Friday morning I woke up and got ready for the day. By the time I left my room to join Michael and his family for tea and bread, I saw that the line for the clinic was already in full swing– I counted 40+ people by 7 am.
By the time the rest of the group came, and the doctors and dentist were able to get set up (a little after 8:00), the line had grown significantly longer. We began to try and organize the chaos, and split the group into three lines– one to see the dentist, one line for adults, and one line for children.
While this helped at first, it quickly became apparent that we would either need to begin turning people away very early in the day, or do something else. Michael really wanted us to find a solution, as he admitted that most of the people coming just want some hope and encouragement by seeing someone, even if they know their problem can’t be completely fixed by meeting with us.
Nathan and I then took turns (and occasionally both of us) seeing the people who were visiting the clinic due to back pain (primarily older women who had carried heavy loads on their backs for many years), and handing out small doses of ibuprofen or aspirin. If it turned out they had symptoms that looked more serious we sent them to the doctors in the next room.
We had many people with coughs and colds, some with asthma-like symptoms, people with general pain from many years of a hard life, others with goiters, allergies, and some that were more serious. One child appeared to have cerebral palsy, and so Nathan worked with the parents to show them how to stretch his muscles so he will be more comfortable (he worked with kids with CP in the US for several years). There were many stories shared, but mostly I saw hope and happiness on the faces of the people who were glad simply to be listened to. Our interpreters, and the Daylight staff, volunteers, etc. who helped us make it through the day with some sense of organized chaos were invaluable.
Saturday was the final day for the construction project (the medical clinic wrapped up on Friday so we could be sure and get everything done). Desks and tables were varnished, see-saws for the kids were built, and clean up ensued. Everyone was in a hurry, because on Saturday afternoon we would have the large celebration/ceremony for the completion of the new dorm.
At 2:00, the celebration began with prayer and dedication of the new building, in the new building. Everyone shared their thankfulness for the project, and several songs were shared. We then moved out of the building (as the rain stopped) to join the larger group there to celebrate, who were gathered on the Daylight grounds. Every bench, chair, sofa, and available surface for sitting was utilized. I would guess there was around 300 people there.
The children from the old site sang for us, and the children from the new site did too. Maroto, the member of parliament, spoke, as did the man who sold us the land, Kenya. Several neighbors shared their thankfulness for the work of Daylight and Michael, as well as the work done this week, thanking God for all of the amazing things accomplished through Daylight and this group of visitors.
The real highlight was the professional choir of Pokot tribal members who came to share their traditional songs, chants, and dances with us, in traditional Pokot costume. It was a real blessing to observe.
The Daylight staff then shared their excitement for the project, and informed us that they had been brainstorming all week on how to show their appreciation. So, they called the guys up in small groups to present them with traditional Pokot clothing, tying the material (which doubles as blankets for the Pokot) around each man, and having them join in the singing, dancing and jumping of the choir to celebrate.
I was then informed that they had a gift for me, Kaporet, as well. Several of the teachers called me up and presented me with the ensemble of a traditional Pokot woman– a lighter piece of material to tie around the body, along with a beaded band to wear around the forehead, a belt of shells, and another set of shells to be worn across the body. I felt very surprised and honored, as well as thankful.
We then joined the group in a meal to end the celebration! It was quite the day. Today, Sunday, the construction/medical group has left to begin their journey home, and Nathan, Michael, and I (as well as Peter, and Michael’s daughter, Milka) will head to Allale.