Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Look! More frequent updates!

We are doing our best now (one month into our trip - oops) to update the blog more frequently and keep you more updated about what we've been up to. So with that, here goes...

Things are going well and we're working hard to try and create sustainable systems and projects here in Kenya so that we can develop and expand as time goes on. We have spent the past month and a half trying to ensure that each project is supplied with the necessary resources and people to run smoothly and we are now trying to come up with new ideas and initiatives to expand what we are currently doing.

Two of the HIV+ patients that we had been supporting in the hospital for the past month have been discharged. One of the women had been in the hospital so long that she couldn't remember when she arrived and her bill was extremely large. She obviously is not working and has only a 16 year old daughter and would not have been able to pay it. Fortunately, a friend contacted a radio station and told them about the situation and one day when we went to visit the patient, we found that she had been discharged and the bill in its entirety had been paid.

Also, the HIV+ woman that Meghann mentioned in a previous post and who was 7 months pregnant became ill and we brought her to the hospital. A few days later, much to our surprise, the doctors informed us that she was actually 40 weeks pregnant and 2 weeks overdue! The doctors performed a C-section and a baby girl was born. It was lucky that we brought her to the hospital when we did so that the baby could be delivered safely. We began to take the necessary precautions to prevent HIV transmission from the mother to the child but a few weeks after she was born, the baby girl died. This was very sad news but we learned that the baby was unhealthy even before birth and that admitting the mother to the hospital when we did likely saved her life. She has since been discharged and returned to her four other children and is doing well. We're working on finding a social worker to counsel her about family planning.

We were able to provide the ladies of two of the HIV+ support groups with reusable sanitary pads that had been sewn by some very helpful groups back in America. They were excited to receive these as they had been previously using items such as newspaper and old rags. We also hope to provide them with the supplies to create their own pads as a sustainable and affordable option, rather than purchasing disposable pads every month.

Construction has been underway at Tunza to try and solve some problems that existed when we arrived. Windows were built in some of the rooms and classrooms that were too dark for the students to learn or see during the day. Wood and cement were also purchased to build a stronger foundation for a large water tank that was at risk of collapsing. A fresh coat of paint was put on the entire center and holes and cracks in the walls were patched up.

Also at Tunza, we're working to bring some social workers from a nearby hospital to talk to the kids once or twice a week about issues such as life skills, sexuality, HIV/AIDS. Many of the children have come from very difficult circumstances and faced great hardships and would benefit from having someone to talk to about decisions they face and problems they're dealing with. Additionally, many of the children are adolescents and we hope to educate them and prevent cases of abuse and sexual misconduct in the center.

Today, we took four students that are attending Jamii Children's Center (an Uweza supported project) to Olympic Primary School for testing so that they can enter Class 1 this coming year (pictured to the left). Olympic Primary is a government-sponsored school and the best school in Kibera-- and an interview and test are required for entry. The students are currently attending Jamii despite finishing their pre-primary education and ready to move on to Class 1 because their families were financially unable to send them to primary school. They all passed the test with flying colors (two students received 100 percents and two missed only one question) and are very excited to begin school next January. The students are part of our child sponsorship program, even though we have yet to find for some of them, we knew they were too bright and hard working to not let them have a chance at proper schooling--so if you are interested in our sponsorship program or sponsoring one of these children, please email us!

That's all for now. Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you - none of this would be possible without you and both we and the people we blog about truly appreciate your support!

Jen
jen@uweza.org

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