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Helping Our Neighbors in Thigio, Kenya
Doing What We Can, Where We Can
This time of Covid-19 has been a challenge for the world. In Thigio, we have not experienced positive cases yet, but we are taking precautions just as if there were cases near us.
Our school programs have closed and will most likely remain closed until January. Still, our social worker and teachers have maintained phone contact with the families of our clients with disabilities. We check in to make sure everyone is okay and safe. Sadly, one of our children with severe disabilities passed away last month. Sister Pat, the manager for the education program, attended the funeral with some of the teachers. They wore masks and kept their distance, but the family knew they were there.
Some of our teachers help with the gardens attached to our adult education centers. They volunteer their time cutting the grass, weeding, and harvesting any produce. We share what we can with our clients and their families. The teachers also help clean the classrooms so that we will be ready to open again. Of course, they wear masks, sanitize their hands, and keep their distance.
Our Lady’s Hospice remains open. New patients from the hospital must complete a Covid-19 test. Those coming from home are admitted to a private room where they are observed for symptoms. Each patient can have one designated visitor who must be symptom free, wash their hands, and wear a mask when visiting. Visitors are also screened for fevers. Patients are encouraged to keep in touch with other family members by phone.
Holy Cross Clinic has remained open. Patients are screened before entering the clinic. Patients and staff wear masks and cleanse their hands even more often. Screening for gender-based violence is also particularly important as this is a now major concern. Persons living with HIV who attend the clinic have continued to receive food support every two weeks.
Most people have managed to find food since we are a farming community. Still, some of our neighbors have requested food support. One person in need of food was Martin (name changed for privacy), a man with Cerebral Palsy. Martin had his own small business selling liquid soap that unfortunately closed when his funds were depleted. He was very happy to receive food that will get him through the next few weeks.
Because the Women’s Development program usually takes place in a very small place, many activities have been postponed. Some of the women made masks from home during the early days of Covid-19 before masks were readily available, which helped them to earn capital and work on other projects from home. The sewing shop run by some of the women remains open and continues to make a small profit. Sister Elizabeth continues to provide mentoring and advice for the women.
What must be done? Our answer in Thigio is we do the little we can, where we can, for whom we can, and Trust that God will do the rest. We thank those who help us to reach our neighbors in time of need and thank all who are doing the same around the world, especially our health care personnel and emergency responders.
Written by: Sister Deborah, Daughter of Charity – Thigio, Kenya