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HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

#mcjourney2018, AFRICA NEWS, Education, EVENTS, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Orphan Care, PERSPECTIVES

When Africa Comes to Nashville

A team of five Mocha Club members made a 25-hour trek to Nairobi, Kenya on Friday, August 3rd. For three of them, this was their first time to travel with Mocha Club to Africa. Their purpose was two-fold: to use their assets – their love, their experience organizing fundraising races here in the US, and their capacity to care well for others; and to learn from the ingenuity, the solutions, and the ongoing stamina of the leaders we walk alongside in Africa.

They stopped first in Mombasa, Kenya. This huge port town on the edge of the Indian Ocean is a major stop for many wealthy tourists in Africa. But it’s also the home of one of the world’s largest and last leprosy camps. We’ve shared a bit about Peter Ochiel, but these members wanted to see first-hand what it looks like to love and care for individuals rejected by their communities and ostracized because of a curable disease. They visited homes, they removed parasites from children’s hands and feet, they laughed and shared meals with the staff and families who give their whole lives in this corner of the world.

Next, they moved to the Huruma slum to spend three days with Irene Tongoi. Many of these Mocha Club members have helped organize a fundraising race here in the US to support the work Irene is doing in the New Dawn school. As she and her staff prepared for the second annual running in Nairobi, she prayed God would send her additional help and encouragement in the final few days. That help came in the shape of these members, several of whom knew exactly what it looked like to throw a race like this. Their contribution of organization, encouragement, and passion helped make this race highly successful.

When these members got back, they organized a time to share about their trip – and Peter Ochiel was in town – so it was a reunion of sorts. While they were together, we circled back to their original purpose: in what ways had their gifts been helpful in Kenya? Peter’s reply was encouragement. Their presence was seen in this community as such an honor. Their love and encouragement and willingness to touch the skin of an outcast brought joy, and laughter, and dignity. Their touch was a tangible expression of the hours of work Peter puts in every month. As to what they learned, Kathryn mentioned how simple an act it was to engage and ask questions about someone’s story — but also how profound. Fallon nodded her head and added “it’s so simple to give the love I have to another.”

Success was experienced by them all. Community – a sense of belonging and being known, a place where the pronouns used are “we” — was deepened.

Read more from these members and see their trip in pictures here.

#mcjourney2018, AFRICA TRIPS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, I NEED AFRICA, Orphan Care, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

Our time at Blessed Camp : guest post by Kathryn Tuck

Hey, Kathryn here!

I’m one of the members of the Mocha Club Journey 2018 team!  I’m excited to share the first-half of our journey with you at Blessed Camp through my photos below:

Meet Beatrice. She shares her talent of sewing by teaching other women in the community sewing skills so they are able to support their families.  Here, my team member, Fallon purchased a skirt sewn by Beatrice; and her sweet daughter, Favour wanted to join the picture!                                                                                                                                          >>>>

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What a blessing these children were. We loved playing with them and learning about how they keep busy…no iPhones, iPads or tv, just their beautiful imaginations!  These girls found a rope, so of course, jump rope it is!  We also experienced jump rope without a rope…try that at home!

 

 

 

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Peter, also known as ‘Pastah — Director of Action Ministry and Mocha Club partner, walked us through the first edition of Blessed Camp, which was originally known as Rejected Village.  Next to the leprosy hospital, patients were not welcome back to their homes, therefore they had to create their own community.  Today Blessed Camp is full of love, life and lots of laughter!  Here you see individuals going about daily life — carrying wood and making concrete.

And Mother Margaret, “Maggie”, welcomed us into her home.  She was one of the first people to arrive in Blessed Camp and due to leprosy has difficulty walking. But rain or shine, finds her way to church every Sunday!                                                                             >>>>

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The second day we were at Blessed Camp, we helped participate in their weekly sanitation and prevention of parasites known as jiggers. The leaders of Blessed Camp along with Doctor John are able to serve not only the children in the school, but have opened their doors to the entire community of children.            >>>>

 

 

 

What is Blessed Camp planning next? A guest house for future visitors!

