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Amazing moments II

July 20, 2009


child stuffProbably the greatest highlight of the trip was last night at a local church service.  We got back to Tenwek about mid-afternoon.  After scrounging some food from one of the long-term missionaries, we washed the dust from our clothes and went down to see the hydroelectric dam which now provides 24 hour electricity to the hospital (I’ll post a picture later in another post).  It’s hard to imagine how Ernie Steury one of the founding missionaries of Tenwek would perform emergency surgeries after dark by starting the diesel generator.  As a general practitioner with only one year of training after residency, he provided his own anesthesia, and when the generator broke down late at night during the operation, he would grab his torch and leave the OR to go fix the generator so he could complete the case.  Certainly by US standards I couldn’t imagine doing all those things in one night.  I’m sure he had more than one emergency in one night as the solo surgeon to over half a million Kipsigis.  If you want to read more about him you can check out his recently published biography “Miracle at Tenwek”.   He was an Indiana University School of Medicine graduate so I take some pride in being an IU resident.

Now the dam is certainly amazing, but what is more amazing is that his ground work literally changed the landscape of the area around Tenwek.   When Ernie started at Tenwek it was basically a hospital in midst of the wilderness.  This church you see in the photo is the Africa Gospel Church which was later built down the road from the hospital.  Ginnie & I attended the evening service there last night.  Or rather we were invited to give the service when we walked in door.  Once again I made a camera mistake and forgot to bring the memory card for the camera, so I have no pictures to show how amazing it was inside the church.  But imagine a room full of 200 Kenyan children in primary boarding school singing and worshiping God with unrestrained enthusiasm as you stand on the stage in front of them and lead them in simple (and I do mean simple since I was leading it) worship songs.  That is a sight that we will never forget, and it almost brought us to tears.  Then they asked tough questions such as “Every Kenyan wants to go to America can you please tell us about America?”.  Now I know what I told them based on the story of Adam and Eve and the fall from grace as well as God’s unbounded love and purpose for all all people not just Kenyans and Americans, but how would you answer it?  Do you think that Americans are truly better off than these happy Kenyan children?

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 11:01 pm

    You ask a good question. It’s sad to see the Western influnce that does seep over there (you see it more in Narobi, but it is everywhere!) and how it creates a dissatification (that is no less then the dissatification so many Americans struggle with) and how so many see America as the promise land. I think you can only stress that America has it’s own problems, it does not have all the answers, and try to encourage them to embrace what makes them unique. Hard to do…and there are many multi-culutral issues at play, so really one could probably wrote a whole book on the topic (and probably plenty have, that have said it much better then me).

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