I can not tell you how many times in the past 2 weeks I have said that! I do, I love it…even when I’m sitting at my desk, staring out the open door, and staring to cry because I think I can’t do it, God never fails to show up big and reaffirm to me that YES, indeed it was I that was called and he has every bit of faith in me. He reaffirms that he knows the way, and all I need to do is keep walking; he will show me the way.
Today was my FAVORITE DAY! Maybe ever! I went with Nelly to do home visits. I have a set of questions. I often deviate from them depending on what enters the conversations at the homes I visit. Today was especially great, we had 2 home visits. Let me tell you some highlights about them.
This morning I visited Sabasi (a chairman of one of our Nuru groups) and he spent over an hour answering our questions – He was interested when we asked about Family Planning, so Nelly explained it to him. We were walking away from his home, where 9 people live: he, his wife, their 2 children, his mother, and 4 of his siblings (his mother’s oldest is him at 24 yrs, and youngest is 4yrs). As we were walking away, he said we had entered into his father’s land. I said, “You don’t have to answer this, but I want to ask why doesn’t your father live with your mother.” He laughed and told me that his father has 8 wives. Until recently they all lived on one compound (think different houses but one plot of land – LOTS of sharing space and other things) but about 3 months ago, his mom built a compound (theirs has 2 houses: one is the mother's and one is Sabasi’s).
I asked if he has noticed a difference in his family’s health since they moved, and he emphatically said YES. Not as much diarrhea or malaria. We talked more about his dad, and he said he has 65 children. I asked him if with that many siblings, he had a chance to go to school, he said only to Form 1 (9th grade) – I asked why, he said he came home one day and his dad had found for him a wife to marry. He was 15! And he didn’t want to get married! So he left Kenya, and crossed the boarder to TZ – found work in a hotel, worked there for 2 years, then was transferred to Dar es Salaam, and worked there for 2 years. He then got married, and returned to his home place – now he and his dad are friends and he says “and if he gets mad – I am old now, so it doesn’t matter.” He told me he will only have 1 wife, and he only wants 3 children because he wants to send them to school. He recognizes the link between number of children, and education level reached. I asked what he wanted to be when he was younger and he said “A Kenyan Policeman, but I did not get to finish school.” WOW! I was so humbled to see this 24 year old so mature and wise in how to raise his family differently than his father had raised him. A joy to meet him.
The afternoon held a meeting with the Health Reps, which sadly - due to a miscommunication- only one person attended, but I was happy to see him because I had just mentioned to Nelly about him being someone to look at for leadership in our Health Program. ;) We met and then departed. He to his home, and Nelly and I to discover another home to visit. We literally just roll up on someone’s shamba (farm land), find their home entrance say “Hodi” (can I enter) and go in and ask if we can ask questions. It’s fabulous!
So, there were 2 mommas – I thought I’ll kill 2 birds with one stone – 2 home visits asking each of them the questions. This turned out to be a little difficult as the 2nd lady was not very vocal. What happened as we sat and talked was incredible! Not only did other momma’s come in, with their kids, but the kids from that compound came in. I am not kidding when I tell you at one point there were 20 kids in there with us. A slanted dirt floor room with 3 chairs, a small bench, and some kind of farming tool that a lady sat on. These people were not in a Nuru group – and our afternoon was FULL of teaching. We asked questions, but as issues arose Nelly stepped in and taught. It was AWESOME! She had an opportunity to talk about Respiratory Tract Infections and Malaria (causes and prevention), Bed net treatment and care, Child Immunizations, Boiling water before use, Birth Spacing and Family Planning, Diarrhea and ORS. Visiting a clinic when sick - treating the cause not the symptoms. And on, and on....So many things! I was so proud of her.
And towards the end is when about 25 people were in the room, and I piped up to say – “this is an announcement for EVERYONE ….” At which all the kids got excited cause everything else had been towards the mommas. And I explained that hand washing is the number one thing to do to prevent disease. I explained why, because diseases are passed from hand to hand (and I shook the momma’s hand) from hand to mouth (pointing to a kid with hands in his mouth) from hand to table (and I touched the kids hands on the table in front of me) and I told them when they should wash their hands with soap and water. I encouraged them just to try it and see if their families got healthier.
I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soooooooo much! I love my job! I can’t believe I get to do this, and teach this! I love it so much!
The momma who’s house we were at asked if I would wait so she could milk a cow and make me chai. ;) I had to get going, but what hospitality. I departed from the house after asking EVERYONE in the room to freeze and taking pictures of every nook and crany where they were standing or sitting. I wanted to be able to remember this day always!