Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Leaving Limuru

Sunday, November 16
This was to be our last day of the trip, and we were all pleased with what we had accomplished and knew we would miss our fellow Kenyans, yet at the same time looking forward to seeing our families and loved ones again. After that wonderful banquet on Saturday night when we were honored by the Kenya staff we had worked so closely with all week, we split up into pairs and attended the churches in the Limuru Presbytery. Again, some of us were asked to bring devotionals, sermons, songs and greetings from our California home. We did ask the parishoners to pray for those affected by the California wildfires.

We had a traditional Kenyan lunch at the girls orphanage, as we said goodbye to all of the new friends we met. They attached to us in groups of 4-5 girls, making us pictures, singing us songs, and returning hugs, asking when we can come again. This orphanage will be accepting new girls into their home in December, and are visited regularly by all of the churches in the area. The girls, ranging in ages from 5-14 are healthy, well-loved and happy.

Our afternoon duties involved re-packing all of the medicines to be left behind and distributed to the dispensaries, personal packing and one final meeting before dinner. We all had brought several ideas which we hope can be put into action for the next team to come, learning from us to better serve the children of Kenya and bring glory to God.

We thank all of your for your prayers and support throughout the trip, it was a wonderful experience and we are now all looking forward to a safe flight home, returning to our work and families, knowing we have made a difference in Kenya that will continue for a long time to come. Collette has been a tremendous leader and went on to Mombasa, where she and the Presbytery will be planning the next several trips. We can't wait to see you all in person, and share our photos and stories!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Treating Patients and Training Others

Wednesday, November 12
The yellow team headed out to Ndeiya Tiekunu, with no problems of getting stuck in the mud. All went well and they treated over 130 children and adults.

At Kahuho, the green team was told to expect 80 patients, however, when we all entered the church for prayers and blessings on our day, we saw there were more than 600 people waiting for us. We set up our clinic in the tiny birthing center and tried to organize the crowds so we could see the sickest patients first. We sent the people who needed tylenol and had symptoms of joint and back pain up to the church. When they were all assembled, there was standing room only and one of our therapists instructed all 250 in body mechanics and postural changes. Our respiratory therapist then laid herself on the ground to demonstrate sleeping postures. It was a huge hit!

Back at the clinic, we had to make an emergency run for more medication and did end up treating 400 patients.

Thursday, November 13
We were up very early as both teams drove to Nyeri, a children's home. Children here are selected for room and board based on need as most of their parents are sick or deceased. We provided individualized care for all of the students. We also worked with several disabled children providing feeding equipment and improved exercises. Our physicial therapist spent all day treating the staff and older adults.

Friday, November 14
We have finished treating in the clinic and are very sad this part of our trip is over. Today we prepared for a clinic to teach the healthcare workers and parish nurses how to treat the children while we are gone.

Saturday, November 15
All of the team put on individual treatment sessions regarding their specialities from 9 AM until 2 PM. We provided handouts and Education Certificates for the attendees. They were very happy with all of the information they were given.

After lunch the Riders for Health presented this Presbytery team with 10 motorcycles that will be used to transport medicine throughout the various dispensaries. The evening ended with a banquet attended by the Limuru City Council and various parish officials.

We have all had a wonderful time in Kenya and look forward to church tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Murengetti and Uplands Dispensaries

Tuesday, November 11
After a long day on Monday traveling back to Limuru, both teams treated patients at dispensaries located nearby. It was cold and rainy most of the day, however, this was the first day in quite some time where no one got stuck in the mud! The green team treated patients at the Murengetti dispensary, while the yellow team (minus a couple of sick members) treated at the Uplands dispensary. Both dispensaries were unique in that they actually did have some equipment and medications already available. Both teams saw several severely mentally and physically handicapped children. The yellow team had a patient with what looked like osteomyelitis (severe skin ulcerations possibly to the bone). Afterwards, some had the opportunity to visit a nearby hospital that holds about 50 patients. We were amazed at the conditions, but there are very little money and supplies to work with, so they do the best they can. We visited the pediatric ward, which had several severely burned children from spilled water, tea, etc. They were very lively and enthusiastic, smiling and showing us around the unit. Others went to the girl's home (orphanage) and enjoyed singing songs and dancing along with them. We then ate dinner and afterwards some enjoyed the late night task of repacking medications and supplies for the next morning.

Jennifer Okamura, PharmD

Stuck, but blessed

Monday, November 9
On Monday we left Amboseli Wildlife Park in the rain heading for more treatment in Karero and Maranga. It was a two-hour ride in a 4-wheel drive over bumpy roads, but the country was beautiful. In Maranga the two teams split. One stayed in Maranga and treated at a church there; the other headed for Karero. The team that stayed were able to treat about 175 people in a church. The team worked together well and efficiently. We are learning much, Jen (pharmacist) is even learning a little Masaii and Kiswahili.

