We've been working on updating the Precious Kids Center website these past few months, there are a few things still in the works, but it's finally ready. A special thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to help get everything up and running. For more blog updates please visit www.preciouskids.center
Friday, August 1, 2014
Today was closing day, the last day of the second term of the school year. Now everyone is back home for the month August. Looking forward to spending time with the big boys that were off at school these past few months. All the kids did great on their end of the term exams.
We went to pick the kids up and saw everyone sitting outside for the school wide recognition of the students who performed well.
Frank was recongnized for getting the second highest score out of his entire fifth grade class.
Pascal was recognized for being the most improved out of all of the second graders in his class.
It’s great to see these two making such great progress. Just a few months ago they were living on the streets of Kitale, sniffing glue and struggling to survive. Now they are trying hard to get their lives on track and working hard in school. So blessed to be able to be a part of their journeys.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This week we met Lina and Damaris. They come from a family of seven and both have Albinism. When we met my heart was broken by their situation and the more I learned about their family, the more I knew that I had to find a way to help them.
Lina was so shy and withdrawn. She would barely say a word, but just nod when she was spoken too. It was hard to get even a smile out of her.
The parents have their own little plot of land in an area of town called Matisi. The main house is clean and furnished, but the girls sleep outside on dirty, worn out pieces of foam on the floor of their kitchen.
Little Lina's feet were covered with jiggers which can easily be avoided if the children are being properly cared for.
The mother told us that their father is a drunkard, abusive and all he cares about is getting his next drink, so most of the providing for her family lies on her shoulders. Having two children that need a little more special attention, which involves more finances puts an even bigger strain on her.
So today Lina moved into the house with the other kids. They welcomed her with open arms and literally grabbed her by the hands and gave her a tour of the entire place.
By day two you would have though she had been living there for years. She’s turned into a whole new kid just enjoying her new life with the simple pleasures that most of us take for granted every day. It has been great seeing her come out of her shell be in the place where she is truly free to be herself.
Monday, July 28, 2014
It’s been a little over a week since I’ve been back. I’ve been spending time with the kids at the house and also checking up on all those who we support from their homes. Sometimes it’s difficult to balance the needs with how exactly I can help, but with his perfect timing God brought us a way to help with some of the struggles that these children are facing. There is another occupational therapist in town, named Douglass, who asked us to introduce him to some kids in need that aren’t currently receiving proper therapy. So yesterday we loaded up and visited seven children in their homes so that Douglass could do a preliminary assessment of their condition.
We visited Keila who is 2 years old and has microcephaly, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Her father works as a mechanic in town and her mother stays home and takes care of the kids. Keila is the youngest of three. Her mother tries to care for her, but doesn’t know where to begin because her child has so many specific needs. The most pressing issue is getting Keila proper therapy so that she can hopefully learn to sit and support her head on her own. We met her mother at the District Hospital and got her set up with the occupational therapists who are going to make splints for her legs to keep them from becoming stiff and she will be getting therapy three times a week with Douglass. After that we will see if we can get her some medication for her epilepsy so that she can sleep better at night and doesn’t have as many seizures.
Then we went to visit Allan. His mother is the matron at a local primary school, who is in charge of keeping an eye on the boys who board at the school. She lives in the dorms with her three children because her husband threw them out of the house and abandoned them completely. Allan has hydrocephalus and had an operation to relieve the pressure in his school when he was younger. Now he is 7 years old and still needs to be supported to sit. It is difficult to get him to therapy because his mother has to work, but we talked to the principal and she agreed to allow the mother to take him to therapy in the afternoons. We are also trying to see if Allan can start attending nursery class at the school so that he can be able to socialize with the other kids instead of sitting alone in the dorms all day.
We also reconnected with Victor this week. His family had moved, so he was a little hard to find, but we found their new house and got to see him again. Victor is five years old and has cerebral palsy and is unable to sit, support his head and speak. His father left because he was unwilling to support Victor. Now his mother is struggling to provide for her family because it is difficult for her to find work with Victor at home because he needs so much care. Victor also has some health complications besides being malnourished. His breathing is very raspy, which makes eating difficult, and he also has convulsions from time to time. He will start therapy this week and will also see a physician to see if some of his medical needs can be addressed. Victor also lays on his back all day because he has no seat that supports him in the way that he needs to be able to sit on his own. I will be working with Douglass to design him a sitting aide so that he will be able to sit properly, which may help with his breathing issues and allow him to work the muscles that need strengthening for him to be able to sit.
Emmanuel is two years old and has Down Syndrome. His father blames the mother for having a child with a disability and Emmanuel suffers because of that. He is severely malnourished and cannot even sit on his own because his father is reluctant to allow his mother to feed and care for him in the way that he needs. We stopped by his house unannounced and found him all alone at home. Manu’s situation is difficult because even if we try to give him support at home, his father keeps the mother from caring for him simply because he is different. We will be starting Manu with light therapy until he gets healthier and can get to a healthy weight so that he gains the strength that he needs to be able to start developing gross motor skills.
