Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tent City

June 1st and I have been gone a week and NO the second time around does not make it any less heart wrenching. Today was spend at a "Tent City" south of Nakuru. It is here that approximately 500 Kenyans live in tents. Two years ago most of these people had jobs, homes and land they farmed, however, when the clashes took place in Kenya this tribe was forced from their land, and their homes burned. This tribe was forced to leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Yet they are the lucky ones, as many of their family members and friends were killed in the violence. They now live on a hundred acres, with each family living in a large16X18 canvas tent. The women now do hard labor in someone elses land for less than a dollar a day, barely enough to buy food and clothing, but nothing else.

When the team arrived there was an outpouring of gratitude from the start. These people are the considered to be the left overs from the violence and for us to come to them seeking those who needed help was overwhelming for all the villagers. It was here that my heartstrings were again tugged on. When half way there the day a young mother sat down with her two small girls, one who looked about two and the other about four years old. She told the story of how one month ago her tent caught on fire, falling on to the girls as the sleep. Both had suffered second and first degree burns. This young mother had taken them to the hospital, but because she had no money and was from the tent city they would not treat her children. One month after the accident the burns headed on the four year old, but have left debilitating scars and a contacted left hand. The two and half year, however had a horrible infection to her head and face and lost the tissue off several fingers. The sight of this little girl's head and face were horrible, but the anguish of this mother was overwhelming for me. As a mother and grandmother, myself I cannot imagine the heartache and anguish of watching your children in so much pain and not be able to do anything about it. Simply because she was who she was, and lived where she lived and had not a single shilling. There is no live by the golden rule in East Africa, thats for sure.

As I prepared to treat the children with IM and oral antibiotics and dressing changes the mother wept and just kept saying "God Bless You, for helping me!" Each day since that day I have wondered about this strong little family, one thing is for sure I know they will survive, as they had made it through the worst and have no place to go but up.

Just as sad as so many of the cases are, there were just as many that made me smile. Two small children came running by me with a home made truck constructed of old plastic milk jugs. I thought of TJ and the "Jimmy Rigger" he is and I could totally see him creating something like this, not from necessity, but for fun. I then thought of the toys the children have in the US, toys every where. Toys in cereal boxes, toys in Happy Meals, toys in the check out line at Wal-Mart, toys, toys and more toys. Yet I really don't think our children who have such an abundance of toys love or appreciate them any more than a "Milk Jug" truck.