WEEP – Women Equality Empowerment Program

October 2, 2011

God’s lovingkindness is evident to me throughout each day and I want to share this with you.  However, much of it is in the middle of misery and I am constantly in question about what can be done, why is something like it is, and the bi-products of things we do. 

I am so grateful to be here in Kenya with a group of people who are seeking God to lead the way. Vickie Winkler is the executive director and founder, Alice Litton is an RN here also for about 9 months.  We work with many wonderful Kenyans who are long term staff members.   Additionally, coming and going there are individuals, couples or American teams who come here and work with HEART on various projects.  These teams are core to the way HEART work.

This evening we said our goodbyes to a team from Bayside church.  This group of ladies began preparing for their 8 days here 9 months ago, meeting 2-3x per month.  While here they shared God’s love with children and adults freely. I was blessed to see their gentle loving conversations and watch them share their thoughtful gifts.  They saw needs and acted on them in many ways.

When the Bayside ladies visited HIV+ women who were very sick in the Kibera slums they brought their burden about what they saw to God. God moved; for two nights in a row, He woke up a man in the States to pray for the team and about those suffering in Kenya.  When a member of the team let him know about these sick women, he knew he needed to do something about it and provided $10,000 to pay for the 8 women we saw (+ 2 more) to become a part of the WEEP program. $900 pays for a sewing machine, extensive training and gets her on her feet with food and basic living expenses.  

In Kibera we enjoyed doing a small health clinic for the women and children and the Bayside women laughed a lot with them as they worked on craft projects. When we split up and each group of 2 or 3 headed off to do our home visits we really got an better idea of the atrocious living conditions of Kibera. Tiny dirt “streets” or paths went on and on. A million people living in tiny dark homes, 30 families sharing a “toilet” (hole) or two, hundreds of small children everywhere. Most if not all the women we visited who had HIV also had tuberculosis.  The coughing baby of the last woman I visited likely had TB too.  I left realizing that if we did not intervene, these women and/or their children would spiral down even further.  How many would survive? The Bayside women want Alice and I to keep them updated with the progress of these 8 women over the next 9 months. I need to be open to God’s will for me and His heart. The truth is I do not really want to go into that hell several times per month….but how can I not?

Today 33 women graduated from the WEEP programs.  It was beautiful. They were encouraged to take their light to others as they moved confidently in the Lord. Many people have given them a leg up and raised money for each to have a new pair of sheers, $150 to start their business and even their own homes so that they do not have to worry about rent.  

Back in 2005 I visited Priscilla in her home in Embulbul, (pictured here) she was unable to walk –  really on her death bed if it were not for the intervention of HEART.

Can you imagine the delight I felt when I realized she was one of these healthy graduates dancing to “Go Light Your World” for the processional here at the HEART lodge? Indeed they are lights to their communities. Besides Priscilla there were several more women who I saw struggling in 2005 and 2006 who have not only become well physically but also spiritually.  Their prayers, their praises and their stories showed me that their trust in the Lord is deep and they live for His glory.

But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  I John 3:17

 

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Freedom for Girls

The “Freedom for Girls” program – some of you have heard me talk about it. Girls fall behind in their studies and they drop out. Why is this? They do not have any means to take care of their monthly cycle so they don’t go to school for 5 days every month. Pretty discouraging.

Here is a picture of the 8th grade class in the Maasai village of Oldonyonokie which we visited today.  Out of 26 there are only 7 girls (though 2 of the 7 were absent today). The head-master was excited about the improvement since HEART has been helping. He said, it is in fact a girl who was #2 in academics of over 300+ students in the area this year.  HEART provides sanitary napkins and other support. 

Currently they are putting in a girl’s dorm.  Alice and I went with a construction consultant who was getting details for the plan to put in solar panels.  These Maasai women were on their trek for water when they saw us and wanted to look inside the new building.

Next week when Alice and I return we hope to provide some practical health education to the students.

