It has been a hectic 48 hours of medical emergencies and treatments.
In the middle of the night a woman went into labour so through the darkness of the mangrove swamps our boat picked its way across the water to reach the mainland. The vehicle was waiting.
A few hours later the boat was on the water again. This time taking a very elderly and frail man to hospital where he needed a blood transfusion.
Not long after that we were in Bodo picking up the tailor with the terrible leg wounds. It was the day of his surgery -grafting tissue from one leg into the wound on the other. Medicines, surgical equipment and other equipment is often not available in the hospitals so we were told may have to buy a surgical knife for the procedure on the way to hospital. Throughout all of this the tailor remained positive and smiling. I know deep down he is very afraid. When we reached the hospital we paid the operation fees and he was admitted. The conditions inside were shocking to Western eyes and experiences. There was a powerful smell of urine , windows were broken or had glass missing and while there was a bedside table it was black and battered. He was given just a bedsheet to lay on.
Shee’s wife is staying with him as she will have to wash his clothes and make sure he given food etc. We were told she might have to share the bed with him or sleep on the floor . In the bed opposite there was a terribly sick old man with prostate cancer. He was being held up by a relative. When we returned later his body lay under a sheet with life continuing around him quite normally. Maybe people here are just more familiar and at ease with dearth because they see it so often.
We were given special access to the maternity wing to see the woman who had been rushed to hospital in the night. She wasn’t there but the baby just lay on her bed. Several other babies had been left too. Mum then appeared and we congratulated her on the arrival of her daughter. We were told that she owed 700 Kenyan shillings for the delivery and another 300 for other services. She was free to leave almost straight after the birth but couldn’t go until she paid her bills.
We gave her the thousand shillings to be released.
The tailor’s operation has now been delayed by a week although they will keep him in hospital. There is a charge for every day he is there. We will also have to support and feed his family of seven while he and his wife are away. There is no other breadwinner . So we are supplying sacks of rice, beans, tomatoes and other basic foodstuffs.
All of these are mountains which could not have been climbed without the trust. The tailor would have just continued with his terrible and eventually debilitating condition. Amputation would have been certain and the loss of his livelihood.
Finally for now – a fisherman and his ten year old son came to to our house today. He was returning to thank me for helping his son have a hernia operation last time I was here. The boy has made a full recovery. Neither father or son could speak more than a few words of English . But the fact they came was really special in itself and makes all the challenges we face next year -finding funds to run this charity at a time when the money isn’t there- worthwhile, essential and life changing.