Friday, January 12, 2018

Sally's Miracles ~ Part 1

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 

Mark 1:35 (ESV) 


Some of my long time readers know that I do some missions work in the country of Kenya, East Africa.  I've been doing small projects here and there for approximately 10 years.  The work is done on a small scale and I do not have any financial partners in carrying out the work though from time to time friends have assisted.

The sky is beautiful almost every day here and you will often find goats in the middle of the highway near Marigat (north of Nakuru) in Kenya.

During the 10 year period, I have been engaged in many different aspects of humanitarian work and in all cases I work with local pastors and lay leaders in small villages. Primarily the work has been based in and around the small city of Kericho in the Great Rift Valley but has also extended to the northern and northeastern areas of Kenya where the Pokot and Samburu peoples live.  From time to time, the work has also extended to small cities and towns like Garissa (near the coast), Nakuru (northeast of Nairobi), Olenguruone (in the SW Mau National Reserve), Narok and Bomet near the Masaii Mara National Reserve and in Nairobi City.

Street scene in Marigat, just opposite the market.

The work is challenging due to lack of financial support but for anyone who has a calling you know that you press on despite the challenges and trials and you pray a lot for God to help you meet the call.  I believe that God placed a burden in my heart for the people of Africa and for the people of Kenya in particular.  I pray for God's leading and direction and help for

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62 (ESV)

I want to be faithful in what I am doing but I also want to be fruitful. 
In that I must trust that God leads me to those he would want me to help and and encourage. 

The life in the villages in Kenya is very difficult indeed. 
While the country is very rich in resources and there are many well to do people, the poverty level is extremely high and unemployment is at a rate which would be totally unacceptable in the west. 

The last time I checked, unemployment was at approximately 70 percent and the World Bank reported that 45.5 % of  Kenya's population lived in poverty.  Many Kenyans have pursued higher education despite great sacrifice as a way to try and become employable but even those who graduate from university or other training have a very hard time finding a job. 

In a report I read last year, the daily newspaper stated that on average it took 5 years for graduates to find work. Approximately 80% of the country's population is under the age of 35 so you can guess that there is a very high dissatisfaction rate amongst the majority of Kenyans. 
At this moment, I happen to know several graduates ranging in ages from 24 to 39 years of age.  
Some of them have  multiple degrees but only one of them is employed and that was after years of short term jobs and trying to find stable employment. 
I hope this short overview of the country's poverty and unemployment situation gives you a bit of background into why my work though small is extremely important to those that receive it. 

Over the past decade my work has transitioned from helping with educations costs for orphans, seeds and fertilizers for widows and single mothers, food relief for starving people in the north and those in Internally Displaced Peoples(IDP) camps.

These days most of my efforts are in helping people receive medical care.
This is an area where there is great need and the cost of one person's medical care is not inexpensive. 
In fact, I would say the cost of medicines and certain treatments costs the same as in Canada if one had to pay for it. In Canada we do have great medical insurance but we do not yet have a national drug plan and there are still the odd persons here and there who do not have insurance.

It is then easy to see why people need assistance with medical costs in Kenya. Otherwise they simply die.
Sometimes they die anyway as in the case of a few people we have tried to help over the past year.

About one year ago it came to my attention that a very elderly woman who lives near the town of Bomet, Kenya (near Narok which is located northwest of Nairobi.) was having difficulty with her eyes. 
She could no longer see very well and since she was living alone it was getting more and more difficult for her to collect firewood, make fire and feed herself.
The woman's name is Sally.
Sally is 103 years old and the mother to 12 children, 9 of whom are still living.  She has been a Christian for approximately half of her life and is a staunch believer in prayer and in living a Godly life.
 I am not sure how many grandchildren and great grandchildren she has but they are all in dire economic straits as approximately half of the country's population.

I asked my youth pastor friend to please take Sally to the missions hospital in Tenwek for an eye check. 
At Tenwek they attempted treatment but Sally's was a difficult case and they referred her to Sabatia Eye Hospital in the western part of Kenya.
Sabatia Eye Hospital is only one of two eye hospitals in Kenya. The other, called Lions is located in Nairobi. 
Sabatia is located in Vihiga in Western Kenya (near Kakamega in western Kenya) and it offers both inpatient and outpatient services to patients who arrive from all over Kenya.