The other team headed for Karero. The pastor had shared that it may not be possible due to the rains, but we had landrovers and 4-wheel drives, so it was attempted. Three kilometers off the main road, the first landrover got stuck, then the second landrover went to help pull it out and got stuck. One of the landrovers that had stayed with the other team was called to assist and it got stuck. So... the fourth landrover stayed out of the muck and brought back some of the team to assist with treatment in Maranga. It took a bunch of our people, a bunch of Masaii men, a bunch of tree branches and 2,000 ksh, and five hours to finally free all the landrovers. The men were covered in mud and tired. We then had a three-hour drive back to Limuru. It was a long tiring day, but we arrived safely to a warm dinner, warm beds and showers.

God continues to bless us. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekend Update

Saturday, November 8
We had a great night's rest in a tent camp; we were serenaded by monkeys at night and saw deer all around our camp. We jumped into the vans and headed deep into the Masai Mara. What a beautiful morning, one of the first times it wasn't raining. We all got to see elephants, giraffe, secretary birds, ostrich, warthogs, and many more animals, and because it is spring here, many had new babies. But the best were the wildebeest. They mate in Tanzania, then begin the summer migration into Kenya, where the babies are born, and then in late November they head back. We saw the beginning of this: when one starts, they all follow; it was like the "running of the bulls" African style. They run with the zebras as they have better eyes, and the wildebeest have better ears—a great friendship. Of course, we couldn't go a day without being stuck, this time near the lion pride as we tried to get closer to see two new cubs hiding behind their mom. We did get out, and again due to rain, had a stop at another hotel to have tea and wait out the storm. Another great dinner at the lodge ended our day.

Sunday, November 9
In the morning, a church service in our own Kenyan style. Then we boarded a plane on a small dirt airstrip headed east to Amboseli for our next afternoon safari and to actually get us quickly where we needed to see more villages and provide care. The plane flies in supplies to the needy, called Samaritan's Purse. Our afternoon safari here was much different: very flat plains, a few hippos. The highlight here was watching the elephants deep in the mucky swamp, feeding on all of the vegetation. Mt. Kilamanjaro was fogged in at the top, but we enjoyed the view at the bottom. We did hike up a smaller viewing site, took many team photos and enjoyed a beautiful view across the plains. Another great night's sleep for all ended our playtime on the weekend, and we are back at work come Monday.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our Busy Week

Tuesday, November 4
Our morning began with breakfast and devotionals. We split up into 2 teams: one went north from Narok Town to a location at 10,000 feet called Olkaka. We were greeted by the Maasai elders who gave us permission to treat their village. After prayers and blessings to start our day, we setup operations and treated between 400 and 500 children and adults. Many of them had respiratory diseases due to the high altitude. We ended the day singing with the school children, and were then hosted by some local Maasai leaders for supper. The delicious meal included Kenyan delicacies such as goat knuckles, curried vegetables, cabbage, kale and tea.

The second group went to Endonyo Narasha. Our dispensary was set up In a local church. While the kids were waiting in line we kept them entertained by blowing up rubber gloves. They benefited from our lab tests which were able to detect numerous parasites which enabled us to treat them. We took one child to the hospital with a serious respiratory problem. We ended the day rejoined with the other group to debrief and share our experiences.

Wednesday, November 5
We were up early to drive deep into the southern Maasai land. Again our team split and went to Olkainyei and Murua Dikirr. A highlight of the day was our greeting by Maasai school children in traditional dress and song. Both groups were able to treat new mothers with babies with nutritional and medical care. Both of our teams consisted of Kenyan and American partners working together ministering to the Maasai people. We have grown to love and respect each other in this shared ministry. Again this day we served over 500 patients.

Thursday, November 6
Moving even farther into Maasai land, we encountered one of our continuing challenges: the weather and terrain. Each morning we would arise hoping to get to our destination early, only to find that we were stuck in the mud and had to push our vans to our destination. After treating 300 to 400 patients, we ended our day at the Acacia Grove Mission Station in a remote area. Gary and Mary, missionaries from Northern Ireland were our hosts. Gary instructed us not to leave the compound due to wild animals and a resident leopard. We spent the night at the mission, dormitory style, in an all night rainstorm.

Friday November 7
After a very long winding rocky path, the first group arrived at Sienna. As there were no buildings on site, they worked out of their van to provide health care. The nurses treated on the grass; the pharmacists gave out meds from the back of the van. The farther south we went, the children were much sicker. Here the team saw malaria, brucellosis, and pneumonia. On the ride home they had extra passengers, as one of the nurses bought two chickens to take home for dinner. The second team went to a boarding school. They were allowed to fly the Kenya flag because it was Friday, however, also because it was Friday, many of the older women and men had gone to market. They walk many miles with their livestock to sell and then purchase grains for the week. Our MD saw that many of the children had mumps in this area. We were able to provide lots of care to these school-aged children and some spoke enough English to help in the pharmacy. We were all packed and ready to leave when a boy came up to us with blood dripping from his forehead. He had received a rather large gash from a rock that was thrown on the playground. We were able to close the wound and get back on the road, arriving before the rains came. This is supposed to be the short season of rain, but we have certainly had a lot.

