I will make this post short and sharp because it is 3.30 in the A.M and I need to get some sleep.
I was privileged enough to travel to Western Kenya over the weekend. A truly exciting and humbling experience. While it not being the main agenda that took me there I happened to take part in an anti-jiggers campaign held in one of the small villages in this area. I wasn’t much aware of how big a jigger problem we had until I met this young man Joyous.
True to his name, Joyous looks like one happy chap. A bit shy, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a a boy of standard six. As he approaches us, it is easy to notice that he, like all his friends who arrived before him are waddling on their bare feet. Waddling because he can hardly put his whole foot down without wincing in pain. upon closer inspection of his feet, I realize that these little bastards have done a good number on him.
It’s too sad to watch. We offer him a seat and let him soak his feet in water as the health official from the local clinic explains to us how the procedure goes.
First we give his feet a good scrubbing with soap and clean water
After the feet are nice and clean, the health officials took over from here since the next step involved dealing with needles and blood. So we took a step back and watched as they went to work.With the needle in hand, the health officers held up the kid’s feet looking for telltale signs of where the jiggers are located. The explained to us that it was pretty easy to locate them once you got the hang of it. “Got the hang of it,” I chucked. There is no way in hell I’d ever get the ‘hang’ of doing this! He broke the skin in these areas to allow the solution gain access to the jiggers once the kids feet are dipped in it. Without doing this, the skin would make it impossible for the jiggers to feel the sting of the solution.
The young man didn’t flinch much but I expect it’s because he has to do this almost everyday when he gets home. I on the other hand wouldn’t have been so brave! I would have been wailing like a baby!
After the piercing has been done, the kid’s feet were then dipped into the strong solution that the jiggers didn’t like one bit! The health officer explained to us that once the solution enters through the piercings, it reaches the jiggers inside and kills them. Then they’d fall out one at a time.
At this point we had to leave as we had a long journey ahead albeit feeling rather heartbroken because after doing all this, the kids would still go back to their normal lives, walking around bare-footed and the cycle would begin again within no time.
I really felt challenged to do something more for these kids to help them get this problem under control. We decided that every so often, we would purchase second hand shoes from ‘Gikomba‘ market in large scale (bales) so we can get them at wholesale price, then we’d transport them to these families periodically. I’d also be willing to collect donations that will help towards the eradication of this problem.
At least by doing that,we will have made the problem non-recurrent.
If you would like make a positive difference in these children’s lives, drop me a comment below and we can link up and make this happen. This particular exercise was made possible by Mumias Sugar Company. in association with Mwamba RFC Kenya