 

Our trip to Blessed Camp was short and sweet, however we will treasure these memories forever!  And, of course, never forget these sweet faces that greeted us every morning and left us with big smiles!

 

Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Orphan Care, Women at Risk

The secret to making a difference

“I don’t have the time, the money, or the giftings to make a difference.”

Ever caught yourself thinking this way? Peter Ochiel was once in your shoes. Now he runs a school, a church, and a clinic in one of the world’s last leper colonies.

How’d he do it?

He focused on the assets around him and took it one step at a time.

He embodies the asset-based development strategy Mocha Club teaches, and that you help fund as a member.

Peter was working in a restaurant in Kenya when one day, he met a man on the streets begging for school fees for his children. When Peter asked to meet his children, the man took him to Tumbe Village, which literally means “a place for rejected people.” It’s a leper colony that’s home to about 30 families who have been rejected by society.

Peter felt compelled to act. So he started small. He began going to visit every Sunday and renamed the village Blessed Camp.

People began to take notice of what he was doing and they joined him.

Peter’s heart for this village was contagious. The group started pulling together their assets and gifts to open a church in Blessed Camp, as well as a school for the children. Then they opened a medical clinic to help the lepers and, soon after, a feeding program. He built up this community step by step, utilizing the assets and talents of people around him in Mombasa.

Today, Peter’s organization, Action Ministry, is a Mocha Club partner. Your mochas are school fees for the children in the camp, medical supplies for the lepers, hope for a new generation in Kenya.

So his network of assets now includes you, and your assets now help him do his work.

Already, you’re providing hope for a new generation in Kenya.

It’s easy to think you’re helpless. But like Peter, you’re not. Start small, focus on what you have, and know that you’re already making a difference to people like Peter through your gifts to Mocha Club.

Not a Mocha Club member yet and ready to start making a difference? You can do so for less than $1/day. Start using what you have today and join Mocha Club!

AFRICA NEWS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Orphan Care, Women at Risk

Imagine all we can do together in 2018!

Behind everyday generosity is the belief that the little things we do on a daily basis can add up to make a big difference. A mocha here, a mocha there — sometimes it’s easy to forget the big picture and hard to imagine how those sacrificed mochas add up over the course of the year. So we decided to take a step back and look at some of the impact Mocha Club members had this year.

The everyday generosity of Mocha Club members in 2017 turned into:


CLEAN WATER
200 households in Mvera, Malawi have access to clean water (and electricity!) after developing a community-driven solution to the problems caused by a lack of clean water in their village — low school attendance among girls, high rates of waterborne illnesses, and more.


ECONOMIC FREEDOM
Over 40 women stuck in the sex industry in Ethiopia received counseling, medical care, and skills training, pulling themselves out of life on the streets and creating a sustainable, healthy future for themselves and their families.


EDUCATION
95 students in Nairobi’s slums were able to receive a secondary-level education, something vital to breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Kenya.


HEALTHCARE
More than 30 children in Addis Ababa whose mothers are recovering from being trapped in the sex trade were provided with medical treatments and care, as well as nutritional support so they learn how to create healthy habits for themselves.


ORPHAN CARE
224 orphans and vulnerable children in Congo were counseled through the trauma they’ve experienced because of war and violence and taught life skills that will help them cope in the present and have hope for the future.


 

We can make an even greater impact if you commit to making your mochas matter in 2018!

Will you join our community today?
Join Today!

ARTISTS, EVENTS, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

Mocha Club + Jordy Searcy + YOU!

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We are excited to announce another new Mocha Club artist, Jordy Searcy! This Fall, we will be joining him as he tours around the nation and we are looking for Mocha Club members to volunteer at a show and help share about our friends in Africa asking others to join us in fighting extreme poverty!

We need 2 people to work the Mocha Club table at each of the concerts listed below.  Would you be available? It will be a fun night sharing about Mocha Club and welcoming new people into our community. We can’t do this without you!