 (Promotional photo for Sabatia Eye Hospital)

 Going to Sabatia required a long bus journey and a stay of several days at the hospital lodgings which of course entails a lot more resources.  Time is needed to enable an eye assessment, eye surgery and follow up care.  
Sally did get the eye surgery she needed. It was very successful and she
was extremely happy.
In Kenya many of the elders do not look at the camera straight with their eyes. They mostly do not like their photos taken too and wonder what tourists and foreigners do with their photos. 
I can certainly understand that and have learned to ask first if it okay to take a photo.
In this case, my friend took photos at my request and after Sally's surgery, she gladly looked straight into the camera as if to show me that she can now see.

Sally shortly after returning from eye surgery. She was suffering from a bout of malaria in this photo.

  At Sally's advanced age, she is still able to take care of her personal needs but was finding it harder to go long distances to collect firewood and to safely cook over the fire.
I felt led to do what I could to help her in her day to day life. 
Sadly, just today I read in the Kenyan paper how an elderly woman of 77 years of age fell into the fire while trying to cook and died. Unfortunately no one heard her and her grandson found her later after he arrived home from school. 

There are many issues related to cooking in Kenya but I will say that for another day.
For now, I focus on Sally's story.

After Sally returned home from Sabatia Eye Hospital I asked my friend if he would assess Sally's household needs so she could be made more comfortable in her old age.

He let me know her house was in need of repairs, she needed a water filter, a new bed and chairs.
I agreed and I also determined she needed new bedding and some warm clothing as it rains a lot where she lives.

My friend set about getting Sally's son and other relatives to assisting in the work that was needed and he went to buy the items. One of Sally's daughters was able to take care of the clothing requirements.
My friend also found a young female relative who needed a job who could help with collecting firewood, cooking and taking care of any of Sally's other needs.

When you buy goods and take them to the village you must usually walk a far distance from the road up paths  and through fields to your home. When it is wet or raining the paths can be very muddy.

In Kenya there is still  no national pension for old people though it is expected to begin sometime this month of January 2018. It will be a process before everyone over the age of 70 years of age will be enrolled and start receiving funds. Once established the elderly will receive approximately $28-30 Canadian dollars every other month. It isn't a lot but it will help the elderly to buy some basic food items.

Some of the gifts being presented to Sally. Her son looks on.
In addition to hiring a helper for Sally, we purchased a bed, mattress and bedding, and warm clothing. Sally already had wooden chairs but my friends purchased some plastic chairs which are easily moved in and out of the house to sit outside when the weather is agreeable.

See into the doorway where the mattresses are propped up. These photos were taken before the house repairs.

One of Sally's daughters looks on.

My friends also helped to hire people to clean, tidy and spruce up the humble home by making repairs to the mud plaster exterior walls and the tin roof.  

Iron sheets for the roof repair.
This is the house after repairs. The kitchen  (see far left in 1 of the photos above) has not been repaired.

Finally we were able to locate and purchase a large water filter though I am not sure it actually works properly and the funds may have been wasted.  The kitchen which is in great disrepair is a job that I was unable to deal with due to lack of funds.

Water filter made and sold by a local non-profit group.

It wasn't too long after all this work was completed when Sally started having health problems.
Since then she has been admitted into hospital several times.

Given the length of this post, I will report more on Sally's hospitalizations in the next installment of her story.

Thank you for stopping by and for reading about Sally.
I hope you will come back for the remainder of the story.


Linking up with Friday Foto Friends



David M. Gascoigne, said...

Maybe as part of your missionary you can convince these people that homosexuals are not evil anti-christs worthy of execution.

Toni said...

Most people like me who don't travel never really know what it's like in other countries like Kenya. I have truly enjoyed taking this "trip" with you and learning so much about that country. Thank you for sharing.

Joanne Noragon said...

Of course I am hoping for a good outcome, but it may not happen. We can do only what we can. All the best to Sally.

Gattina said...

It is a shame that Africa had been exploited by the white people. Instead of educating them and teach to read and write and to built things, they give money which usually flows into the wrong pockets ! sad !

Lady Fi said...

You're doing great work! I'm just about to start sponsoring a child in Kenya via a friend (diplomat there) who is finding sponsorship for an entire football team.

Annie said...

I have an old friend who works with people in Kenya and raises money for needs there and he goes often to build and etc. He does some very good things for people there.
The poverty that results when a people's normal lives are interrupted by greed and corruption is horrible.

Rhodesia said...

Penny you are such a kind person and give so much of yourself to others. No matter what the end of Sally's story is, I know she will be eternally grateful to you and your help. She is an amazing age to have got so far. Take care. Diane

Mari said...

I've really enjoyed reading this. I appreciate your work and am looking forward to hearing more about Sally.

Phil Slade said...

When so much povery is evident I do wonder where all the billions of aid in dollars, pounds and worlwide currency has gone! There is so much corrution in many of these countries. Good luck with your wotk.

