Myself is called Dorothy. I have house in Mississauga. Myself I has 1 brother two sister. Myself is good be cause myself clean. I had help writing this as Kendall was correcting my work to make sure it sounded right. My self is thinking my self is crazy.
We spent all day reading 4 page handwritten letters that the standard 5 and 6 class wrote. We had given them the assignment of writing 1 page about themselves, a page about their family, a page about their school and then one page drawing on how they saw their future. Based on the 50 letters we have so far it is fair to say that Matunda Kenya will have in influx of matatu drivers and possible airplane pilots. And the army will be well equipped.
The letters were raw, pure and just really really sad. Some were just very funny in the sentences. Such as I am impotant. Impotant? How is that possible when she is 11? Ummm I think she meant important. There were also the tear jerkers. As one 11 year old explained “myself had a mother and father, a blanket and a bath. myself could make tea in the kitchen in the morning before school until few days later…. My father died of cholera, my mother died and I was called orphan. I had no blankets, shoes, clothes. Then my brother died cause of no food and bad water and when he died I can never forget that day.” This letter was the one that just killed us. Kendall was like OMG just hook up the IV line cause of the tears.
Then there was the letter where Edwin explains how everyone is sick at home and there are 8 people with no parents only uncle and at school he is happy and at home they cry. Ironically we read that letter and he is the brother of the girl that cried yesterday when we asked about her family.
Then the kids letters where the writing is brilliant like Charity who used words like and in my leisure time I like to dream. She would like to be a lawyer (the only one in 50 that was not a pilot or matatu driver) and that when she is a lawyer, she will build a home for needy people. Her letter was just by far brilliant. What happens to girls so intelligent here, what happens to a child so smart and yet living in circumstances that may never allow her to continue to high school and then university. There are the ones that bring tears because their stories are sad and in Charity’s case the tears come because she is way to smart and has so much potential and she is here lumped into a world of no hope.
I can talk about so many of these kids such as Cornelius that has one arm because he had a flesh eating disease and they needed to cut it off. He is 6. His smile is bigger than the moon. In fact, me and Kendall took such a liking to him that some of the kids started tucking one arm into their shirts so that we would notice them. It was actually very funny when Kendall goes OMG look what the kids are doing.
Then there is Sheriff Merichu. 8 years old and his feet are rotting. His family is infected with jiggas. These are ticks that get into the skin starting at the feet or hands and suck the blood and then they lay eggs in the skin and when they hatch there are over millions and millions and they start to eat the skin. His condition was so bad that flies and spiders were on his feet eating the jiggas. I swear we almost puked. Now, his whole family has it and their house is infested. Francis said he treats the school every morning with a jigga spray killer and but he can’t spray his home. That they can’t go and do that so I say that I would look into the the cost for his family and immediately he gets on the phone calls a Doctor and tells the Doctor I am treating the whole school and 10 families in the village? The medicine is $30 a shot. WHAAAAT I never said that? So it begins……
Slowly we are starting to get pulled and yanked in all financial directions. Now the water tank is costing more, the guy needs more money, the cost to fund more uniforms, help one with medicine then you have to do treatment for the entire village. If he sees I am not drained enough he then brings a women into the house that is pregnant and she has a major rash that has spread to her kids. They want me to diagnose her. I am like Why can’t you understand I am not a nurse. And Kendall is like nurse Dorothy heal her. Well, I do the prenatal exam and the baby is due I figured in two weeks the heart beat is there and I tell her you need to go the hospital and get that checked in case its measles. Here we go… Francis said she is a guardian of one of the orphans and she has no money and needs transport to the hospital and the medicine. AND? I am like Francis you can’t do this to me. Kendall is just in shock and shaking her head at me basically saying nooooooo don’t’ do it we will be infested with women here tomorrow. So I say flat out NO. Francis, you have these kids here and these people need help why don’t you help them? And he goes into a speech to her about he has no money and he has to feed these kids….I just am so EXHAUSTED AND DRAINED. It’s so hard when you become a human bank machine and you want to help everyone especially since in small numbers the cost is so little but when one person turns to 20 people I just can’t do it alone.
Kendall and I just sat at the table and there was a knowing between us that we are DONE. WE ARE SOOOOOOO DONE. Francis saw it and came over and said What’s wrong and Kendall just spazzed, put her sweater over her face and said I WANT TO GO HOOOOOME!!! I just can’t take it anymore. The money, the diseases the kids, every minute its something else. I just can’t do anymore.
But this is how it is. This is what traumatized me the first time I was here. I was just done emotionally. This time I feel the same but my skin got thicker and my voice is stronger. I know they are poor, the whole village is poor, but it gets insane when we are making Sophie’s choices all day long on who gets help and who does not. And then live with the fact that you know some that didn’t get your help will probably die. I have said this before that the ones you don’t help weigh stronger on your soul then feeling the blessings of those you did help. Before I felt the need to help the one that were sick and poor and this time I am starting to see the ones that can be shining stars, to raise them up and get them out of here. It’s a choice of helping or saving. One minute I think I am sure about my decisions I am making, the next I am crying that I am in way over my head. I just know for sure I am once again feeling DONE and can’t take it anymore. BUT then I will wake up tomorrow look into the yard and see all these faces. Happy to see me, too innocent to know about the hard choices I have to make everyday. And I get dressed, go outside and do it all again, another day because what I do know for sure is any ONE CHOICE is better then having never made a choice at all