News and Stories
Mission to Kenya – September 2008
As our team of 30 are in flight from Nairobi to home, we all feel eager to return to our families but also a little sad. We’ve said our goodbyes to friends, some old, some new. We’ve just completed our fourth two-week construction and medical mission in Naivasha, Kenya.
The construction team consisted of 5 men and 1 woman. They offered their services to Upendo Village, a rescue project for men, women and children with AIDS. Presently they have 1069 persons entrenched in the struggle of life, living in poverty with AIDS. This hardworking, caring construction team built four 20’x12’ homes and remodeled another one in just 12 days!
One of the homes they built was for Angeline and her family. Angeline’s husband is frequently absent and when present often is inebriated and demanding relations with his wife. Angeline is a mother of 5, her eldest a girl age six and her youngest, a set of twins only 3 months old. Their plot of land is so small that their existing shack of a home had to be torn down first so the new home could be built on the same spot. As a result, the team cleaned out the goat shed so the family had a place to sleep as the new building was constructed. Needless to say, Angeline was ecstatic and felt so very blessed to be given a gift of a new home.
The medical team was also busy. Our mission team was comprised of surgeons, physicians, nurses, a physical therapist and two laboratorians. Seventy-nine major and seven minor surgeries were performed by the energetic, compassionate medical team. This year we were also able to incorporate ourselves in the wards, hence pre and post operative care was also delivered.
In addition to hospital care, hundreds of patients were cared for in a clinic setting at Upendo Village. This village of love(upendo) is a bright light and a source of hope and compassionate care for their clients as they are given quality services of housing, counseling, medical care and education.
One such person who was helped was a man by the name of Kenneth. Kenneth is a 32 year old man who fell victim to the political violence in Kenya in January of this year. He was beaten, struck multiple times with a machete and left for dead on Jan. 12. After 3 days in a coma, he awoke, his wounds were tended, and his broken arm casted. Due to the many injured pouring in, he was quickly discharged. He found himself in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, with his sister and mentally handicapped mother because his home was burnt to the ground.
Nine months later he was still in the tent camp with more than a thousand others. He still had the same cast, his bones unable to knit together because his arm was never properly set. He was unable to find a job due to this painful, disabled arm. With the guidance of Sr. Florence Muia, founder of Upendo Village and the generous donation of $500.00 from a member of our parish, Kenneth was admitted to St. Mary’s Mission Hospital. He received surgery and discharged a few days later well on his way to recovery. Yes, he returned to the only home he had, a tent in the IDP camp but now he would have a chance to begin to provide for his family again.
There are many other Angelines and Kenneths, many other persons needing medical care and decent housing. The mission team thanks God for the opportunity to at least try to do as Mother Teresa instructed – “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Mary Jane Trinkus
Angeline and her children