A fun bonus is that Mocha Club table staff get free admission to the concert!


SEPTEMBER 2017

September 8: Jackson, MS // VOLUNTEER!

September 9 : Mobile, AL // VOLUNTEER!

September 12 : Fayetteville, AR // VOLUNTEER!

September 13 : Waco, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 15 : Dallas, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 16: Abilene, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 17: Texarkana, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 22: Athens, AL // VOLUNTEER!

September 29 : Salem, OR // VOLUNTEER!

September 30: Columbia, TN // VOLUNTEER


We’re looking for people who are…

  • Friendly, passionate, responsible, & organized
  • Able to take initiative in introducing Mocha Club to people
  • At least 18 years old

What Mocha Club table staff will need to do at the concert:

  • Arrive approximately 1 hour before the show to set up the Mocha Club table (instructions will be provided).
  • Explain Mocha Club to people who approach the table before, during, and after the event.
  • Be responsible for Mocha Club table items throughout the show (do not leave table unattended).
  • After concert, answer questions and help people fill out Mocha Club signup form.
  • Safely pack up all items at the end of the show and make sure completed signup forms are Fedex’d to us **no later than the next business day following the concert.**
#mcjourney2017, AFRICA TRIPS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Orphan Care, Women at Risk

Announcing: Mocha Club Journey 2017 !

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Has it been life-long dream to travel to Africa? Do you have a heart to serve others around the world? Do you love to meet new people and find friends with common interests?

If you answered YES to any of the above, join the Mocha Club Journey 2017 trip to Africa this summer!


This summer we are headed to Ethiopia and Kenya!  We will spend time with our partners at Women at Risk in both the capital city of Addis Ababa, and in Nazareth, a town a few hours outside of the city. We will also visit New Dawn Educational Centre and Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO) in Nairobi, Kenya. Our trips provide an opportunity for Mocha Club members and their friends to visit Africa and witness firsthand what giving up a few mochas a month can do, while having a chance to serve the African people. The trip will be 12 days long and we team up with the local indigenous leaders in each country to serve alongside them in the orphanages, schools, and other various projects that Mocha Club supports.

  • Dates: June 11- June 22, 2017 (dates could vary 1-2 days on each side, depending on flight availability)
  • Cost: $4,000
  • Trip Details: Click here!
  • Interested? Email trips(at)themochaclub.org. We will follow up with details! But don’t wait too long… space is limited! 

<< APPLY TODAY>>

(or download the application & mail in):

Mocha Club
P.O. Box 2888
Brentwood, TN 37024-2888


Meet Your Trip Leaders:

IMG_0112  Curtis Stoneberger has been a long-time friend of Mocha Club and currently stands as the Executive Vice President of the organization. His first trip to Africa was a visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Mocha Club Artist, Sidewalk Prophets. He enjoys rides on his motorcycle, family time at his cabin, and music.

 

Fallon Mocha Club Trip Leader  Fallon officially joined the Mocha Club team in Nashville in early 2013, but has   been a long-time member and supporter.  As the Mocha Club Artist & Member Care Manager, she’ll make sure your trip to Africa is just one of the many ways you stay connected to the club! Fallon loves dancing, her puppy Henry, and leftovers.

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

You’ve got questions, THEY’VE got answers!

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Peter Odero, founder of HEKO shares with us some insight from an interview he had with a couple on social health disparities on stigma and discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. 

Q: Why do people not like going for HIV/AIDS Testing?

A: “Many people do not like going for HIV/AIDS Testing for fear of disclosure if tested positive.  Stigma and discrimination is still a major factor among families and communities. People tested positive are still a subject of isolation even at such a time like this when a lot of information is available in the public domain because of the negative attitude people received about HIV/AIDS. Some facilities employ unqualified staff who have poor approach to clients. There is also fear of not getting proper attention among family members and even during counseling sessions.”

