Wednesday, August 29

Saving Stephen

All of you have heard us talk about how 473 children die everyday in Kenya. Partners for Care staff in Kenya do what they can to help prevent so many children from dying. And, sometimes, like with Stephen, the staff personally see the miracle of a child saved.

Stephen is a little boy rescued by Nick and Charles of Community Transformers.  He lives at Tree House with the other children Nick and Charles have rescued.  About two months ago Nick contacted me and told me Stephen was very sick. They had tried their best to help him but they knew that Stephen was critically ill.

Stephen, when he was ill

They moved Stephen to the PFC House.  Dr. Vincent, the medical students that were here from the US, Peter's wife, Sammy and everyone helped with Stephen. I asked people who knew Nick and Charles for financial help and people responded sending funds to help. The PFC staff and Charles took him to the hospital and to specialists. Finally after two weeks a diagnosis - TB.

Stephen is now on treatment and responding well. He has moved back to Tree House and I saw him yesterday. I couldn't believe it was the same child. The photos tell the story!

Stephen now
We are grateful for the financial support and the prayers to save a little boy in Kenya.

Saving the lives of children...that is the work of the PFC staff here in Kenya.

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Returning from Kenya

I am returning from Kenya after being there for the last 3 weeks. Traveling with me this trip were Gary and Cris Willis and Kalinda Kundomal, an intern from Emory. She is in the public health master's program.

Kalinda with Rendille children

Cris has been to Kenya with me and supports the work of the PFC team. She wanted to show her husband Gary the ministry. She hoped he would feel the same way about the people in Kenya that she does. It was such a blessing to watch Cris share her passion with Gary and to watch him grow to share the same passion. They have already set the date for their return trip.

Gary with Rendille children
Cris with Rendille children
Kalinda was so much help. I can't imagine going without her next time. She never stopped working while she was there! Not only is she fun and easy to be with, she loves the Lord and has a great servant heart. She helped design the water pack back project and did an excellent job. She has a specialty in parasites and is going to research the jigger parasite for us and evaluate how we are treating and preventing jiggers in Marsabit. She is considering doing her thesis either with the water pack project or on jiggers. I am very grateful to her for ALL her work and help!

And, Liz Blake, VP, Habitat for Humanity and her adult son Addison joined us for part of the trip. Liz is the person responsible for the water pack project. (See previous update about this life-changing project.)

Addison, Liz and little John

This trip:

  1. We traveled twice to Marsabit on the missionary flight to implement the water back pack project.

    Team flying on the missionary flight to Marsabit
  2. Made a transition of staff at the medical clinic. Dr. Vincent has resigned as he told us he is returning to school so he can advance his medical degree. Mary, a public health nurse, is covering the clinic. She will be arranging for a doctor to provide her coverage and consultation as she needs. Mary has been working in the clinic since June and knows how to use mHealth. She will use mHealth to consult with her consulting doctor.
  3. Opened our second what if? Life Changing Center in Marsabit. (See previous update.)
  4. We started a bead project for the Rendile women. 87 women are now organized in groups making medallions from beads that will be sent to Linda (our board member in Michigan) for bags, etc. This project was Linda's and Pastor Hirbo's idea. This is the first time any form of commerce has been introduced in Parkishon. Watching these women sitting in groups making beads was quite an experience! They even have two shifts. A simple project that is making a big difference in the lives of these women.

    Rendille women making medallions
  5. Thanks to a recent donation we were able to purchase a motorbike for use by team members in Nairobi and bicycles for several staff. Most of our staff walk so the bikes help expand their ministry reach.
  6. Held a two-day leaders meeting with the leaders of each of the five ministries of PFC. Each ministry has set goals for the next year. I will send an update later about their plans.
  7. Carried 6 computers for the IT school that were donated to us from a computer school. They are very good computers for the IT students.

