Monday, October 10, 2011
First (even though my title is future plans), I want to update you all on Whitney, the little girl I mentioned in my last blog who desperately needed a sitter. Some wonderfully kind and generous people bought Whitney's chair. It was made here in Nairobi and delivered to Mbita. Here is a picture of Whitney enjoying her new chair. You can see how happy she is to be up and looking around at all of the faces she loves. She is now able to interact more and is having great fun doing it!
Now, to my future plans...which are directly related to Whitney. Since Whitney's successful story, there have been many other similar situations. It has become blaringly clear that one of the greatest needs I keep running into is the availability of good equipment and basic resources for children with special needs. Most of the time it is simple equipment and adaptions that can make the most tremendous difference in someone's life. Another example is a 16 year old boy I have been working with in Nairobi (for confidentiality purposes, I will call him Sam). Sam had a stroke in March due to a bad dose of Quinine. He is a bright boy, but the stroke has left him unable to speak well and wheelchair bound. Some people from the US brought an IPOD touch for us to use with some of our patients. Apple has an app that allows you to download communication boards to the ipod. With a series of pictures or by typing, someone would be able to use the ipod as their voice to communicate wants/needs. I let Sam use it and he immediately picked it up and was using the machine to communicate in sentences and short paragraphs. I have not seen him so hopeful and full of joy the entire time I have been working with him. It is amazing how this device opened his world. God is good and someone has already offered to purchase an ipod for Sam to use as his own.
There are so many Whitney's and Sam's out there. It may be more sitters or ipods or it may new things, like special wheelchairs, but the need is prevelant and there is a simple solution; God uses people to help people. There are people in Kenya who can start producing some of these items (for example, the fundi in Nairobi who was able to make a chair designed just for Whitney). What an incredible solution. The fundi needed work; Whitney needed a chair; many people are looking for specific ways to help. All three needs were met by each other.
So, how do we keep this going? I have been praying that God would show me a way to continue growing this project so that these basic needs can be met. I am going to be visiting the states for the next month. While there, I will be looking at how to set up a non-profit organization to be able to filter these needs to people who are looking for specific ways to help. In return, these donors would have a place to go to learn of real people with real needs and be able to donate through the organization, tax-free.
This is just the very beginning and there is so much to learn. Right now, it is a little thought, but God is a big God and it is all in His hands. Please join me in prayer for direction and guidance. If you have any suggestions or advice, please do pass them on. I will continue to update you on the process and details as I learn them myself.
In the mean time, please continue to pray for Whitney, Sam and all of the people living with disablities who don't have access to the basic needs to improve their ability carry out a life with which God has blessed them.
Thank you for all of your prayers and kind words and thoughts. Your encouragement is a blessing.