Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Long Day, Short Night

Yesterday was the first of our marathon weigh-ins at the hospital. Kids were brought in from nearby Ekwanda by the van load until our pharmacy was closed and we could weigh no more.

You've read and seen enough about hunger here. Not long ago, we learned that children between 2 and 17 years of age who meet specific criteria can receive some of the USAID food supplements that are delivered to our CCC pharmacy. If they are severely malnourished, they do not need to be HIV-positive to qualify.

Our Mothers' Union volunteers are helping us identify the neediest kids from the surrounding villages. I weighed, measured and did the requisite paperwork for 60 children on the first day: 14 of those qualified for USAID food supplements; 9 were sick and referred to the clinical officer for treatment without charge. (No one required admission, TG.) Near the end of the afternoon, our pharmacist approached me anxiously: "We're running out of food, and we won't have any more until the end of the month."

The price of success? Hardly. Success will be when there are no children anywhere who "qualify" for food supplements.

Needless to say, it was a very full day, and this granny is out of practice. I collapsed into bed at 7:30 PM and enjoyed 90 minutes of sleep before a nearby funeral got underway. Funerals in Kenya, you may remember, are often several-night, all-night affairs. They feature throngs of guests and perpetual music, with speaker volume at the max. It is important to sing the dearly departed's soul into heaven. Changaa, the local moonshine, usually flows in abundance, further increasing the decibel level -- and sometimes our patient population. Funerals are notorious places to settle family feuds. With pangas. In any case, even I couldn't "sleep fast" enough to feel very civilized today.The good news is that the neighborhood burial took place this afternoon.

But the best news is that twelve children had a little more to eat last night. Lala salama, dear family and friends. Thank you, as always, for your love, support and prayers. I could not be here without you, and your presence is very much felt by us all.

1 comment:

kate said...

I hope you are sleeping well right now, Mom.