    ITT Technical team who donated computers
  8. Reviewed the progress of the mHealth program. While there are some technical changes we need to make, the program is working well. The people of Maururi Slum appreciate knowing they can receive medical help by just making a phone call. Over 600 patients have been seen through mHealth.
  9. Rented additional space for the 2nd Chance school which will double the number of students they can serve - 40 students. This program is making such a difference for so many people - including 6 of our own staff.
  10. Distributed the first crop from our Hope Farm in MaiMahui - 300 kg of beans. We ate the beans for for several meals and they are very good! It is wonderful to know PFC is playing a part in helping people become food secure.
  11. Hosted a friendly match between the what if? soccer team from Maururi with the what if? soccer team in MaiMahui. It was great to see so many boys organized in soccer teams.
  12. Hired someone to direct the HIV/AIDS prevention program. I will make an official announcement later about who this person is. But, I can tell you we are very excited about this person joining Partners for Care. Great things have happened with this ministry and God has even greater plans as PFC expands this ministry!

None of these things could have happened without the financial support received by many people. And, none of the work would happen without the Kenyan team who everyday serve the people of Kenya...changing lives.

Blessed to know those who give and those who do the work,

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Sunday, August 19

Water pack carriers for the women of Marsabit

I met her on a plane. We were both traveling to Washington, DC - her to do her work for Habitat for Humanity and me for my healthcare consulting practice. Two months later we met again...on the same flight to DC. We talked and she showed me a water back pack carrier she had with her in her suitcase. I knew instantly this water back pack carrier could change the lives of the women in Marsabit who walk up to 8 hours carrying water in yellow 20L jerry cans.

The woman I speak of is Liz Blake, Vice President at Habitat for Humanity. She had learned of the water pack carriers and had become passionate about helping to get them to the women and children who carried water on the backs or on their heads long distances. The packs have been developed by Grief, a large packing company. Liz and I agreed to meet when we were both in Atlanta.

A few weeks later I met with Liz and showed her a video David Gruber, co-founder of Partners for Care, had made showing the children in Marsabit being treated for jiggers. Liz understood the connection between the lack of water and the jigger infestation of the children. She said, "No child should live like that".

The water packs are new and Grief wants to "field test" them to see how women would accept them, determine how much time women can save by using the back pack water carrier to carry their water and to find ways to substitute the carriers for the jerry cans. There have been 3 studies to date - one in Guatemala, one in rural Kenya and one in Haiti by Partners for Health. Partners for Care is conducting the 4th study in Marsabit.

Last week we went with Liz on the missionary plane to Marsabit to show Pastor Hirbo the water packs. We went with Pastor Hirbo to Parkishon so he could train the Rendile woman on how to use the packs. The Rendile laughed and smiled at this new way to carry water.

Hopefully, this difficult way of carrying water will someday be obsolete

Water back packs - much easier for women to carry water

Tomorrow we return on the missionary plane to take more back pack carriers and train community health workers on the proper use of the packs. A representative from Grief is fling in from Amsterdam tomorrow morning to travel with us to Marsabit.

There are many people working on an international launch to get these packs to become the standard way to carry water replacing the unsafe jerry cans. Partners for Care is excited to partner with the people and organizations working on this initiative.

We feel very blessed to be a part of changing the lives of women and children - one water back pack at a time!

From Kenya,


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Sunday, August 12

what if? we go home

I have forwarded you the latest Steve Saint video update. Watching Steve on this and the other videos always moves me. He is so courageous and in all things he gives glory to God.

I was surprised and humbled to see Steve wearing his what if? hat I gave him last year when we met at the medical mission conference. If you watch the video you will hear Steve say to his wife at the end of the video "what if? we go home?". After 7 weeks in the hospital and rehab center Steve is home. He still has a long road ahead of him as he recovers and regains the ability to walk and care for himself. I pray for Steve a full recovery. 


Click on this image to view the video:

"There's No Place Like Home" The Next Chapter
The fourth update on Steve Saint's road to recovery from his paralyzing accident.