Despite great care given by doctors, nurses, and chaplains; the Kijabe Hospital Pediatrics Ward can be a sad place for a child to be. This children's hospital doesn't have pretty aquariums, carpet with stars, air-conditioning, crayons, helium balloons, visiting puppies, clowns, or televisions with cartoons. This hospital does have rice and beans three meals per day, a dusty floor, lots of cement walls, multiple IV bags, too many tears, too many long needles, thin mattresses, patient stays that are much too long; and far too many incurable diseases, aggressive cancers, traumatic injuries, and untreatable disfigurements.
Imagine bed 1 sits a 12 year old boy who suffers from a mandibular tumor that disfigures his face. Bed 2 cries an 18 month old girl trying to remain still, wrapped in bandages recovering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over her body because she rolled into the fire place in the middle of her home. Bed 3 lays an 8 month old boy hooked to IV. He is thin, dehydrated, suffers from TB, and is likely just being diagnosed with HIV. Bed 4 has a 4 month old girl who goes for surgery almost weekly to drain the excess CS fluid in her head that is twice as large as it should be. Bed 5 has a 9 year old boy casted leg all the way to his hip, attached to a string and a few rusty weights dangling above the bed to keep the appendage elevated. The stories go on..but the pictures do better justice to these kids.
This past August the kids of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Akron, Ohio gathered around the figurative Baobab Tree for Vacation Bible School (African Theme). These kids had a great idea to help out kids just like themselves (but suffering from sickness) here in Africa. One by one our friends back at WPC donated stuffed animals, crayons, and coloring books to be given to kids here in Kenya. And gather they did...all in all over 250 stuffed animals, 200 coloring books, and just as many crayons were collected and packaged in an oversized action packer. In coordination we were able to pick them up in Washington and bring them with us to Kenya.
Well, Kids of WPC please see the happy kids below (and their new fuzzy friends) and how your desire to share God's Love gave these kids a little joy, some hope,and a piece of happiness. The pediatric chaplain said as we left, "Please thank those who have given from me and the patients. The kids are still sick and hurting..but they know someone thought about them. Today they have made the hospital a happy place."