Hope Matters is pleased to announce that after much prayer, fund-raising, and searching, we are welcoming this Toyota Land Cruiser Prado into service. It will duo as an ambulance and community health vehicle. Please join us in giving thanks as we dedicate this vehicle to the glory of God and for the service of Kenyan people. A big thanks to those who helped to make this purchase possible!
Next Wednesday marks the start of the season of Lent Some of you are likely very familiar with Lent and take part annually. Others may not be so aware. It’s a 40 day period (not counting Sundays) of anticipating and preparing for the celebration of Easter. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life in both anticipation and preparation. There have been major events such as graduations, weddings, births, and of course the launch of Hope Matters, that are exciting, but also require time and attention to prepare for. Lent is a period of time that allows us to contemplate Easter and all that it means. To honor this season we are going to be putting together a series of devotionals for lent. We will post one on the blog each week. If you would like to receive copies through e-mail please drop me a line at Michelle@hopemattersintl.org and let me know that you’d like to get the Lent devotionals in your inbox.
I’d also like to throw out a challenge. One of the traditions of Lent is to give something up during this time period to help focus on the meaning of Easter and on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. If you are planning to participate in this aspect of Lent, would you consider giving something up and in it’s place making a choice to support the ministry of Hope Matters this season? It could be as simple as saying “Instead of that specialty shop drink every morning I’ll take coffee from home in a travel mug.” I’ve known many people who have given up chocolate for this period. It could mean cutting out reducing fast food and/or restaurant visits for a while. This is a great time to get the whole family involved in thinking about what they can do to help others by making a small personal sacrifice. And sometimes that sacrifice becomes a bit easier when you consider what a difference it is making in the life of another family. If you are willing to take on this challenge, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to drop me a line anytime. I always love getting e-mail! Or you can share about your Lent plans on our Facebook page. Take care and may God bless you as we prepare for Easter together.
Here’s the long awaited post about everything you ever wanted to know about jiggers and then some… As we have been sharing some pictures and stories about our current jigger campaign in the community of Turbo, I’ve had quite a few questions come up. So here’s the dirt on the jiggers of Turbo.
What are they? The scientific name for the jigger is Tunga Penetrans. Its really a parasitic flea that burrows into the hosts skin and then lays eggs there. The eggs develop into larvae which, you guessed it, produce more jiggers! The whole process takes a few weeks to go from initial bite to full blown infestation with eggs and larvae.
Other than being disgusting what problems do they cause? The location that the jigger bites and burrows in becomes both painful and extremely itchy. Unfortunately these fleas also carry a lot of bacteria on their bodies. Once the flea imbeds itself in a child’s skin, that child is also being exposed to the bacteria and can develop a super-infection.
Why do so many people have this problem? The area where we are seeing huge numbers of infections is a slum area. People live in crowded and rather unhygienic conditions. Most members of this community do not have good shoes. Most commonly seen are flip-flops that are open and allow the fleas easy access. Many children don’t even own a pair of closed-toed shoes. If they do, they are reserved for school and worn until there is nothing left to wear. Houses are often not well maintained with regular smearing, allowing the jiggers to set-up shop inside the mud-homes. (Smearing is coating the house with a fresh, smooth layer of mud and sealing up any cracks where the jiggers like to live.)
So why don’t they wear shoes and have better hygiene? This is where we really start to see some of the root problems. Besides being a very poor community, alcohol is a major issue in this area. Most of the people living in the slums have had extremely difficult pasts. Some were born into poverty, others have faced unspeakable acts of violence and rejection. Ultimately, the majority have turned to home-brew alcohol as a coping mechanism. It’s not unusual to enter the community at 9 in the morning and find the majority of people you meet already completely drunk. In this state it’s hard to do things like properly maintain a home and care for one’s children. This is why we are partnering with Empowering Lives’ Anti-Alcohol program in this community.
How do you treat them? It has generally been believed that the best way to treat is to soak the feet in a special disinfectant and then surgically remove the bugs and all of the eggs. Up to this point that is how we have conducted treatment. We have recently heard from some other organizations that they have had success by following a strict daily soaking regimen to kill the parasite and that it will fall out. Because we haven’t been able to find a scientific study comparing the two methods, we are conducting our own study right now in partnership with some local healthcare providers. Our goal is to find out the best possible treatment method and then to provide it, free of charge, for the children and adults in this community.
How can I help? Thanks for asking! First of all you can pray. This is not an easy task and at times we feel discouraged as we try to tackle it head-on. Secondly you can give by clicking here. We do not charge our jigger patients for their treatment. So your donation to Hope Matters can help underwrite expenses for treatment. We have already had a few donations specifically for the purchase of shoes. It is our hope to be able to purchase a good, closed-toe, pair of shoes to every child in this community who is being impacted by jigger infections. We believe that by investing in the children we are investing in the future of the community.
Thanks for taking the time to learn about jiggers. It’s not a pleasant or fun topic. Honestly, some days when I return home from Turbo I’m completely drained both emotionally and physically. But then I look into the eyes of these children who I’m able to physically touch with the love of Jesus and I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
- Join us in giving thanks for the great start to this new year. We have been able to form some great partnerships in reaching out into the slums of Turbo. Lives are being changed!
- This month we are starting a comparison intervention study of jigger treatment methods. We will be doing a jigger eradication program in two different primary schools using two different methods. Once we determine which treatment method is most successful, we will be moving forward with that method in the greater Turbo area. Pray for wisdom, energy, and success as we move ahead with this plan.
- This month we are also beginning a search for the right vehicle to use for community outreaches and for transporting sick patients. Pray that God would open the doors and that we might get the best possible vehicle with the funds that we have to work with.
- We were so blessed with the generosity of many end-of-year gifts to the ministry of Hope Matters in Dec. However, we still have a need to increase our monthly support. Pray for God’s provision in this area.
- In addition to the vehicle search, we are actively looking for the right piece of land to build the Hope Matters Hospital. Pray for wisdom and guidance as we search. Pray also for the provisions for this endeavor.