By the end of the first week, the doctors and nurses on our two teams had diagnosed and treated over 2,000 patients. The therapists provided education, exercises, and treatment right on the spot to adults and children alike with many varied diagnoses. Our nutritionist gathered groups of children to teach about basic food groups and gave multi-vitamins to all. At every site our pharmacists worked all day formulating the proper meds and using translators to ensure everyone took them properly. Our team is doing very well, we thank you for your support and prayers, and after a busy week, we will enjoy a safari day Saturday at the Masai Mara.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Great Day!

November 3
Headed out early to the Nairasirasa Dispensary which is located adjacent to one of the churches that one of our groups had attended the prior day. An estimated 450-500 patients were treated in a day that strained our resurces a little bit but ended up treating or couselling all people who came.

The patients were primarily Masai wearing the attaire of that tribe using red as the dominant color. All members of the team performed tirelessly in an environment that many were unacustomed to; setting up in a small bare-walled building, bringing in everything that one would need, dignosing and treating patients through an interpreter and trying to perform the best service possible realizing that the team would be moving on to a different location the next day.

After returning to our hotel, the team dined together and met to discuss accomplishments, areas of improvement and plans for the next day.

Narok

November 2
We traveled by van for approximatly two and a half hours from Limuru to Narok, entering the Great Riff Valley. We arrived at our hotel well before noon. After checking in, we split into two groups and attended services at two churches in Narok with our Limuru Presbytery and local parters. Speakers from our group provided short sermons at both services. In the evening, U.S. and Kenyan members of the team had dinner together and met to plan out the next day. Each of the two teams that attended local church services also visited orphanages supported by the Limuru Presbytery. The time spent at the orphanages was certainly rewarding.

Limuru Presbytery

November 1
The US team members attended a welcoming event at the Limuru Presbytery Headquarters. It was also attended by the mayor of Limuru and his staff as well as many Kenyan members of the joint medical team who were to participate in the November 2008 medical relief project.

Quite a Welcome!

October 31
After the safe arrival of the US members of our team at the Nairobi Airport, we were greeted at the airport by key members of the Limuru Presbytery as well as the mayor of Limuru and some of his staff. The U.S. team members then traveled to Limuru 30 miles north of Nairobi and checked into our lodgings.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Safe Return

As of this report, everyone has safely returned to their homes from our trip to Kenya. The last two days went by in a blur. The medical team taught a great course for 65 health professionals. The healthcare team in Kenya met today and felt it was the best course yet. They have agreed to focus on good diagnostic exams and testing. Changes were made so that both Uplands and Murengetti will qualify as health centers and receive more government funding. In addition, 40 parish nurses have been selected. Each of the larger parishes will have three nurses while the smaller parishes will have two. Reports from each parish nurse after attending church services twice a month to provide free healthcare services will be sent to Joseph. Joseph is a newly hired pharmacist, who will serve to coordinate the purchase and stocking of pharmaceuticals, as well as serve as the assistant coordinator of health services under Nahashon.

We also went to the Girls Home to say goodbye to the girls and were surprised when the dormitory was named after Pat Day, "Day Dormitory." This was quite an honor. The next day we again went to several churches. Tom and Pryor Vestor, Pat Day and Jesse Cozean went to my home church, Karanga, where Pat Day participated in serving communion. Then Tom and Pryor went to another church to share testimony and greetings. Pat stayed and played hymns at Karanga, while both Jesse and Pat led in special music, the children's sermon and testimony. Colette went to a graduation ceremony for the T.E.E. (a lay ministry education that will graduate 20,000 lay persons in 3 years). She had the privilege of handing out diplomas, hoods and speaking to the graduates, before preaching to the congregation.

The afternoon ended with a final trip to the Girls Home and meetings with Presbytery after a lunch at the home of Nahashon Mbiu.

In summary, the trip was very successful. We were able to work with two dispensaries to help them qualify for the next level of services and complete training of the trainers. Jesse also trained a technician. We also worked with three of our newest nurses and lab techs to improve their skills. Our trip to Karero was a remarkable demonstration of teamwork as we treated 165 patients in a little over three hours and shared the gospel with the Maasai. We had five stations with two nurses or clinical officers each and a translator to treat patients. Pat Day took patients to each station and then to the dispensary. Jesse, Tom Bhavi and Joseph worked the dispensary with help at times from John and Esther (the lab techs). Julie (our marketing person), Grace (a nurse from the Women's Guild) and Stanley (the Presbytery treasurer) screened all the patients. What teamwork!

World Vision and World Relief have taken the first steps towards working with us in our healthcare programs and increasing our farming activities.

