Today was much different. Much harder emotionally than yesterday. We went to the slums of Nairobi (Nigh-ro’-bee) Road and Nyalenda (knee-uh-len’da).
Yesterday the countryside was so beautiful. Today the slums of Kisumu, to me, were among the worst possible conditions to expect people to live. Yet in this primitive, over-crowded environment people were trying to live the best life they possibly could.
Women were doing their best to wash laundry in buckets and dry the clothes on makeshift clothes lines. Little children were laughing and playing games, older children were much more serious. Sometimes helping or caring for family members, other times hanging out in groups doing mostly nothing. Curiously all were dressed well. Laundry and cooking over an open fire.
Our patient visits started with a 20 year old new intake named Tony. He was curled up sleeping on a small couch. His father and grandmother were in the small room as well. We woke him up to ask him how he was feeling and to see if he was taking his medication. He was very depressed. He was filled with anger. He had no joy, no hope. We talked to him, read him scripture and prayed for him. We got him to take some medicine but he threw up water immediately, thankfully not the medicine. Ibrahim and Mirriam said hopefully within a few months with weekly visits and counseling he will regain hope and purpose. If he does he should be able to recover.
Tony, depressed and discouraged
Tony’s grandmother with Mirriam
Next, we saw Grace. In this difficult environment, in her very small space, with little visible reason for her to be positive she was filled with joy and hope. Only a few months ago she was very much like Tony. Through visits, prayer, reading scripture, medicine, vitamins and food she has experienced a “miracle-like” change. She showed us a picture of her a few months ago. You would not believe it was the same person. Her face in the picture was lifeless. She looked extremely sad and depressed. Much like Tony. The change was truly remarkable and she gave all credit and glory to God!
Grace, Ed and Ibrahim
Mirriam, Sue, Grace and Ibrahim
We saw 5 more patients. All five suffering from HIV and TB; one was just starting cancer treatments.
Eric, starting chemo for Kaposi Sarcoma, a common form of cancer affecting
All 5 in a great deal of pain, a few starting to have hope, all struggling with eating and taking their medication properly. We counseled, read scripture and prayed for all 5 patients. This is what the team does in the slums. Every week. Many of the patients have miraculous improvements, like Grace.
Others, like Peter, are taking their medications, eating the nutritious food we bring and taking multi-vitamins and seeing great progress. Peter has hope and looks forward to the day that he can go back to work selling clothing.
Peter has hope!
Unfortunately several never recover and some die. The ones that do recover have the joy of God in their lives and reason for living even if they will have HIV the rest of their lives and live in far less than ideal circumstances. Even some of the ones that die, die with faith and will be going to a much better place.
The last patient we saw was Leomida. She had recently suffered a stroke. She could not walk and could hardly move her left arm. She was crying uncontrollably. Not so much because of pain but because of her circumstance, she had little to be hopeful for. She was outside her door.
Leomida, outside her room, crying.
Her only place to sleep was the damp dirt floor. Her young daughter, maybe 11 was in the room. She was very sad. She started crying. Sue asked her if she could give her a hug. The girl said yes and for at least a minute they hugged, very tightly. The girl was filled with some relief. She stopped crying. She gave a big sigh. You could tell at least for the moment she felt love.
Inside Leomida’s room: her bed is a damp, dirt floor
We went back outside to Leomida. There were several other family members and friends in the small space where we were talking. We all prayed. We talked to Leomida about getting her a bed and some physical therapy. We also talked to her about the importance of eating and taking her medication. We left her food and medication. The team will bring her a bed as soon as they can. Leomida is in a very bad place. If she can get to physical therapy she may be able to walk and use her arm again. If she starts eating and taking her medication she may be able to recover physically and emotionally. The key will be if she can find hope and love spiritually and through the team. She has difficult months ahead of her.
Sue comforting Leomida
Very sad young girl who lives next door
Why is the team driven to do what they do? How can they keep going everyday? What gives them their
strength? How do they remain emotionally strong? I will be searching for those answers over the next
few weeks. I can tell you what I already know. They are filled with God’s love. They are helping improve
the lives of so many – Physically, emotionally, mentally and most importantly spiritually. They are saving
On behalf of the Love Masters Most team, Ed Mosbaugh