Today we visited some of our patients in the Nyalenda Slums. While last time most of the patients we saw were progressing nicely, with a few exceptions, many have lost hope and are very hungry. Still, they were excited to see us and welcome us into their small living quarters.
Leomida with her new mattress
Leomida & Sue
Leomida with her daughter
Last week, we met Leomida who was without a mat, mattress, or even blanket to rest on. She was sleeping on the cold, damp dirt floor in her room. The LOMAMO Board unanimously approved purchasing a mattress and blanket to take to her today. I was excited to bring these comforts to this precious lady suffering from a recent stroke. When we arrived, she was sitting on an old piece of foam a neighbor had loaned her. We brought this 4” 3’x 6’ mattress into her room, placed her on it while she cried with joy. She quickly drank the milk we brought while wrapped in a shawl to help keep her warm that we brought from America. She invited me to sit beside her. I was proud to be able to sit, hold her, pray with her, and watch her glow with appreciation. Her family and friends were present and very excited to see her happy and smiling. We look forward to seeing her again later this week.
We also saw many other patients while in Nyalenda Slums today:
Let me introduce you to Josephine.
Josephine is suffering from chronic bone pain which prevents her from walking most of the time. The Doctors have given her medication which gives her pain relief, but she cannot afford it. She is losing hope for a life with less pain. She can read Swahili and has a Bible but needs large print as her eyes are getting weaker. She depends on a young man to help her dress, prepare her meals and toilet her because her pain is so severe she cannot do anything but sit on the side of her bed.
We face situations like this every day. Patients in debilitating pain with no-one willing to help, so our patients slowly lose hope. We are glad to visit them weekly, pray with them, read scripture, bring food, hugs, and the love of Jesus. They are grateful and look forward to our visits.
Meet Emelda and her 9-month-old grandson, Lawrence.
Next, we saw Emelda who is a young grandmother raising her 9-month old grandson while his very young mother continues her school education. Emelda has a brother and sister who are also in school living with her as well. All 5 of these people are living together in a two-room dwelling sharing the food for one that we bring to Emelda each week. Emelda was in our program but defaulted from taking her TB medication, so she is back with us again. We arrived early afternoon, when the 13-year-old had a break from school and came home for lunch as there was no food for breakfast. We brought Emelda 2 cups of fresh milk which she drank in one long gulp. She has lost hope and is very hungry as she makes sure everyone else has something to eat before she takes any food. If there were no other members of the family to feed, the food we bring would last Emelda a full week, however, with 5 people to feed, it lasts only a few days. Everyone is hungry.
Elsa came to live with her sister, Caroline, from another area because the home she was living in was abusive and unstable with drug issues. She has a goiter, some stomach bloating, and swelling in one leg. Caroline has a small fried chicken business which is challenging, but she is able to provide a safe and loving home for Elsa. Elsa has an appointment at one of the hospitals for a checkup later this week.
The goiter on Elsa’s neck is very visible in this picture (left). Her sister Caroline(right) has offered Elsa a safe, loving place to live.
Jane caring for her twin girls
Alice is a healthy and vibrant 21-month-old girl (left side of photo). However, her sister, Evelyn, in her mother’s arms, was born with HIV and is also suffering from TB as her immune system cannot fight off the everyday germs we all encounter. Currently Evelyn is suffering from diarrhea. We provided diapers, wipes, medications and food today while visiting and praying with this family. We will check later this week to see how Evelyn is doing. We pray for her healing. Jane’s love is great for her children but she needs sleep and a break, as all mothers can attest to who’ve had sick children.
It was a difficult day. There is so much need; so many people are just hungry, living together in poor conditions, striving to survive, hoping for a better life. Not all who live in the slums are hungry, sick and without anyone who cares. But there are a lot. LOMAMO Foundation brings God’s love, food, medications and prayer to these precious people who, but for the grace of God, could be any one of us.
We have so much. So much of everything. Food, medications, doctors to assess our aches, pains, injuries and illnesses and a government who provides for many of those concerns.
I pray that we can each of us will take a look at what and who we have in our lives. We take so much for granted.
Dear Lord, you know the pain, hunger, and sickness we encounter. Please lead and guide us to be compassionate, loving and kind, helping our brothers and sisters who are struggling just to be.
On behalf of the Love Matters Most team, Sue Jones.