Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jambo from Jordan

Jambo! Sorry for having such a late first entry. I'm Jordan, research coordinator for Mama Hope. I've spent four days in Isiolo now – in the middle of the Kenyan desert – and it feels like every day is a lesson in life, relationships and compassion. On arrival, we had the joy of
meeting 20 or so orphans, all completely well-mannered and
inquisitive. We had a wonderful time chatting about Kenya, the U.S. and
their future careers. Selflessly, they all wanted to give back to the
community, as doctors, nurses, scientists and teachers.

Yet, the fun stopped when we learned that the vast majority of the
children are HIV-positive. Then, on the second or third day we began
visiting the HIV-positive adults. We met a new friend, Mambia, who was
in a very poor state: extremely skinny and barely able to get out of
bed. But, despite the sad physical condition, he still had a very
strong spirit and was to find the energy to slowly get out of bed and
share his story with us. Apparently, he was abandoned by his family and
left alone in a small, dilapidated little shack with neighbors who not
only ignore him but even threw rocks at his house when he first
arrived. The worst part, however, was how he got AIDS – not through
carelessness or addiction – but by being sodomized during tribal

After visiting Mambia and another HIV-positive woman, Bryce and I felt
our energies were completely drained. Walking in silence, we were taken to the orphanage where the children were sharing a song with some American tourists: "am I just a number in your fax and files...","life is so cold and you need a friend...", " with HIV/AIDS..."

However difficult these first lessons were, we've also learned the
power of the simple things: playing a game with the orphans, sharing a
moment with a new friend, bringing some milk and sugar to Mambia. In
fact, after just a bit of food and medicine, we visited Mambia again
today and he was up and walking about, visibly improved after just 2
days. Although the situation is saddening, the spirit of the people
provides hope that things can improve.

Until next time, promising a more cheerful entry,


Kathy Tate said...

Your entry was very moving, Jordan. You and Bryce have been in our thoughts and prayers, and now so are all those you meet each day. It's so easy to be here in our comfortable little world in the U.S. and forget how challenging, difficult and painful it is for others around the world. The work of Mama Hope is very inspiring. We wish you the best in your work there and look forward to hearing more from you.



Kathy Tate said...

Your entry was very moving. It's hard to identify with the suffering and challenges around the world, while we ourselves live in relative comfort. Our hearts go out to the children and adults there who are HIV-positive. The work there seems overwhelming, yet so important! Looking forward to hearing more...