Over the next few months, we will update you on some of the work going on in CASA Kenya.
CASA Kenya was founded when Fr Bill asked CASA to support setting up a program in Kenya. This was based on his observation of the way people with disabilities were being treated in Kenya.
For a moment, imagine you have a disabled family member at home in Ireland, maybe you really do, so you know the challenges and difficulties with transport, social life, career, medical appointments, rights to education, maybe special equipment for the home to name but a few. Now imagine living in a country where water is scarce, crops are dying, primary employment is farming, you can barely feed your family, there is superstition that your disabled family member is due to a curse. Imagine how lonely and scared you and your disabled family member would be. How desperate your situation is.
We have been asked by some in Ireland why CASA has got involved in Kenya, I hope above gives you a sense of this.
Now for news update from the June visit by two of our team to Kenya. The names of the people are changed but their stories are genuine.
I asked our team to take us through their journey and who they met. After a 24 hour travel time from Dublin they eventually got to the Centre being run by one of our partners in Kenya, James Hennessy. James, from Glenville in Cork, runs a charity, Development Pamoja, helping rural communities in the Nakuru region. James, with support from CASA, has set up a medical clinic from which, for instance, CASA supports the free physiotherapy service for the disabled and their families.
First trip from the centre was a 1.5 hour journey on rough dirt roads to visit Adika, his mum and family, in a remote region. Under an hour out on the journey, the rented car we were using broke down, the timing belt snapped. James got Okinja, a member of Development Pamoja to collect Paddy and Carole on one of our motorbikes to complete the journey to Adika’s home, all 3 on the one 100 CC bike. The road to Adika’s house is a dirt road, June is dry and dusty with temperatures over thirty degrees, it is a trip employees of Development Pamoja make on a daily basis, sometimes with three passengers on the bike.
Now imagine this, Adika, who has a rare neurological disorder similar to Motor Neurons disease, is a member of CASA. The gathering at the local CASA social is a journey Adika takes with his mum. Adika is in his late 30’s, he has no motor control and is dependent on his mum and others for all his care needs.
Adika takes the same motor bike ride to and from the CASA event. His mum straps herself to Adika on the bike and is driven by the bike rider to the event. Can you imagine how Adika must feel, the fear, no control, no ability to move if uncomfortable. On realising the effort and risk that was required to get Adika to the CASA social and for medical treatment, Paddy and Carole put in place a solution whereby in future Adika will be treated in his home.
The Development Pamoja physiotherapist now visits Adika every Thursday morning to provide him with physiotherapy. Additionally, Development Pamoja’s doctor visits the home once per week to provide Adika with blood pressure and pain relief medication.
While visiting the home they realised that Adika’s mum, who shares a tiny room with Adika, needed a mattress for her bed and he needed an arm chair to be able to sit up in. A mattress and a chair were later purchased.
These few simple gestures – covering the cost of Adika getting physiotherapy in his home, the provision of medication and the purchase of a mattress and arm chair have been transformational for the living conditions of Adika and his mother. I am sure you agree this is not something we can’t ignore.
We can all easily help here. So thank you for your ongoing help and support. More next month on their trip.