We signed a notable agreement with the Limuru Municipal Town Council that was approved by the Deputy Prime Minister for Local Government at the National level. This agreement states that they will provide social services workers to work with our orphanage and sponsorship programs, transportation assistance, and funding for food at the orphanage. The Provincial Minister of Health also agreed to provide drugs and to sponsor 60-80% of the personnel in our dispensaries. Both of these agreements show the strong support the government has for our programs and will help these programs attain sustainability earlier. It also affirms the significant achievements of our programs for orphans and healthcare in the last two years.

The Saturday health course was outstanding, covering many of the requested topics. The orphanage workers were trained in first aid. 20 new parish nurses were trained. The newest parish, Kahuho, sent eight people and expressed an interest in growing their health services with our assistance. Our team was very strong and ably augmented by the trained medical trainers, the Presbytery and Partnership officials and many others.

Please keep Limuru Presbytery in your prayers as they continue to expand these programs and reach the needy with Jesus' love and practical care.

Blessings, Colette

P.S. My sincere and heartfelt thanks for all of those of you who went on this trip and served so spectacularly. It was a privilege to work with you - I can't imagine a better TEAM. Also, thank you to Hoag Hospital who sent and supported three members of the team.

Colette

Medical Team Safe Return

Our team is back in America, safe and sound, after spending just under two weeks in Kenya. The Kenyan people welcomed us to their country from the moment we arrived to the minute we left. Whether they were serving us meals in their homes or inviting us to return to their country, they never stopped assuring us that "You are welcome again and again."

From a healthcare perspective, our medical team was able to share information with both the healthcare workers and the patients regarding prevention, diet, hygiene, and medication. We all learned how much culture influences healthcare. The healthcare workers are doing a remarkable job of being sensitive to the Kenyan culture while integrating modern medicine into their practices.

Our team was blessed to visit the Girls' Home several times throughout our stay in Kenya. The 50 girls that live in the home are completely full of life. They showered us with love every time we visited them. Colette observed that the progress they have made during their several month residence in the home is remarkable. They are physically healthy and contagiously happy. The girls receive balanced meals, clothes, and love and support from each other and the staff at the home. You cannot interact with these girls and leave unchanged. On Saturday night, the Home was formally dedicated to Colette's father. The plaque on the front of the home will always commemorate the name of Pat Day.

Success! What an experience. We were all able to enter into the work that God is doing in Kenya. Surely, the people and the country of Kenya will not easily escape our hearts as we return to our lives in America.

Pryor Vestor, RN

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Health Team Checks In

It has been an outstanding trip, with support gained from World Relief and World Vision organizations in Kenya. The goal is to empower Kenyans to grow and sell corn to improve their economy and thus services. World Vision plans to follow up with us on HIV prevention programs and lifestyle training programs with materials for our clinic's service to populations.

Today, 65 health team members were trained on First Aid, health screening, prevention, health assessment, medication management, and lab testing, as well as having tools clarified for better diagnosis and treatment. Staff learning curves still require growth time yet they all received the program well, and are motivated to improve their practices.

The Upland dispensary was audited by the Minister of Health and passed with flying colors.

It has been a blessing to provide services to Masai in the newest clinic, which is underway and incorporates culture sensitivities.

All programs to be supported by World Relief and World Vision will be outlined on our return.

Some significant accomplishments of this trip are the partnerships being refined. The Department of Health Ministry has committed to support 60% of Health Officers salary if all requirements are met. The Limuru town council has budgeted to support the orphanage and medical programs. Counseling and outreach programs are being clarified.

Blessings to each of you and thank you for this opportunity.

Sincerely,
Angela, John and Bhavi

Friday, May 30, 2008

This week

On Sunday the medical team split up and participated in church services at the different parishes of the Presbytery. Later that day, we spent the afternoon with the girls at the orphanage in Limuru and we had lunch there. The girls were very excited to see us and they played hard with us. We took lots of pictures. After lunch they sang for us. Sunday night the Hoag team was still jet lagged so we tried to sleep unsuccessfully.

Monday morning the group went to the Uplands dispensary to observe and train the local healthcare workers. Angela and Pryor mentored nurses, John worked with the lab tech, and Bhavi helped with patients and recommendations on best practices for dispensing medications and pharmaceuticals. Monday afternoon we did the same thing at Murrengetti.

On Tuesday, we repeated the same thing as on Monday in reverse. We treated and mentored at Murrengetti in the morning and Uplands in the afternoon. We managed to sneak in a short drive to the Rift Valley lookout point before starting our day. It was a spectacular view.

Wednesday was our play day and we flew to Amboseli National Park. What a treat! We went on Safari and saw all types of animals—elephants, lions, monkeys, hippos, etc. Just as we were leaving, Bahvi was visited by a "giant black hairy spider" as she was walking out of the room. She was glad to leave for the day and leave the room to the unwanted visitor.

