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May 8, 2018

BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD

Loima the role model
Loima the role model

Today the motor- mobile clinic reached Bokish village, a remote village in Laikipia North sub-County whereby access to transport and communication is a challenge. The area seems like a lost village from the past. Children roam in the forest playing while also looking after goats and sheep. I get to understand that the mature men are the ones in-charge of herding cattle. An empty building stands as a school, but has no life going on – with neither teachers nor pupils.

We are welcomed by the village headman who is delighted about CHAT’s health workers who can help his clan members who have been experiencing health problems. The village had been informed before by CHAT’s partners, the CORPs prior to the team. After making camp for the clinic, the villagers start streaming in for services.

Lolima* who is 27 years old has six children - 4 girls and 2 boys. She got married off at a young age of sixteen by her stepmother, after her own mother died. She was in class 6 and would have liked to complete her education but her step-mother colluding with her father and decided to marry her off - so as access the bride price wealth for their family. She does not like the idea of adding more children to her already large family that include her husband and co-wives’ children. After having consulted the CORP who was mobilizing in the village the previous days, she came prepared to choose and receive the 5-year contraception protection implant. She does not involve her husband because the decision on the number of the children one has is for the happiness of the husband - and the idea of pausing child birth will not augur well with him. She tells that she will discuss this later with him, and she is tired so she better receive first.  She’s enthusiastic about it and believes that after receiving the implant she will become stronger since she has escaped the tiresomeness brought about by constant pregnancies; she will have more strength to complete her daily chores such as collecting fire wood, water, milking and looking after the children.

Jackline, who is a CORP partnering CHAT, tells her that not only will she  benefit from receiving the implant but her children as well as she will devote more time to taking care of them.  She will also be able to improve her wellbing and have time to engage in income generating activities if she chooses to. She’s so happy and tells CHAT that she will refer “others”

With your support (cost shared), within this past quarter under review, CHAT was able to reach a total of 25,347 individuals with Family Planning that encompassing ecological awareness information, of which a total of 86 ANC mothers were attended, 56 children immunised, 1,132 patients treated for different conditions and a total of 13,405 women chose and took different family planning methods.

“We're in business to relieve human suffering, to help feed the poor, to provide education and culture - but above all else, we're concerned with the relief of human suffering”-Jon Huntsman, Sr.

Taking health services to the needy is our passion
Taking health services to the needy is our passion
Feb 11, 2018

Nabolo The Brave Hearted

Saving Life is our passion
Saving Life is our passion

CHATs motor mobile clinic visited Bokish community in Mukogondo, North Laikipia, Kenya to offer medical services, because the nearest facility is over 30 Kms away - up and through the  Mukogondo hilly forest, which has some of the worst driving terrain in Laikipia County - (one can only drive down the cliff with an off road car – a Land Rover or Land Cruiser - but not any other car). The indigenous forest harbors hunters and gatherers, with a few pastoralists that migrated from other areas. It is so dry at this time of the year; and overstocking compounded by over population and poverty is the cause of overwhelming degradation of the environment.

“During CHATs outreach visit to this desperate traditional, conservative community, the majority of the community visited the clinic to receive different health services -  and I being a Pastor and mobiliser, realized that it was my duty to ‘bring light’ to this marginalised community” CHATs CORP partner, Parare, narrates. It’s during a ‘Lemojong’- a Maa  traditional singing and dancing event held at night by the young beaded girls, that Parare  met Nabolo*- a beauteous beaded girl.

“I can see that you are a Pastor & health mobiliser. I have been listening to your ‘preachings’ but realized that the youth in this community have been brainwashed by tradition;  in fact you won’t believe that most of these young innocent-looking girls (barely 15 years old), have two or more boyfriends and have broken their virginity in the name of attending such events,” Parare recalls Nabolo’s comments. After an in-depth discussion between the two, Parare realized that these innocent young ladies just practiced what they traditionally knew; Nabolo could not give any risks associated with their actions – she was just doing what she learnt from her peers.

“I have noticed that the information about integrating Population, Health & Environment (PHE) as a component within the FP is not for my ears alone as most of us, including the community, must work together to organize a big meeting at the village square during one of the ‘Chekuti or Gumbaro skul’- a kind of schooling for beaded girls, morans (young warriors) & elderly, who have never attended elementary school,” Nabolo explained.

