On behalf of everyone one of us at Canadian Nurses for Africa, I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of the ladies who knitted the fabulous Teddy Bears and finger puppets as well as those that sewed the drawstring bags and reusable sanitary pads.
It is impossible to relate how much these gifts mean to the people who receive them. I wish you could each see their eyes light up, especially the children, when they receive what is probably the first gift they have ever been given, and in fact, the first toy they have ever owned. And the young women are thrilled to receive the sanitary pads which allow them the freedom to attend school, the market, etc. For privacy, the bags were given to carry the pads and will be used as 'purses'.
We have all returned safely to our lives in Canada after another tremendously successful medical mission to Kenya. Here are the numbers. In the 11 days of clinics we treated 8,342 individuals. This year we ran a school deworming program as well and treated 5,361 children in that project alone. The jiggers eradication program introduced this year treated 1,081 persons. As well, we did five home visits. That makes a total of 14,789 children and adults treated! Everyone received their necessary medication free of charge. Of those patients, 138 received wound care, 275 received sexual health teaching along with reusable sanitary pads to the young women, 22 were taken to hospital for more advanced care and we will be obtaining wheelchairs for five people. There are also a number of patients whose condition will be followed from Canada, in the case that they require surgery or other further care. The jiggers program continues as well, with another 200 people treated since we left Kenya!
I would like to offer a special thank you to Marnie Bernard who spearheaded the Teddy Bear Project. As Ghandi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." I think projects such as this embody that philosophy and shows the generosity and caring from everyone in the Weyburn community who helped Marnie bring hope in the form of these gifts. Without hope there is nothing.