I have known Mary for a long time. She is one of the first children that I started supporting from her home. It is encouraging to see how well her parents are caring for her. She has grown big and is even gaining strength and can almost support her head on her own. If she is holding on to the table she can almost stand on her own. I thought that the little extra boost of therapy will help her continue to develop in the areas where she is a little behind so we took Douglass to assess her and she will also be starting therapy with him next week.
Moses was abandoned at the District Hospital last year. He lives at a nearby children’s home ran by one of my friends. Right now he is not receiving therapy and he is already such a strong little guy. He can crawl around the house and if supported can walk, he just needs a little work on his balance. He cannot speak, but he is the happiest little guy around. Along with starting physical therapy, Douglass suggested that we take him by the Orthepedic Office at District Hospital to see if we can get him fitted with special shoes that will correct his gait and hopefully get him closer to being able to walk on his own.
Josephine is the last child that we went to visit. Her mother was in boarding school and came home pregnant. Josephine was born premature and her mother abandoned her and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Josephine is five years old and has Down Syndrome. Her gross motor skills are fine, but she has some delays in speech and fine motor skills. Because her grandmother is not in the best health, Douglass agreed to pass by the house and work with her from home. I recently sponsored Josephine to start at a nursery school near her house. It was great to see her all clean in her uniform and socializing with the other students. I plan on going back and working with the teacher to come up with an educational plan for Josephine because although her teacher is willing to have her in her class, she lacks the knowledge of where to start when it comes to teaching her.
Many of these children come from single parent homes. It has recently become so evident how difficult it is for these mothers to provide for their children. Even those who are still with their husbands are often harassed or overwhelmed with their children because they don’t get support from their husbands. They are facing the dilemma of leaving their child unattended at home while they work or staying home and struggling to care for their children without an income. There is no easy solution. They all can’t come to the house, but I am trying to help where possible to provide support and advice to work with parents to be able to provide these precious little ones with the best care from their homes. God has opened the doors for a great first step of providing them with therapy and I have faith that he will continue to open up more doors. Please keep these sweet little ones and their families in your prayers as we continue to work alongside the parents.
People often ask me where feels more like home. Kitale or California? It seems like a simple question, but they both feel like home equally to me. After spending the last month back in California I started to think about it. California has been my home the longest. I love coming home to my family and friends who provide constant support even from afar. When I come back it's like we don't even miss a beat and pick up right where we left off. People are so generous and willing to support the work going on at Precious Kids center. I was given more donations than I could fit in the three suitcases I brought back and was overwhelmed by the financial support I received from the people who hear about PKC and want to get involved in whatever way they can. I am truly blessed and honored to call each and every one of you my friends.
The other side of home is Kenya. These kids are my family. If they are having a bad day they just need a hug they turn to me, on a good day they want me to share their joy with them and everyday in between we live life together. It’s not always a walk in the park, but who wouldn’t love coming home to this every day?
I am blessed to be a part of these two great worlds and grateful for all the people in my life that make it possible.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Many of the kids at the house have been having some medical issues. So this week we set off to Nairobi to get scans and see doctors and were determined to leave with everyone settled and on the path to recovery.
Lillian was born with spina bifida. No one has taken her for treatment so we decided to take her to see if there was anything that needed to be done. We went to a mission hospital called Kijabe that is just outside of Nairobi. We were impressed with the clean facility and compotent doctors. After X-rays, an ultrasound and an MRI it was confirmed that her case is a mild one and that she does not need surgery, but we will keep an eye on her to make sure that things don’t change and that she continues to thrive.
Japheth was also having some medical issues. If he is fed and is in the seated position, he vomits frequently, but if he is lying down there is no problem. Reflux issues are common in children with Autism, but given his history of being burned by his abusive step-mother they wanted to check to make sure there was not more damage. So he underwent an endoscopy and they ruled out an esophageal stricture and anything else that would need immediate treatment. We were also advised to keep a close eye on him and in the future he may need an operation, but for now he will take an anti-acid and some other medicine to try to reduce the vomiting.
Augustus had an umbilical hernia that was operated on. We took him to a hospital for outpatient surgery and he is already recovering nicely after just one day. We were told that if it was done early, there is a lesser risk of complications in the future and we are glad that he is already feeling better.
It was a blessing that everyone was given proper treatment and that we finally have answers to some of their medical issues. It was also great to see how lovingly these doctors treat the patients here. We were given discounted rates on the procedures once the doctors heard about the work that is going on in Kitale and that children with disabilities are being served at Precious Kids Center. It was not only a blessing to make new friend and connections with doctors in Nairobi, but to finally have answers. Please continue to pray for Augustus, Lillian and Japheth as they continue to heal and live with their medical issues.