September 22, 2011 K. Rubin

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In Kenya at Last

Sept 21, 2011

Hello everyone,

After a good flight, last night, I finally in Kenya!  Kenya is as beautiful as I remember it. The weather has been wonderful and the grounds of the compound I am staying at is full of lush vegetations and colorful flowers.

Praise God for getting all my bags here safely and the great relationships that are blossoming here, particularly with Vickie and Alice.  In the photo below Vickie (HEART’s founder) is on the left and Alice (a nurse who will also be here for most of the 9 months I’m here) on the right.

Here with HEART (Health Education Africa Resource Team) there are lots of Kenyan staff who I am meeting and will be working closely with.  Pray that together we will accomplish the Lords work with joy and camaraderie.  Also, there are many projects in many different areas, funded in many different ways.  Please pray that I quickly learn each of these.  And wisdom!  God Bless you.

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor   Will also cry himself and not be heard.   Proverbs 21:13

Our work together for the sake of the poor, for the glory of God,

Katherine

 

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Why So Many Meds?

Prescriptions purchased in the US increased 71% in just 10 years. 

I know many people who have been prescribed 10 or more medications.  If supplements and “as needed” meds are included, I know of people on a list of 40. Yikes!

Why So Many Meds?

The answers lie within all the realms of our lives.  We are complexed beings in a complexed society so the answer is multifaceted.

Physical realm: Being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet and smoking contribute to most of our ailments. If we change these things, we can put fewer medications into our bodies.

Intellectual realm:  When we decide to take responsibility for our health, we need to be “in the know”. Knowledge of specific ailments, medications and your options is necessary. A risk and benefit analysis of the options you have and knowing how to prioritize various treatment/healing options helps us to make the right decisions.

Social and cultural realm:  1. People do not know who to talk to who will help give them a full picture of the options that are available.  A good MD will provide many options, but their time with you is limited as is their knowledge of the options which lie outside of their specialty (allopathic medical care).   2. Drug companies saturate physicians with their products’ information which cause them to do more prescribing and direct-to-consumer advertising tell patients that they can take control of their lives if only they use their products.  3. We lost touch the ability to really listen to our bodies.  One example is pain. (People in other cultures will tolerate a lot more pain than we will tolerate.) Pain has a purpose; the pain may be telling you “don’t garden today, if you garden your body will break down”, if we can’t hear our bodies, we end up on more meds. 4. The busy pace of our society and the breakdown of the family unit.  People who have a strong social support system are less likely to get sick and die than those who don’t.

Emotional realm:  King Solomon wrote, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Stress and other negative emotions cause increased heart attacks, a break down in the immune system, hives an increased risk for cancer etc., so meds are prescribed to treat these problems.  The thought of understanding our ailments and taking various actions for each of them can be very overwhelming; it’s easier just to take a pill.

Behavioral realm:  I believe that most of us pretty much know the most important things we should change in our lives which would give us improved health, yet competing commitments block the way. How do we motivate ourselves to do the right thing when we are in pain, when we are addicted or simply when it is something we are not used to doing?

Spiritual realm: I look forward to the glorious body that I will someday possess in Jesus’ kingdom.  God made us in His image yet we have fallen greatly and now we reside in these feeble bodies.  This spiritual realm is impossible to discuss well in a short article. In essence, God wants to see you whole while the devil delights in seeing you sick, oppressed and enslaved to drugs. Lack of our fervent prayers in the midst of a spiritual battlefield render us weak and vulnerable. If you have heeded Christ’s call “Come unto Me” and you daily abide in Him, then He will give you a joy even in the midst of your suffering. He will give you His wisdom as you pursue wellness.

America has slipped into a mega-pill popping society. I described above some reasons for this social malady but we are a long ways from fixing it.  As individuals let’s not slip into anything.  Let’s live our lives with “ferocious focus” and create our best lives right now.

  • Katherine Rubin, Life Coach and Wellness Coach    in Chico, California   ferocious focus life coaching,  ferocious focus wellness coaching

 

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