Sorry for the lag in posts yet again. I am trying so hard to fit in as much as I can as I prepare to head home in a few days. I am very sad that this trip is so short, but am enjoying every minute of being here. We finally made it out to visit Protenciana’s mother, Pamela. Last year we learned that Pamela was HIV+ and is stuck in a very desperate living situation. The Kenyan government offers free ARV’s at the district hospital, but they need to be taken with three good meals a day or else they make the person very sick. This is a major problem for Pamela because there isn’t enough food around, so she doesn’t take the medicine. Pamela lives with her two sisters and their children. We have taken four children out of the house to ease a bit of the load, but now there is not any one old enough to collect firewood and Pamela is too weak. So while her sister is at work during the day Pamela stays home and cares for the kids.
We decided to take Pamela to the hospital to get the medicine that she needs and we took baby Marvelous with us. This was the most serious two year old that I have ever seen. I spend lots of time around kids at home and this baby did not smile even once during the entire first half of the day. It turns out that Marvelous had not eaten since the night before and it was almost 2:00 in the afternoon. So while Pamela was at the hospital waiting for the lab results we all went to lunch. After we ordered, Margaret, the headmaster of the school that Prote goes to, asked me if I had ever fed a baby before. I told her that it was a part of my job and Marvelous was in my lap before I knew it. So when the matoke, cooked bananas, came I started mashing them up and feeding her. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. She was lunging toward the spoon everytime it was lifted out of the bowl. This tiny baby ate the entire plate of food, which was probably about 7 whole bananas. Afterwards, Marvelous lit up and smiled for the first time.
It was a heartbreaking experience to see the true face of poverty. I have no idea what it is like to not know where my next meal is coming from, but this is something that this young baby thinks about everyday. It is a sad, but very real part of life out here. All I can do is pray for this family and others like it that God will provide for them.