Early Thursday morning we loaded the land rovers and started our trek to the remote Massai village of Karero. It took us four bumpy hours to get there. When we finally arrived, we were pleased to find a large empty building where we were to set up our clinic to treat the locals. We did exactly that and by the end of the day we had seen 165 patients. Unfortunately, there was not much lab equipment there, so there wasn't much we could offer in the way of diagnostic testing. Therefore, John went to work in the pharmacy counting pills. The highlight was when Bhavi and Joseph were cutting tablets and opening bottles with a machete. It was quite an experience for all of us. We all worked very hard but felt we had accomplished what we had started out to do. We drove back to Nairobi where we had dinner at the house of Evelyn's mother. Evelyn is the director of the Girls Home. We were all very hungry, pleased and thankful to find a delicious Kenyan style dinner waiting for us. After getting back home to Brackenhurst we all slept like babies.

Today is Friday morning and Colette and others from the medical team went to several meetings with World Vision and other philanthropic organizations. The rest of us stayed here in Brackenhurst to enjoy a day off. As I was walking to breakfast this morning I heard someone scream my name. It was Bhavi who had been visited by the "spider" once more. I went in the room and when we tried to capture it, it hid behind the wood (and it wasn't as "big and hairy" as I had perceived). We sprayed it with insect repellent and hoped that it would not come back to hunt her.

John Cartaya and Bhavi Shah

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunday and Monday

On Sunday, we went to 7 different parishes. Angela Halpin from Hoag and I preached. Julie Krueger went to 4 churches in the new parish to share about the partnership and then saw their birthing center. Pat Day and Jesse Cozean went to church with the girls from the orphanage. Pat played several hymns. He and Jesse did a piano and guitar duet. Jesse accompanied the girls from the home singing Romans 16:19 and gave a testimony. John Cartaya and Bhavi Jani went to a Harambee of all the churches in Uplands Parish. Pryor and Tom Vestor shared a testimony in Ndeiya.

We then met for lunch at the Girls Home and played with the Girls the rest of the afternoon.

Today, we treated patients at Murengetti and Uplands dispensary and trained several nurses, lab techs and pharmacists. Julie and Tom also conducted a seminar on marketing the dispensaries to the session, property and women's guild leaders. Some of us left in the afternoon to meet with the Permanent Secretary for Local Government - the #2 official in this office after the Deputy Prime Minister. They have agreed to waive all taxes on our containers and support the food for the Girls Home with a budget item. In addition, they will continue to provide support for social services, medical care, etc. I am told that this meeting was a great privilege. They will sign an agreement with the partnership on Fri.

Following this meeting, the marketing group went to see how products are sold with the Mayor and Councilman as tour guides. I went to speak to a partnership meeting of Chigori partners and No. Dakota partners at PCEA. We just finished dinner with the mayor and other dignitaries.

Finally, the team sorted eight large suitcases of medical equipment for distribution. We also had many items for the orphange.

Thanks for your prayers.

Colette

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Safe arrival

Our team has arrived safely. We were greeted by the Mayor and CEO of the Limuru Town Council, who are now our partners. They have decided to help fund the Girls Home and to continue to provide social workers to select the girls and check on them.

We stopped by the Girls Home. They are doing really well. Pray for Sarah who is still ill. The girls sang us numerous songs that they had learned last time we visited. All of the Presbytery officials who greeted us are doing well.

Blessings, Colette Cozean

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Safe Return

We have all returned safely home. The medical team arrived on Sunday, April 13, while Revs. Birchfield and Dolan and Dr. Cozean arrived on Wednesday, April 17. On Saturday, we trained 45 health care professionals from 3 hospitals, 4 dispensaries, and 20 healthcare workers. The all-day course covered topics requested by the Limuru Presbytery Healthcare Committee. Course reviews were excellent with many more requested.

On Sunday, Colette and Rev. Jim, preached at churches in Limuru and Nyeri. Colette then spent the day playing with the orphanage children with bubbles, soccer, volleyball, reading books and teaching them new English songs. A few Presbytery meetings were also held.

Monday was spent at Olkenyei. Again after a difficult drive inland (near Mt. Kilimanjaro), we met with the dispensary board, town elders and women, Milimani Presbytery officials and officials from the group that built the dispensary. Everyone agreed that the partnership of Limuru and Los Ranchos would sponsor the dispensary, while Milimani Presbytery agreed to sponsor the formation of a church in the area. The community will provide funds for the nurse, lab tech and pharmacist. The community requested that we establish the dispensary before the rainy season (May 15th) so that they would not lose so many members to malaria. They also requested that we start a church so they could learn about Jesus, since we are acting in His name.

We spent the night at Amboseli National Park at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In the morning we awoke to beautiful views of the mountain as the sun came up. The day was spent in driving back to Nairobi and meeting with Partnership and Presbytery officials.

In summary, the medical team had a very successful trip accomplishing five goals:
• Establishing two dispensaries
• Training new dispensary staff
• Training a training team of three persons to continue this work when we are not “in country”
• Training 45 healthcare workers and medical professionals
• Establishing an inventory system for pharmaceuticals
We were also able to confirm the performance and recordkeeping of two established dispensaries.

