Ruth and I went to the home down the road again this afternoon. It was time for their weekly bath and for more work on their little hands and feet. We lug along the interns and a visitor to help with entertaining the kids while we'd continue the task of digging out egg sacs.
No sooner had Ruth started bathing the two boys and I started working on Nancy's feet than rain drops started falling. Large drops. Drops you couldn't simply ignore. We scurried to move the children, the little wooden stools, and all our cleaning and medical supplies indoors.
Silas opened the wooden hatch to let in a little more light. I placed Nancy on a stool closest to the door and continued with the task. There is no electricity in their house, and the weather wasn't making it any easier to see.
Her big toe was rock hard with eggs and infection. As I started to carefully tear away the skin, I unveiled one egg sac after another. The 6-year-old's toe was host to no fewer than 500 eggs (each sac has at least 100 eggs). I left a gaping crater all along the edge of her toe and her nail, but after cleaning it later, filled it with Triple Anti-biotic Ointment and wrapped the toe like its never been wrapped before. I moved on to other parts of her feet. Her heel is still a raw mess, and I'm glad that Juli (ELI's family nurse practitioner who lives in Kipkaren) was planning on being her tomorrow to take a look at the kids...
After cleaning Nancy's feet and removing several hatched sacs (pulling the empty sacs from the crevices left as the flea had been feasting on the blood vessels while growing her eggs), I embalmed her heel in dry antibiotic powder and wrapped her foot with gauze and bandages.
In the meantime, Chelsea was trying her utmost best to distract my little friend Brian by blowing bubbles. But it just didn't work today. Nor did the candy I brought help. Ruth was digging out an egg sac from under his thumb nail. The kid was in terrible pain, but there's nothing we could do but just push through.
The good thing is that the tears dried up very soon after the sac finally came out, and he made his signature "eh?" every time a bubble floated by.
There were no dry socks in the house to put on Nancy's feet, and Chelsea took hers off without thinking twice about it. Though the socks were far too big, it at least kept her feet warm and dry.
As I drove to town to get Juli, I picked up neighbors along the way. "How are your children, Adele," the lady asked.
"Which ones? Do you mean the ones at the children's home?"
"No, the ones you have been caring for. We have heard about it."
I explained to her that the children were getting better, and that they must please keep praying. Heading home not much later, I saw "mama mayayi" ("egg mama", a neighbor who sells eggs and lives virtually next door to the family). I stopped to give her a ride, and on the way home, asked if she'd be willing to give 5 eggs a week to her neighbors.
"Of course," Mrs Kiptugen responded. "And you don't need to pay. We will all do our part to help."
And so, little by little, healing is happening. One neighbor is making the children porridge every morning and supplying milk every afternoon. Some of you have sent money to take care of this. By the way, employing the neighbor to make the porridge is not only helping the children, but it is providing a little income to my neighbor, too!
Tomorrow morning, Juli, Ruth and I will return to work more on the children's hands and feet. Their hands are getting close to being jigger-free, but Brian and Nancy's feet, especially, are far from being well.
Please keep praying for these children's complete healing--physically, for sure, but also emotionally and spiritually.
They're starting to understand, I believe, that it is not us white people who are healing them... Each time an egg sac comes out, I say, "Bwana asifiwe!" (Praise the Lord!), and they now respond with an "Amen!" and a smile. They may not know the Lord yet, but they know I don't take credit for their healing. It all goes to Him!