 

Q: Why do people default on ARVs?

A: There are many factors that cause people to default on ARVs: 

  • False Prophesies: There are a number of healing churches which pose to have a healing strategy for people living with HIV/AIDS.  People who are desperate are easily swayed and believe in such and deliberately decide to drop their adherence to ARV drugs.
  • Traditional Healers: Some people who are HIV positive easily believe in traditional healers and choose to default and go for traditional option.  This is also common practice among slum dwellers.
  • Stigma, Discrimination or Denial: This is a common occurrence practiced among pregnant mothers who turn HIV positive after volunteer on HIV pregnancy test.  Their spouses or immediate family members discriminate against them and many times are subjected to fear and become discouraged from taking their ARVs.  At this stage, there are some who face hostility and resistance after disclosure of status.
  • Fatigue from Medicine: Majority of people on ARVs suffer from the burden of being under so many drugs prescribed due to opportunistic infections. Taking such drugs alongside ARVs causes fatigue and discomfort which result into default on ARVs.
  • Food and Nutrition: Dietary issue in nutritious meals go with ARVs given the fact that some of these drugs have clear warnings “do not take without food”.  There is fear of taking ARVs in an empty stomach.  This means that most people living below poverty level are at risk of defaulting.

 

Q: With all the facilities and information on the ground, why are some people not accessing these facilities?

A: “With all the facilities and information available on HIV/AIDS, people are still not freely accessing these facilities because majority are still having a feeling of fear, despair, and isolation when an HIV test result is positive. Stigma and discrimination is still causing a lot of challenges to the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in the society.  Some facilities are also not equipped with the right personnel to effectively handle cases where one is tested positive. Information of HIV tests are supposed to be personal and confidential to help restore confidence on the affected individual.

There are many cases where families or individuals have not yet received the correct information about HIV/AIDS.  There are also many negative beliefs and assumptions about HIV/AIDS that has led to non-compliance attitude among community members.”
QIn your own opinion, what is the quality of life for people on ARVs?

A: “Many people on ARVs have accepted their new status and are living positive with HIV/AIDS despite challenges around them. Majority no longer suffer from fear and discrimination that characterize people tested HIV positive. They participate fully with the rest of their family members in the day-to-day socio-economic activities for their well-being to have sustainable resources to make them stay in treatment for a lifetime as they cope with local social disparities.

In my opinion, and in the eyes of majority, there is a sharp contrast between people on ARVs and the other people living with HIV/AIDS who are not yet on ARVs.”

 

Q:What would you like to be done differently from what is being done now?

A: “There is a need for a more collaborative approach to help deal with HIV/AIDS pandemic in our society.

More intensive door to door approach on families and individuals would make more appeal in terms of education and general management and control of the spread of HIV/AIDS.

There is a need to invest more on poverty reduction to create an enabling environment for self-reliance among families and individuals infected and affected by the impact of HIV/AIDS.”

Without help from the Mocha Club, these people would not get the help they need to live a full and happy life with HIV/AIDS! Join the Mocha Club today!

FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

The results are in…

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In a place where there is a high percentage of individuals & families suffering from HIV/Aids, the real suffering occurs when the community turns its back on those in need instead of stepping in to support their own.  In the Kibera slum in Kenya, Peter and his staff at HEKO are striving to reverse this problem.  In a place where the church should be stepping up to lead & “care for the poor” in this situation, this place that should be one of rescue & restoration is actually virtually useless and detrimental.

Peter and his team conducted a study with the local church to find some answers; these were the results:

  • The majority of church members have felt the extent of the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
  • Gossip is the main source of how they know who has the HIV and AIDS.
  • There is significant loss of membership and tithe/offering returns.
  • Level of stigma is unbelievably high.
  • Level of awareness on transmission is very low.
  • Limited church initiated programmes on care and support.
  • Use of condoms are highly condemned and this position is non-negotiable.
  • Screening and testing for HIV is highly opposed.
  • Churches have not developed any activities or associated plans for the People Living with HIV/AIDS or family households affected by the HIV pandemic.
  • Church leaders and many parents are not prepared to tackle the issues, except the youths who feel free to share sexual experiences and discuss challenges with each other.
  • Lack of human material and capital resources including training, capacity building, material acquisition, curriculum development particularly on the sex education for youth, visionary leadership and resources acquisition to care and support OVCs and PLWHAs.

