A few weeks ago two of our kids were admitted to the hospital so that they could be treated. When I walked in the nurses ran up to me and said that they had been waiting for me to show up and they knew eventually I would be back. They had a child named Brian that they needed help with. They told me that his mother, Caren, had epilepsy and a mental illness. The story they were told is that someone from Kisumu, a town about four hours away from Kitale, loaded them up onto a taxi and when they arrived there was no one to pick them up. Luckily, the driver sensed that something was not right and brought them to the hospital. They had been there for three months and the hospital social workers had been unsuccessful in their search for any relatives that they could stay with.
The nurse took me into the room and Brian was just lying their by himself. His mother wandered off often, leaving him all alone in the back room. He is four years old and has cerebral palsy and is unable to sit, walk or talk. He is malnourished because he mother is not capable of understanding and meeting his needs.
The next step was to see if his mother would agree to let him come to the house. So I saw her sitting down and went to have a chat with her. I introduced myself and told her that I take kids like Brian and she said that his neck and arms need to be stronger so he can walk. I told her that he would get therapy with us and she seemed to like the idea and agreed to let him come. So we got all of the paperwork finished and we told her to say goodbye and she asked how many Sundays he would be gone. It broke my heart, but we knew it was what was best for Brian so we brought him to PKC.
Over the next few days I saw Caren everyday when I went to visit Rhoda and Nancy. I got to know Caren a little better and realized that she probably wasn’t mentally ill, but has some cognitive delays due to her epilepsy. I knew if she stayed at the hospital eventually they would send her away and she would be left to fend for herself yet again. I couldn’t get her off of my mind, but because of her age was hesitant to bring her back to the center.
The next day I arrived at the hospital and the social worker walked right up to me and said “why don’t you just take Brian’s mom too?” I instantly told her to start the paperwork and we told Caren that she would finally have a safe place to call home. On her first day she asked me if mamas could go back to school after they have a baby and I took her straight to third grade, where she’s been learning ever since.
She is doing great in her new environment. We are glad that we have both Brian and his mom with us. Caren is working through all of the trauma of her past that seems to be full of abuse, neglect and being taken advantage of. The sad reality of women with disabilities in Kenya is that they are often taken advantage of by men who see that they are vulnerable. Please pray for Caren as we try to help her slowly unpack these traumas and the things that she has been through in her past. God is truly a healer and we are excited to see how Brian and Caren both heal and thrive at PKC!