During the February 2020 visit to Kenya, the Yellowmen medical and educational teams spent a great deal of time in discussions with the local people of Mbara about the possibility of building a clinic that would serve this isolated mountain community. In September 2019 we had the first inkling that the only way that the devastating health impacts of not having any local medical services could be mitigated for Mbara was by building a clinic. Interviewing local people made the situation and urgency of a solution abundantly clear.
Richard, aged about 50, spoke of the death of his brother.
‘The biggest problem of Mbara is that the medical facilities at Sostin one way and Sengele the other is that they are at least 5 km away. We need our own medical facility to care for us.
A time ago my brother was very ill. I decided to carry him 6 km to Sostin clinic and walked with him on my back. It was hard. When I got to Sostin they said that they had no medicine for him and to take him down the mountain to Marich. I walked the next 7 km to Marich. When I got down the mountain, I put my brother on the ground so that I could rest. I found he was dead.’
‘I was born up mountain Kaimot. I am 69 years old. There was no school in the village when I was born and we could not afford to send me to a boarding school. I gave birth to 10 children but three died. Two had legs that swelled up and then they died. Another baby died when I had to get to Ortum (25 km away) for a caesarean. It took so long to get there that by the time they delivered the baby it was dead. I try to help local mothers so that they do not suffer like I did.’
These two stories are examples of the many tragedies that devastate families and cause unnecessary suffering and death. However, the general state of health desperately needs improving. In February 2019, a medical examination of 130 children at a village primary school gave the following results. Not a single girl was without one problem or another: 33 had skin infections, 44 were suffering from urinary tract infections, 16 were suffering persistent headaches and on testing were found to be terribly short-sighted and requiring spectacles, 5 had bronchitis, 5 had vaginal thrush… and so the list went on. A number of the girls had been in some distress for weeks. Two girls were sent for urgent medical attention, one with chronic abscesses on her leg which had eroded a great deal of the calf muscle, the other suffering from a serious heart condition that left her breathless after minimal exercise.
In such an isolated community even schools struggle to look after their children. Because of the terrain children often have to board at school. Often the school does not have the facilities to keep all of the children and many sleep on the floor of their classroom and don’t have access to showers let alone medical care.
This is a poor area and lack of facilities in schools reflects the inability of locals to pay anything towards their children’s education. Schools have few resources and teachers struggle to maintain the standard of the education they offer.
In order to remedy the situation we are starting a major fundraising effort to not only build a clinic but to invest in the four local schools. We aim to provide school uniforms, develop vocational training courses and create job opportunities with a small factory producing re-usable sanitary towels. We hope to support another workshop for soap manufacture and invest in other projects in farming.
Watch out for further details of the project and follow it as it develops.
Want to help? Look out for our Crowd funder page which goes live on September 24th 2020.