So, there is a vacancy in the space of help & support and Peter and his staff at HEKO are stepping right in.  Here are the services they offer:

·       Health and Nutrition Education: General well-being of the person and the value of good balanced diet to PLWHA on ARVs-ART.
·       Food Relief and Social Support: For the support of PLWHA, OVCs and Home Based Care givers for improved livelihood.
·       Sports and Recreation: To help improve good body health and social relationships among different target groups irrespective of status, age, tribe, culture and religious affiliations.
·       Economic Empowerment: To PLWHA, OVCs, Care Givers linked to opportunities for income generating activities.
·       Counselling: To PLWHA, OVCs, family household, drug addicts and other risky behaviors and negative lifestyle.
·       Life Skills: Psychosocial skills required in all aspects of young peoples lives that is critical to controlling HIV/AIDS among the youths as well as other aspects of education that highlighted participatory methodologies of the empowerment in all the activities and processes of decision making that concern the youth.
·       Discordant Couples: Special counselling service to couples where only one partner is infected or living HIV positive.
·       Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Small changes can make a big difference in reducing harmful effects and chances of having alcohol-drug related problems among the youth. Drug and substance abuse is linked to the rising crime rate, HIV/AIDS prevalence, schools unrest, family dysfunction, poverty and other malaise in the community. The youths are deliberately and tactfully recruited into the drug culture through personal factor, uncontrolled media influences and other related social exposure.

HEKO’s presence in the community is vital to closing the door on stigmatization, opening the door to community building, and ultimately ending the HIV/Aids pandemic. When you support Mocha Club and it’s healthcare initiatives, you are part of this eradication. Thank you.

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#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

#MCJourney2016 Day Three : HEKO

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Four days have flown by already on #MCJourney2016, but somehow we’ve seen and heard more than words can summarize. We as a group have been talking about our experience so far, and we all relate to the beautifully frustrating struggle to communicate to our loved ones about this trip. Translating this mix of joy, despair, gratitude, conviction, grace, and overwhelming hope into words is no easy task.

I have to be the first to apologize to my friends and family for inadequately describing the nature of our journey as a whole. When asked in casual conversation why I was heading to Africa with the Mocha Club, I’d often say a quick response like, “To continue work with ongoing service projects” or simply, “With a non-profit.” Let me be so clear: this is no mission or volunteer trip. This journey is more like a learning trip or a listening trip; a let-me-know-your-story-so-I-can-genuinely-love-you-well trip. We joked today that it should be called a RelationTrip because that really is our whole goal. 

We are here to create and sustain relationships with African organizations who work within and through community members. We are here to listen to them tell us their greatest needs, and to hear directly from them about how to meet them in ways they know will best for the community. The “work” the Mocha Club has led us to do here exemplifies a quote I recently heard from Alexander Shaia: “Service is really going out with open hands and realizing that we’re standing in the presence of a magnificent other who is going to teach us.” Boy, we have learned so much in these four days. 

As a Mocha Club member, I had heard of each of the projects we would be visiting but I knew little about the stories behind them. What a gift it has been to sit down with founders of organizations like New Dawn Educational Centre and Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO) to hear them explain, from the very beginning, how their visions came to life here in Kenya. 

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We spent yesterday afternoon at HEKO in the Kibera slum. Kibera sits in the center of Nairobi where over 500,000 people live in extreme poverty with little to no access to food, water, education, or physical/mental health care. Founders Peter and Monica Odero, residents of Kibera, recognized a growing issue specifically surrounding women with HIV/AIDS as the disease became more prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Societal stigma left many of these women abandoned by their husbands and completely shut out from family members who viewed HIV/AIDS as a (often inaccurate) reflection of immoral behavior or infidelity. Their homes were taken away, and these women were left with no way to feed their families or care for themselves. 