The Girl’s Home is doing very well. The children are happy and they are receiving good food, clothing, education, and most importantly, love. It was great to hear their laughter and see their healthy bodies. The hugs were wonderful too.

Jim Birchfield was able to plan for his trip of college students from St. Andrew's in July. They plan to spend time working with Limuru Presbytery in Olkenyei and at the Boy’s and Girl’s Homes.

Thank you for your prayers during our travels.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Update from Dr. Colette Cozean

Limuru Girls Orphanage:
Currently, 52 girls are enrolled. The malnutrition is all gone, their beds are all beautifully made and they have their toothbrushes and cups all lined up. They all have uniforms with their initials hand-stitched on them—more than likely by the children themselves as they are slightly off-kilter and cute. They are all very well behaved and they talk to each other, giving positive reinforcement and support. They know about 50 Christian songs, about half of them in English, and they sang at least 35 songs for me.

The girls walk about 45 minutes to school. Seven of them are preschool age. All the girls currently rank in the top 10% of their class. One of them wants to be a doctor.

Amazingly, they have all been found to be clear of the HIV virus. Considering many of them lost at least one parent to HIV, this is a wonderful blessing. Many of the girls have worms and fungal infections. They hope it clears up soon; otherwise, they may have to shave their heads.

One girl has celulitus. They acquired medicine for her on Friday, and she remained home from school to recover. They do not really have money for the medicine long-term. They believe if she can keep it clean she will be okay. The regular clothing they have is decent. They are waiting for the money to arrive for their shoes. In the meantime, they are wearing size 8 or 9 flip-flops, and their feet are size 1 to 2. Needless to say, their shoes are falling off their feet and breaking off, etc.

The accounting for expenditures is being handled perfectly. They will give me all receipts before I leave to come home. They are doing a wonderful job. Edith will be taking over the job as Head of Finance, and Stanley will be the new Treasurer.

There is a need for more teachers in the school as there are 60 kids per classroom, a very large size for a classroom. They even have the motorcycle man helping. They are also thinking about bringing in the Presbytery teachers to help with teaching.

They have established the Orphanage Board which consists of sixteen high-powered professionals; teachers, former principals, financial industry reps., etc. I feel encouraged. This board will oversee the girl’s orphanage, the sponsorship program and the soon-to-be-opened boy’s orphanage. They have their first cow and a few chickens. They feel the next dorm can have 80-90 children. The dining hall has a roof, but no windows, and will need about $20,000 to complete. The computer cafĂ© is still in the works.

Overall: It is easy to see how the clinics and the orphanage will be sustained, but it will take a little longer to do so. They were truly hurt by the violence, and many still do not have jobs. The clinics are running at only 40% of normal. Marengetti residents have not been paid since September. They are encouraging the Presbytery to help pay residents at least one month’s pay during this difficult time.

Medical: Narok Clinic- They were able to treat between 80-100 people. They could not treat everyone but that was mainly due to the set-up time required beforehand.

Olkenyei - They were able to treat all 35 people. One patient was a baby who had traveled three days and was very dehydrated, so much so that the baby did not cry. They did what they could and drove the child to the hospital and have been told the baby will make it. This would not have happened had they not been there. The Irish man who started the orphanage in Olkenyei says there are about 100 girls who need sponsorship at $10-15 per month. Further planning is needed.

Many of the patients are quite ill. One in particular had very badly aligned broken bones which must be reset, but it can be done at a hospital there.

The Team: On Friday they met with CHOC, MEDS, and local missionaries in Nairobi and toured Tegoni Hosipital in Limuru. Today, they will be training 50 people, including 10 from Narok at Brackenhurst. The medical team is heading back to the U.S. Saturday night.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Safe Arrival

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your support and prayers for our work with our brothers and sisters in Kenya. We have all arrived safely, although not without incident, in Kenya this week. While traveling, two members of our team were delayed by a snowstorm in London, but after suffering through an additional night’s stay in one of the most desirable tourist locations in the world, arrived safely.

So far, we have managed to set up another two medical dispensaries in Kenya, bringing us up to a grand total of six functioning clinics out of the thirteen that we have planned out. Even more importantly, we have started training a selected group of clinical officers, nurses, pharmacists, and lab techs who will be able to set up dispensaries on their own, as well as training other medical personnel once we have left. We are always concerned with making all of our projects self-sustaining, and by training these individuals, we will be leaving behind a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be then disseminated through the rest of the country.

We have also met with more than 600 of the remaining refugees from the recent political turmoil in Kenya; the refugees who Geneva raised money to feed when they had been without food for almost a week. While the vast majority of the displaced families have been able to return to their homes, the few lingering refugees had a touching ceremony to express their gratitude for our intervention. The governor of the region also asked to meet with us to thank us for our concern for his people and the aid that we sent.

