is Marsabit in the arid lands of Northeastern Kenya. We stand "behind" them helping them as we can. And, we try to stay out of their way as they work to change their villages, their Nation through the transforming believe in God.

I want to share with you a little about how this is happening and who we are equipping.
First, there is the Temples of Worship. They are a powerful worship team who use their gift of music to draw people to hear the message of the gospel and HIV/AIDS prevention. We have equipped them with music equipment - keyboard, drums, guitars, amps, speakers, etc. To date they have reached almost 200,000 people with the message of living pure for Christ and they have brought over 2,100 to Christ. This is just the beginning for this worship team.

The Temples of Worship

We have been helping Sam Wachira as he completes his degree at the University of Nairobi while still being the Communications Director for PFC and the Manager of the what if? Life Changing Center. Sam has the cameras and computers to do his job. He is a major influencer now with the youth of Maruri slum. They look up to Sam and Sam freely shares about God with all the youth in the what if? soccer and volleyball teams. He has become a great leader not only in Partners for Care but on campus. University students volunteer with PFC going to the slums, helping at the what if? Life Changing Center and working with the sports teams. They always tell Sam they feel their lives are changed after seeing and being a part of the work of PFC.


And, there is Samuel Wanjau (Sammy) who has been with PFC since January 2008 when we went to the Internally Displaced People's camps on a Peace Bus. He is the leader of Partners for Care in Kenya and directs the Temples of Worship. Sammy reminds me of what I once heard "in the absence of a leader, a leader will emerge". It was not intended for Sammy to be the leader - it wasn't even his intention. But, over time it became apparent he was the best choice to lead PFC in Kenya. He has become a leader who is greatly respected by those he leads. He works to develop himself as a leader...reading the John Maxwell Leadership Bible, other leadership books, watching inspiring movies of great leaders like Martin Luther King. He is humble and wants to learn how to lead others as they change their Nation with the message of Christ.


We were blessed in January when Dr. Vincent asked to join our team. He took less than half the pay he was receiving in his job to work for PFC because he wants to serve the poor. He moved his wife and new baby to a small apartment near the PFC house and started work. He is a servant of God wanting to use his medical training to make a difference for the poor. He tells me all the time, "I treat, God heals". We are opening a what if? Wellness Center where he will both treat the sick and teach community health. He is working through Kenya's Community Health Workers which greatly enhances his reach. He is doctor to the Partners for Care staff and their families, the what if? sports teams, Joy Vison children's Home and the children at Nick and Charles' children's home. That gives him a case load of over 200 patients before he even opens the clinic.

Dr. Vincent
These are just some of the staff of Partners for Care. I realize it is sometimes easier to raise interest and support for a "project" - something tangible that we can see. But, my experience is that if we help the people they will help others....and they will build the projects.
Trying to help....

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Sunday, July 3

Update on Baby Chello

The answer to my question about whether to help Baby Chello or wait came quickly and was consistent - help her. I appreciate those who took the time to advise us and those who prayed for us for wisdom. The quidance was wonderful.

We don't know what the medical outcome for Baby Chello will be, but we know she will have what she needs to try to save her life. We went to Kenyatta Hospital last night to visit her and her Mom. We found Chello sitting up in bed dressed in a little pink dress. She is in a children's ward with 16 beds all pushed together. The room was crowded with children and parents. While the children receive medical care, the parents are required to meet all their other needs.

Chello was breathing much easier as the doctors had placed a chest tube to remove the fluid. Her abdomen is still swollen with the tumor. On Monday (hopefully) she will receive a CT to determine the extent of the tumor and whether it has spread to her lungs....we pray not. We know Baby Chello has a serious medical condition. Dr. Vincent will continue to work with her doctors at the hospital and keep us informed of her status.

Baby Chello looked at Bridgette as if she could remember Bridgette is the one who took her to the hospital that day when her Mom brought her to the medical camp. Dr. Vincent prayed for Baby Chello before we left turning her over to the Great Physician.

I am so grateful for those who follow this blog reading, responding, advising and praying.

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