My Introduction to Kenya

by Eleanor Lilly

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After recovering (somewhat) from jet lag and the seven hour time difference, our team was excited for our first full day in Kenya! Vinton, the head of Nazareth Hospital’s pastoral counseling department, came to greet us at the guest house, where we are staying on Nazareth Hospital grounds. We walked with Vinton for a tour of the hospital facility, just a few hundred feet from the guest house. I was surprised by the size of the hospital, with a NICU, surgery recovery and prep rooms, a maternity ward, as well as your other typical hospital divisions. It was bigger than I had imagined. Vinton led us through the winding corridors, while explaining the history and ministry work of the hospital and how Tree of Lives became involved.

The second part of our morning was an introduction to the Holy Family Center (HFC), located beside the guest house on the hospital grounds. The center and its staff provide support and medication to thousands of Kenyans in the area who have tested positive for HIV. Eric, the director, walked us through the process that a newly diagnosed patient would undergo at the Holy Family Center. After lunch, Peyton and I went back to the Holy Family Center to meet and spend time with the youth mentors. Peyton and I were able to witness the incredible work the youth mentors do to coach children and help them manage their HIV medication, while simultaneously leading normal, healthy lives. It was great chatting with them on a range of topics, anywhere from their work at the clinic to cultural differences between the US and Kenya.

In the late afternoon, we set off to walk a route through the lush, sprawling tea fields just near the hospital. Unfortunately, our walk was cut short due to the African rains, but we are hoping to try again another evening! After dinner and our evening devotions, we spent time reflecting on the day and what’s to come in the next week. We all agree the ministry work being done here is beautiful and overwhelming. I’m a bit tired still, but my enthusiasm far outweighs my fatigue! I eagerly anticipate the adventures to come and to see how Christ is working through Tree of Lives here in Kenya.

Rebecca Topping