Thank you for your interest, we will continue to try and send you updates as our trip progresses.
Colette Cozean

Friday, April 4, 2008

2008 Mission Trip

A team of six people left for Kenya this weekend. Irene Lange, RN and Dr. Colette Cozean from Geneva are leading a medical team of 4 people including a lab tech from Hoag Hospital, Ildiko Hill, and a pharmacist (formerly of Trinity Presbyterian), Michael Harvey. In addition, Rev. David Dolan of Los Ranchos Presbytery and Rev. Jim Birchfield of St. Andrews Presbyterian are participating. Please keep them in your prayers.

We will not hear anything from them for the first three days as they are starting in Narok (Masaii land) and there is no computer access. Here is their schedule for those first few days:

Sunday - Dave and Colette will preach and meet with Limuru Presbytery. Knowing Colette, I am sure that she will also be over to greet the 52 girls in the girls home as they wake up on Sunday.

Monday - Establish a dispensary in Nairasirasa (near Narok). Two to three people will be hired as permanent employees after being screened by the medical team. They will then train two groups—the new employees plus a training group traveling with them from Limuru. It is planned that this group of clinical officers, nurses, lab tech and pharmacist will train other groups when our teams are not in the country.

Tuesday - Establish a dispensary in Olkenyei (near Masi Mara). This Masaii town is near the elephant pass in the mountains. They are the group that came to know the Lord on Colette's last visit. The nurse at Olkenyei was originally trained by Irene Lange. The Limuru healthcare group has already carried the hospital beds and other equipment to this site through the mud.

Wednesday - Meet with the leaders of the refugee camp in Narok, which was assisted by the Los Ranchos donations. They would like to thank us for our urgently needed and timely gifts of food and other necessities. Meet with the head government official of the Narok region and the Minister of Health. Meet with the medical patrons and church leaders and then drive back to Limuru by way of some beautiful lakes and scenery.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Butterfly and Angel Pin Presentation

The Orphange Committee for the Woman's Guild of the the Presbytery of Limuru is comprised of eight ladies who have worked tirelessly to make the vision of this orphanage a reality. We gave the ornately designed, colorful pins to remind them that these girls will be taken from the cocoon of fear and become butterflies under the tender love of those involved in this mission. The angel pins were given to subcommittee members as their daily contibutions may be entertaining angels unaware. The butterfly and angel pin presentations took place at the dedication of the orphanage. The text of the presentation is available here. [The link opens the text file in Adobe Acrobat format, which requires the Adobe Acrobat reader, available here for free download. (Opens in new window.)]

Rev. Tom Cramer's Dedication Sunday sermon

The previous post has been edited to include a direct link to Rev. Tom Cramer's sermon, available here. [The link opens the sermon in Adobe Acrobat format, which requires the Adobe Acrobat reader, available here for free download. (Opens in new window.)]

Dedication Sunday

Dedication Sunday began with a parade of all church elders and pastors and American visitors following a military band and contingent from the Boys and Girls Brigade. We marched from the pastor's manse (for which we dug the foundation two years ago) about 1/2 a block to the fields that house the orphanage and well. The service actually started at 11 (about 1 hour late - but remarkably timely according to Kenyan time). Although they set seats for 3000, the worker's had to lay more and more lumber across the foundation to provide seating as people kept coming.

After the opening prayer given by Alison Yamaguchi (the wife of the Executive Presbyteer of Los Ranchos Presbytery and a valuable member of the medical team) and a hymn, five groups led in praise songs. These included the Women's Guild from Kamandura, who sang about the need to care for orphans; the Masaii from Narok in full tribal garb, who sang and danced (they left at 6 a.m. and traveled more than 3 hours to be with us over very rough roads); the Lari Parish; Los Ranchos (We sang two songs including some in Swahili and then our youth sang another song. We were then asked to sing an encore in Swahili with all members of the medical team and healthcare teams from Limuru.); and finally a song by the officers of the Boys and Girls' Brigade. We also sang Happy Birthday to Kelsie Buxbaum, a youth member of our team.

We then walked to the front of the church to witness the dedication of the orphanage and the unveiling of two plaques: one by Rev. Peter Thitu, the Moderator of Limuru Presbytery, and Rev. Tom Cramer, the pastor leader of our trip, and the other by Jedidah Ngorji, Chairwoman of the Women's Guild, Helen Harwell and Colette Cozean.

Dr. Colette Cozean then spoke about the launching of the Health and Medical Service Program. She spoke about God's leading of the partnership over the past 14 years and the goals set two years ago:
1) to bond at all levels of the partnership (women-to-women, men-to-men, youth-to-youth, pastors-to-pastors, etc.)
2) to build an orphanage to house 50 girls (phase I) and 200 girls overall
3) to provide accessible healthcare to the people of Limuru parish
(i.e. within 1-2 day walking distance)
She discussed how more than 80 generous partners had sent over $1 million dollars of drugs and medical equipment and $300,000 of orphanage clothes, books, sheets, towels, etc. And how the three mission teams had brought over another $350,000 in pharmaceuticals and supplies in their luggage. She discussed the addition of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian to the partnership and their willingness to send a team of 8 doctors, nurses and other health professionals along with an equal size team from the Los Ranchos Presbyterian churches. The commitment of Dr. Richard Afable, CEO of Hoag, to this ongoing project was praised.