HEKO exists today to provide women with HIV/AIDS access to counseling to cope with their circumstances, nutritional education to ensure their medications work effectively, and physical activity to foster a community who moves and finds joy together. HEKO’s overall focus is to empower women with HIV/AIDS as they learn new skills to create products through which they earn a sustainable living.

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Listening to each woman’s story served as evidence of a yet another miracle in an unlikely place. Women receiving support through HEKO have seen major health improvements and some have even watched their children graduate from college. They have found light in dark circumstances, and community when they were once neglected and alone. And to think, this history of redemption all began when Peter and Monica chose to fight for a group of women who’d been told they were irredeemable.

Our time at HEKO was beautiful because it allowed us to peek into the darker corners of the lives of these women, particularly those who are afraid to share their diagnosis with neighbors and friends. But it also convicted me and begged to me to consider: Who am I overlooking? Whose gaze do I struggle to meet because I don’t “feel comfortable” loving them?  Instinctively, I want to wave my angry finger the families of these women — the relatives who left them with nothing — and tell them, “How dare you? How could you forget them?” But in truth, I have blindspots too. I’ll admit I have a hard time looking at the man on the corner with a handmade sign as he asks for help. I am fully aware of the thousands of people struggling to survive in my own community, and yet I carry on as if they’re not there. So many women in Kibera have a life and a hope because someone chose to seem them. What if we also made an effort to see those people and places we’ve kept behind our self-constructed walls?

If you have been moved by the work Peter and Monica Odero do through HEKO, you can contribute to their efforts today. Like right now! Peter assured us yesterday that the small sacrifice of one cup of coffee most certainly improves the lives of these women. More than this, when we empower one woman, we also guarantee a future for her children and we encourage growth throughout all of Kibera.

To learn more about how you can support this cause and many others, head to: http://www.themochaclub.org/journey

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

Saving lives…from the young to the old

UntitledToday is World Malaria Day!

First let us say a big THANK YOU for being part of sustainable health solutions that not only combat the threat of malaria but provide basis health care for communities in Kenya.  New Dawn Clinic is a neighboring health care facility on the campus of New Dawn Academy that not only serves the students in school but also the people in the surrounding community of the Huruma slum. You are impacting thousands of lives from babies to the elderly…here are just three of those stories:

The Young

A one year old baby visited the child welfare clinic and was severely underweight to the point of malnutrition. She has been a special client for the staff at New Dawn clinic – despite both low social and economic status of the mother, they have been supporting her nutritionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

So far the progress is quite good.

She is gaining weight and this is a good indicator of progress. The mother appreciates their daily care home visits and prayers we share together which has lifted her spirit.

The Adult

A patient visited New Dawn Clinic with a history of cough for more than two weeks, weight loss, and diarrhea. He was counseled and tested for HIV & was found positive. He also received positive results for Tuberculosis & was immediately provided with ARVs and Anti-Tb’s to fight both diseases. The clinic staff did a follow up at his home and advised on good and proper ventilation so as to reduce the transmission of the Tuberculosis. They continued with counseling two times a week and a home visit nightly.

Currently, his progress is good. They are continuing with both psychological and spiritual counseling and home visits.

The Elderly

We visited this client at his home at the nearby slum Huruma after complaints urine retention, tremors, and weakness of both upper and lower limbs.

Daily home care was started immediately. One week later he was transferred to the home of the elderly where he was being monitored.

Since the clinic started attending the patient, much improvement has been reported. In October the patient was discharged from the home for the elderly back to his home at Huruma slum. Since the discharge date, the clinic has been visiting him weekly for supportive and preventive care.

This client comes to the clinic weekly checkups and the family is so happy and has appreciated the prayers and support we offer them each day.