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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lifting from the ash heap

Jesus specializes in the poor and needy.  Psalm 113 talks about lifting them from the ash heap, or basically the garbage dump.  I have two patients right now who would be essentially cast off as useless rubbish were it not for this hospital, and grace.
 Baby A has been with us for about six weeks.  He arrived severely malnourished, with a diagnosis of a cleft palate, and we thought we just had to help his mom figure out how to feed him.  But the cleft turned out to be an almost imperceptible problem, and paled in comparison to the fact that his mother has a fatal infection, plus TB. And has most likely, in spite of her best efforts to protect him, given both to him.  And has been abandoned by her husband.  And though she turned to her brothers, they aren't too excited about being responsible for her or her very sick baby.  Baby A. has a heart problem in addition to his infections and cleft palate and fatherless state.  We can't get him of oxygen, and he just coughs and coughs.  Many people, including most of Baby A's family, would not consider this a life worth struggling for.  But Jesus specializes in the impossible, and invites the discarded, the gasping, the infected and scabby, the lethargic and slow, to the feast.
Baby E was delivered at another hospital, after a way-too-long labor and a too-slow rescue.  They got her heart going, but her brain had been starved for oxygen too long, and as her body convulsed for a day they decided to transfer her to us.  Her mom has hung on for the last three weeks hoping that she's about to turn a corner.  We've seen a tiny improvement in her lung function, but we've barely been able to get her to keep down feedings.  A couple nights ago her mom was sobbing, because she's financially dependent upon her own parents, and they refused to pay bills for this hopeless baby.  Baby E's mother is hopeful, loyal, dedicated, to this child of hers who does not do anything for her.

Both Baby A and Baby E will not be able to pay their hospital bills.  They have no safety net, no one at all in this world who cares, except their single mothers.  Niether has a particularly promising prognosis.  Yet both would qualify as "the least of these" to whom Jesus points us to love.

Our Kijabe "Need Children's Fund" has been depleted by patient after patient, usually by matching funds with families who can't quite cover the total cost of care, averaging fifty or a hundred dollars.  But these two babies will have hospital bills on the order of several hundred to a thousand dollars.  Less than a few hours' worth of western care, but even the bargain of Kijabe Hospital adds up over weeks and months.  Both mothers gave permission for their pictures and stories to be shared with you.  They're desperate, desperately in love with babies that no one else cares about, and desperately without any resource of their own.

If you are prompted by the Spirit to lift these two children "out of the ash heap" or provide a cushion for others like them, you could:
1. Get together some friends, make a donation to your church (for your own accountability and tax deductibility).  Then your church could write a check to us, email us and tell us, we have it deposited into our bank account in the USA (we'll give you details) and withdraw the same amount from an ATM in Kenya, take the cash and deposit it in the hospital's Needy Children's Fund (#70351) where it will 100% help Baby A and Baby E and if there's any money left after that, others like them.  We can scan the deposit slip from the hospital and email it back to you for full-circle accountability.
2.  Donate through Africa Inland Mission, to Kijabe Hospital, using this link:  Donations for KIJABE.  YOU MUST DESIGNATE "Needy Children's Fund 70351" in the comments or it will be lost in the sea of this large hospital with many projects and needs.  Still send an email ( so we can track it.  It takes about a month to be processed by AIM, and another month to be processed by Kijabe Hospital, and there is a 15% deduction for overhead.  But this is the best way to give if you need a tax deduction and don't have a church to go through.

Over the two years I've been here at Kijabe the generosity of strangers has blessed the lives of dozens and dozens of babies and children.  I'm grateful to work on a team that cares for the least of these even if they can't pay, and aware that the hospital runs on a tight margin that will crumble if hundreds and thousands of dollars of bills go unpaid.  Thanks for anything you can do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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