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.