Bob Bushell said...

The pictures are magnificent, keep it up.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Penny, you are so kind and are doing great work. I am sure your help is very much appreciated. Thanks for sharing Sally's story. Thank you so much for linking up your post. I appreciate your visit and comment too. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

Jeanie said...

Thank you for sharing Sally's story and also for reminding me and others of the good work you do in Kenya. Over on this side of the border we are very upset on words that our idiot president has said about Africa, El Salvador and Haiti. I hope you don't think everyone here feels that way.

Bill said...

The work you are doing is greatly appreciated and you are doing a fantastic job. Sharing Sally's story was very special and I do hope she is on the road to better health. The pictures were nice to see and helps to get a better understanding of that part of the world. I look forward in hearing more about Sally.
Thank you so much for sharing Sally's story!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your work is inspiring and I admire your faith in challenging situations.

bookworm said...

What a post for Skywatch Friday. Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me find you, Penny. I look forward to additional installments. I help care for a 90 year old mother in law. I can not imagine her being 103 and living under those conditions. Alana

diane b said...

You are a wonderful person to help these poor people.

betty-NZ said...

It's easy to take things for granted until we are give a reality check like your post. Your faithfulness moves God's heart and He will help you do what is necessary. I will keep you in my prayers as you continue with His work. Thanks for the uplifting story are this lady's surgery!

Breathing In Grace said...

Oh, may God bless you for all your efforts to help these precious souls. I'm interested in hearing more about Ms. Sally. What a remarkable woman. Thank you so much for sharing and linking up this story and fotos.

Jan said...

Hi Penny, that was a very interesting account of the situation for older people in Kenya and how you've helped this one lady. I'm pleased to hear about the introduction of pensions by the government but as you point out thiis is only a small drop in the ocean and the issue of health care remains. You really do such a good job at informing and helping about the needs of people in Kenya. I'm thinking of Sally and her family. You too hope you are feeling better. X

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Thank you for your story about Sally and the people of the Rift Valley area of Kenya. Sally certainly is remarkable to be 103 and still doing so much for herself! I am sure she is very appreciative for all the help you and your people there have been giving her. I pray that God will provide much more for her and her family and surrounding neighbors. What a wonderful ministry God has given you...thank you for being faithful to the call. May our Lord continue to raise up others who are willing and able to heed the call and help in any way possible. Praying now for you and your health and strength. May God bless you and keep you strong for His work.

Nancy Chan said...

You have a beautiful loving heart for these people. May God protects and bless you in this ministry!

Angie said...

God bless you for your work in Kenya. It is amazing to me that Sally has reached 103 despite all the challenges she must have had with daily living!

Joyful said...

Hi Jeanie, please don't worry. I do know that not everyone in USA is a Trump ;-) I appreciate your comments

Joyful said...

Hi everyone, I do so much appreciate all your kind comments and observations. I feel a bit embarrassed though as it isn't my intention to garner compliments and accolades. I simply want to share with you all what is going on in Kenya and highlight some of the areas where I'm personally involved in bringing relief.

I do appreciate anyone who is praying for me and for the work. You cannot know how much this is deeply appreciated.

s.c said...

Nice work and o so necessary.

Peggy said...

Dear Joyful Penny ... I came to visit your blog and should have gone to the most recent one of Jan15 but I was drawn to this one and so glad to read and see your humble heart for Kenya! It is so sad and awful to see the plight of poverty among the nations in Africa and other parts of the world even in the western hemisphere. You have a kind and benevolent heart for Sally in particular and others you have graciously extended a helping hand. To God be all glory! May He provide much more to Kenya and Sally through your giving and all the others who have helped her and the many in need. Your photos are awesome and your blessing in Jesus’ name will not be overlooked. It’s so interesting to learn about Kenya this way through the lives of the people you care so much about-I appreciated the details and the map to get my bearings of where this is. Thank you for giving, sharing and caring for Kenya, Sally and the others you’ve shared. Are you there or go there anymore? or now just reach out through others who go and are there that you know? (just curious) God bless! (oh, and I agree with one of your comments above and ask forgiveness for our nation’s current president and his remarks and actions against others in Africa, El Salvador, Haiti and in our own country-may God change him and his heart asap)

shayndel said...

Praying along with all for you and for Sally and her health, and as you do God`s work there and your hands and heart do His great and merciful works in helping the people. Praying for His uplifting them from poverty, prayers that the people in this region will be able to live abundant lives in Him and many more will know His name and His Salvation.In Jesus` name. Blessings to you! Love♡

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