dinkle dinkle my little star
Meet Raines, a gorgeous little masai girl I met in northern Kenya when I visited her nursery school and community last March as part of the Become A Friend team. Raines captured my heart on the first day of my trip and from that moment on became an important part of our family. She was the teeniest little button in the class but MY did she stand up and stand out – she was such a happy, cheeky and confident little girl, with a soul the size of Africa – she was the shining light of my visit to Kenya, the reason I wanted the plane to turn around and take me back and what drives me every day to do what I can to help her have a future.
Raines, like all her classmates, was so obviously malnourished – so so thin with no muscle mass, but I learned from my masai guide Solomon (the handsome chap below) that she was actually aged between 8 and 12yrs (time isn’t measured in the same way in the masai culture) but had stopped growing when she was just four. She was in poor health, anemic and unable to progress beyond nursery class because she physically was not able to walk the distance to primary school. Coming from such an impoverished community and poor family access to healthcare was not possible or considered.
Through my BAF friend Gill, who lives and works in and with the masai community on the ground, Raines’s family accepted my offer of help – and believe it or not just €200 has covered the cost of vital food supplements, fresh vegetables for the family every fortnight and all her medical bills, hospital visits and checkups for the past year. Gill also worked hard to get her on the Caritas feeding programme, sneak in some plumpinuts, and take Raines and her mum to all the doctors, specialists and hospitals for tests, tests and more tests. One year on the sad news is that she has ‘failed to thrive’, has not grown or improved in the year, and the answer why continues to elude.
The district hospital doctor can do no more and has referred her to specialists in Gertrude’s Children Hospital in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. This is a big deal, not an option even considered for or in this remote masai community. Getting to Nairobi will be a long and difficult journey for Raines and the costs for care and treatment at the hospital are unknown!!. Hopefully after the initial consultation we will know more. I am only a humble worker bee but I’m committed to help this little cherub and fundraise for treatment if needs be.
SO FRIENDS spare a thought for my little friend Raines over the coming weeks, and say a little prayer that the team at Gertrudes accept Raine’s case and more importantly can diagnose the problem and ultimately speak of ‘treatment’.