Speeches were then given by 1) Elder Peter Kamweru on behalf of Limuru Presbytery thanking God for the gifts of this partnership and asking that it continue to our children's children, 2) Rev. David Dolan on behalf of Los Ranchos Presbytery, who presented gifts to the Vice President of Kenya, the Parliamentarian of Kenya and Limuru Presbytery, 3) Rev. Dr. Donald Oliver on behalf of Hoag Hospital, and 4) Rev. Jerry Tankersley of Laguna Hills Presbyterian Church, who witnessed the founding of the partnership 14 years ago.

Three Scripture readings were given in both English and Swahili and then Rev. Tom Cramer preached the Sermon translated by Rev. Alfred Kangah. Rev. Cramer talked about God's work in the partnership throughout time. His sermon may be found here. [The link opens the sermon in Adobe Acrobat format, which requires the Adobe Acrobat reader, available here for free download. (Opens in new window.)]


We then held an offertory, closing him and all pastors of Limuru and Los Ranchos Presbyteries gave the benediction. The service lasted about four hours, which, in our history, is very short for a dedication. We then had lunch on the go, changed clothes and began treating 350 patients at 8 stations manned by doctors, nurses and health care professionals from both Presbyteries inside the nearby church. Pharmacists then filled the prescriptions from the chancel area. Our mission team saved the day be organizing the crowd into lines and giving the medical team some room to work inside the church. They also played with the children outside and the youth enjoyed several games.

It was a wonderful day of celebration! As our Kenya partners say -- "God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good."

Coming Home

The medical team and mission team arrived home safely after two full days of travel. Some even enjoyed a play in London on our stopover. We are also thankful that we all remained relatively healthy and were able to serve on most days.

Our last Sunday was made very special by our Kenyan brothers and sisters and members of the Limuru Presbytery. The day started with the team traveling to ten churches in five parishes. Tom Cramer, Helen Harwell, Jana Kidd, Brandon Kidd, Colette Cozean, Jesse Cozean, Pamela Jo Neale, Joanna Chen and Don Oliver all preached. We witnessed a wedding, an all parish meeting, a Harambee, Youth Brigade Sunday and many other events at each church. We were then fed at the parish we visited and met with those attending the services, who had medical needs. We continue to witness the strong need for health education as several women came to ask about hormonal changes with which they were not familiar. As Kenyans are living longer, they are encountering diseases and conditions of aging such as menopause and arthritis.

The Presbytery then held a farewell ceremony presenting everyone on all the teams with tea and plaques. Their heartfelt words of thanks were touching and warmly received. The Limuru Presbytery acknowledged that God had accomplished more than we asked or dreamed. They were also surprised at how hard Americans worked. (We are much better at stocking dispensaries than digging ditches.) They kept waiting for us to get tired, but we worked side-by-side all day. We also gave them gifts of Presbytery crosses and coins. Everyone had made Kenyan friends, who shared our sorrow at leaving and our joy at seeing the work the Lord has done through our partnership. The Limuru Presbytery also stated that our group was a good example of how tribes could work together. (We had many ethnic backgrounds in our group including African American, Hispanic, Taiwanese, Chinese, Fillipino, Cuban, Indian and others. We also had all ages represented.)

We gave God the glory for a safe and successful mission trip where we witnessed the dedication of the orphanage and met 40 young people chosen for the "girls home." As we left, the builder's were working hard to finish the remaining portions of the orphanage so that they could receive these young girls. We also set up three dispensaries and treated more than 1000 patients in Limuru and Masaiiland. With so many people to treat, it was hard to focus on our role of training the dispensary staff and parish nurses. But we were able to spend two days in classroom training and work side-by-side with the dispensary staff for 3½ days and for 2 days with the parish nurses. God is good.

Our brothers and sisters have committed to finish this work by returning to Masaiiland with a mobile clinic and seeing more patients in Lari parish, which we were unable to see.

Much remains to be done. On our trip over, Riders for Health committed 10 motorcycles to be delivered in October to facilitate the mobile clinics. The clinics and orphanage must become self-sustaining. But our God has His hands on these projects and will see them through to completion.

Thank you for your prayers. The teams are tired and VERY wet and cold. We are also hungry for Mexican, Chinese, Italian and good old American food. But we are blessed by having spent time with our brothers and sisters in Limuru. God has truly made us one family, serving him together.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Coming Home

While the Medical team is still in Kenya, the Mission team members have returned home, and one of them has shared some of her experiences in the Geneva forum, here. For others who have stories to share, please register and post your thoughts. It's free, it's easy, and all of us would love to find out more about the incredible mission trip.

Also, please contact Geneva's webmaster at webmaster@genevapres.org if you can share photos and/or video from the trip.