“CHAT management organized for the motor mobile clinic as an opportunity to provide choices to this vulnerable community choosing between ‘ill’ culture and, to my surprise on that particular day, the mobile clinic turned the whole event into celebrations aand many community members visited the clinic to receive fp health services instead of their usual classes,” Nabolo narrates.

“I noted that majority of these young girls and morans had STIs, with a few bold young beaded girls confirming that they have had several unsafe abortions traditional using herbs they prepare locally,” CHATs Nurse Ntinyari explains. “I wish I had met this team on time as at my age, I have already had an abortion as I was not sure of the moran responsible for my ordeal, but at least you have been here and I gained much from all of you, and I will ensure that the many generations yet to come will never undergo the same experience as mine. Three years implant is my ‘life saver’ now and will always work closely with you, Pastor,in spreading the news,” an amazed Nabolo laments. 

“I can attest that I being a Pastor and a CORP will not only provide health information, but also spiritual nourishment to this community as family planning goes hand in hand with religion as birth control is an important moral choice - motherhood is a choice not a requirement,” CORP & Pastor Parare then waved farewell to the community

With your support (cost shared) in the quarter under review, CHAT has in  been able to reach a total of 19,734 individuals with Family Planning encompassing ecological awareness information of which, a total of 71 ANC mothers were attended, 85 children immunised, 1,047 patients treated for different conditions and a total of 8,685 women chose and took different family planning methods.

Feb 11, 2018

The First Law

Community Empowerment
Community Empowerment

From the activities that were going on in this compound, one would confuse it for a funny circus road show. Mzee Leseikono’s* compound was all focused on the traditional healer who was trying to ‘fix Laisa’s’ recent acquired bareness! It had now been three years and still no sign of pregnancy! The spirits must have been wronged and that is why she was being cleansed. Deep down though, Laisa knew exactly what was going on, she had gone to the hospital for the five year family planning method. This was her well-guarded secret and if she had to she was going to die with it.

Four years ago, CHATs CORP Lokipi met Laisa, at first she was frail and to be honest looked years older than her age-mates. “At a tender age of twelve, I was married off by my uncles to an old man as a fifth wife and am currently a mother of three, and as the latest wife, I was obviously a close successor to all his properties,” Laisa bragged. She was at rock bottom and needed assistance, but she was not sure of the kind of help she needed.

“By now, all my lucky friends are done with the high school education, something that I did not get the opportunity to go through,” Laisa confirmed.

CORP Lokipi saw this young-looking mother all stressed up and could not understand her predicaments and since “I always try to help individuals and couples through counselling, I tried to enquire what her problems were, only for her to introduce herself as Laisa. She told me of her predicament and as a counselor, I planned to meet her the next day at the nearby dispensary so that we could discuss some few issues that included family planning relating it to ecological awareness where she was able to understand the rationale and how this could be an opportunity of bettering her life - and with that Laisa suddenly decided to settle for the five year contraception protection method. And that is how Laisa ‘acquired bareness’ together with the help of the facility nurse,” Lokipi remembers their first encounter.

“Later I was told of the activities at Laisa’s homestead and decided to visit and to my surprise, I met Mzee Leseikono,” Lokipi says.

“I have three trees growing in my compound and my wives are small scale farmers as they cultivate kales and onions of which we eat and others we sell as a source of income. All these thanks to my young wife-Laisa who after meeting with one Lokipi, showed her how to live healthy,’ Mzee Leseikono affirmed.

With this, Lokipi sensitized him on the importance of how to allow his wives to space their children “imagine then with all this domestic work at his fingertips they would have the strength to make his home the envy of his peers!!”  And Lokipi slowly helped him understand the importance of contraceptives, after-which he agreed for all his five wives to be allowed to choose a method – after all the service was free and readily available. This now made Laisa safe with her long hidden secret.

“It is important that everyone understands the co-relation between saving the environment and planning our families!” said Lokipi.

“I heard, know and believe that the first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else and I am now on a mission to ensure that my people understand and practice the same,” Mzee Leseikono attested.

To support young mothers like Laisa and the community in general, CHAT has in the two months been able to reach a total of 19,734 individuals with Family Planning encompassing ecological awareness information of which a total of 8,685 women chose and took different family planning methods

“Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victim.” » Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
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