11 December 2009

Moses comes to Charleston

Charleston, S.C.

When I was in Kenya earlier this year I sat in a meeting with the physician and administrator of Plateau Mission Hospital, the little hospital we had purchased a water purification system for.

Since my background is in maternity nursing I paid special interest to that part of the hospital. I asked the nurses to show me everything and documented it with pictures. I brought home a copy of their five year plan, got out a calculator and translated the Kenya Shillings to US dollars to see what they were dealing with. It dawned on me that the funding they needed to renovate their maternity unit was $695.00

$695 to renovate a whole hospital unit. That stuck with me and I went to our Women's & Children's staff and said. "What do you think? You might be able to take care of this."

We had already sent a small box with lifesaving infant laryngoscope and suction, but this group took the project on. I spoke at the nurse's retreat and described what I'd seen. The nurses brought out their check books and held bake sales. They sweet-talked the Obstetricians and Pediatricians. They blew me away with their compassion and enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, the gentleman who escorted us when we were in Kenya was due to arrive in Charleston this week. The Water Mission International headquarters is less than a mile from my hospital and they brought their international country directors in for a week long meeting. Moses was in town! It was his first trip out of Kenya and I couldn't wait to see him. He had been so kind and welcoming to us and had such an infectious joyful personality. He had been so excited to try pizza for the first time and visit a McDonalds.

Moses had been in meetings all week and yesterday was finally the day we got to welcome him to our hospital. I could hardly sit still waiting. I watched him as he walked up the hospital door by himself. I couldn't remember if we hugged in Kenya but we did this time! He was swarmed with chattering nurses and staff all eager to meet him. He coolly handled a press conference with Channel 4 and was interviewed by "West Of" newspaper with complete confidence.

The Women's & Children's staff presented him with a check for $3,200 to take back to help renovate the hospital. Watching his impressions as he toured our modern facility was humbling and delightful. I work with some incredible people who saw a need and chose to make a difference. It was one of the best days of my life.