A few weeks ago, World Hope held their annual medical "camp" at Hope Church in Nairobi, Kenya, aided by volunteers from Floyd County, Kentucky, and Orlando, Florida. (Hope Church is on the fringe of the Kawangware slum.)
A medical and pharmacy team saw 420 students from World Hope Academy on the first day and filled hundreds of prescriptions.
I had the privilege of doing triage. Each child timidly took a seat. Though most knew English, a volunteer translated in Swahili.
I asked their name and told them mine. I was amazed at some of their names, like "Promise" and "Favor." Though living in the slum, parents had hope for their children's futures!
My first duty was giving out worm medicine.
"I have some medicine for you to take," I told each one as they obediently held out their hand. It looked harmless, like a vitamin C tablet.
On the first bite, their faces scrunched, some gagged.
"It tastes really bad, but it is good for you," I encouraged. They struggled to get it down.
I said, "As soon as you swallow it, you can have a sucker (or lollipop)! Go ahead and pick out which one you want!" They eagerly chose their treat.
I then asked if they were sick or had any pain. Nearly everyone had stomach pain - regularly. I made notes on their papers, and they moved to wait in chairs for the doctors.
The students waited for triage, to see the doctor and then for the pharmacy. Last year, Diana - an amazing lady from Florida - realized that it would be beneficial to do activities with the kids as they waited. What joy she brought them this year!
Later in the day, I asked Dr. Kendrick - our Kentucky physician - what they would be able to do for all the stomach aches.
"It's worms," he sadly informed me - due to living conditions.
In the slum where they live, clean water is almost non-existent. The main water source is a stream where raw sewage flows continually.
The children had already been treated for their stomach trouble by the time they reached the doctors. How amazing and so very like God! He is at work providing answers before the problem is realized.
This medical camp is a very big deal. It's the one time of year most of the locals are able to see a doctor.
This year, Dr. Kendrick saw a teenager he was sure had leukemia. He was sent for further testing at the hospital.
Last year, a volunteer at the clinic appeared to have cancer. She, too, was sent for more tests. The diagnosis was confirmed: It was cancer. Hope Church took up donations for her surgery.
Two years ago, the principal at the school came to the clinic. Married 10 years, she and her husband longed to have a baby. Nakeesha, our Kentucky PA, found that she had the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. After insight and instruction, the principal left the clinic hopeful for the first time in a long time.
Her baby is one year old.
God gives us gifts, talents and passions. He can use them, large or small, to make a difference in this dark and hurting world. How can He use you?
Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.