Today was a wonderful day.  And I might consider it a terrible day too.                                                                                        We had a medical mission set up for four different areas around Kipsaina.  Our first area was with two widows, one who needed to be treated and have her house sprayed for jiggers.  We had plenty of help today as the workers were off for Good Friday along with the boy's schools.  
I still can't get this program to rotate my pictures...
                                                                                                                                                                                             The second widow is blind, her name is Mary Maria and she is always a blessing to be around.  She was thrilled to have the visitors, appreciated the jigger treatment and reminded me that when I visit, I should always bring her sugar.  I won't forget next time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Our next stop was down the road from Mama Juma's place, where we found several more children, including Juma's brother John, needing treatment.  For those of you who know John, he was in better condition although he still needed treatment.  We had Manny and Cheryl Vallejos with us today, along with their daughter, Renee.  She used her nursing skills continually, helping with jiggers, wounds, unidentified growths and pink eye.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The third stop was the hard one.  As we walked up, our team had already started treating people for jiggers.  You could hear children crying as their feet were worked on.  I quickly passed out lollipops to each one, trying to calm them and help them get through the treatment.  It involved dipping their feet in a chemical that kills the jiggers but stings.  Some of them needed the jiggers removed with a razor blade.  It's not for the faint hearted.                                                                           As they were finished up, we found out that three of the children, two brothers and a sister, were there without their mother.  The village elders talked to us about taking the children to our orphanage, providing food and care that their mother was not giving them.  The oldest boy, around 5, was responsible for feeding the three of them.  
                                                                                                         I was holding the little girl who was tiny, thin and probably older than her size.  She clung to me, the lollipop in her hand giving her a bit of comfort.                                                                                                                                                          Now our boys home has 15 boys, the house parents have 2 of their own.  We have no facilities for a little girl.  And we don't really want to separate families.  The mother of the children's sister was there and when asked if she would take responsibility, she declined, saying she had too many of her own.  In fact, no one there wanted that responsibility.               I can't explain how hard it was to put the little girl down, knowing her mother would probably not be home soon.  But this is something that needs careful consideration.  We have no legal rights to take the children,  The elders in these villages do have the right to make decisions, but you're talking about severing the rights of the mother.  And...asking our house parents to raise three more children, for up to 17 more years. When we asked about providing food for the aunt, hoping it would convince her to help out, it was noted that in many cases, the relative takes the food and provides for their own children, still leaving the others uncared for.                                                                                                                              It was a good day, and a terrible day.  And sadly, this problem is very common.  Most of the time, we don't know all the details, but we see neglected children often.  They are being raised by grandparents, aunts, and sometimes, neighbors.  Young girls, tired of living in the village, hoping to find happiness and money, go to larger cities, looking.  Unfortunately, most come back pregnant,  Occasionally they stay, as in the case of this mother, who we found out drank heavily all day.  Or they leave their children with their parents.  Parents who have difficulty providing for themselves, now are raising their grandchildren.  There are zero social services here.  Living in the rural areas is a hardship.  There is little work.  There is no power, no running water, no day care.  Neglect is common.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             For as sad as today was, I am thankful for being here.  We will find a solution for this family, somehow.  But if we had never come, it might have been a different outcome.  The village where the boys home is located has many, many children just like these three.  We provide school uniforms, school shoes, book bags and basic supplies for them.  We pay their school fees.  And believe we can break the cycle that keeps them for succeeding in life.                                               We are here because God brought us here.  For this time.  And I am thankful.                                                                        Kwaheri from Kipsaina,                                                                                                                                                              Mama Lani