When Pastor Edward, founder of our NGO City Harvest Ministries, told us that he would like it if we deployed in Pokot our initial response was no. No because we knew Pokot had no electricity, no running water, a language barrier and we weren’t sure whether they wore clothes or not. Pastor Edward expressed a positive to every negative and we started to see that because of all those adversities, the students in Pokot needed us the most. He said Pokot, being ten hours away and so remote, would not see technology for another twenty years if ever. We decided at that point that it was not about going to the easiest place but going somewhere where we would make the greatest impact.
Today, done with our deployment and a month later, we could not be happier and really thank God for being with us every step of the way. For the first time the people in Pokot have electricity, technology and support from their Minister of Parliament. Pastor Edward told us that before our arrival, the MP had never showed any support for that particular region. While we were there, he visited us twice, expressed his gratitude and said he would help the area. We also gathered the community on two separate occassions and spoke to them about the importance of education and they all promised to put at least one more child through school. I specifically asked them to allow their daughters to go to school and explained that if it were not for my education; I would not be there helping their community.
We bought several medical supplies in case we got hurt but ended up using them all for the people. It all started when I patched up Achia, who had a wound so bad his bone was visible. After that incident, Alex and I were treating 3rd degree burns, scrapes, sores, fungus and all sorts of things. There is no clinic or hospital in Pokot so when someone gets hurt or sick there is nothing to do but put tree bark on it or just wait until it heals. We treated at least 5 people a day and we made sure to tell them how to prevent some of their issues. They lacked basic knowledge such as the importance of hygiene and avoiding infections after getting minor scrapes or burns by keeping the area clean.
Sophia and I also really worked on empowering the girls. At first, they were reluctant to open up so we told them to ask us about our backgrounds. They were amazed at how much we had in common with them and after that they became more talkative and started asking questions pertaining to our chosen topic of the day. It was amazing to see every single one of them raise their hand when we asked who wanted to go to college.
A topic of concern towards the end of our project was sustainability and God answered our prayer by bringing us SNV. SNV is an NGO that helps lead other NGO’s into directions where they are needed. So for example, if they see a community in need of a water supply instead of going in themselves, they will find an NGO with expertise in that area. Right now SNV is working on a way to introduce e learning to schools’ curriculums. The key is really to train and teach teachers that e learning is essential in a world where technology is rapidly moving forward. They will find students who are more eager to learn like we did in Pokot. SNV offered us their support and promised to take all the teachers in Pokot to the city and have them properly trained on the XO’s. We also have City Harvest Ministries’ support and they will periodically send people to make sure the guidelines we established are being implemented.
I am so grateful to have had such an amazing experience and can not imagine having gone anywhere else but Pokot. I know God has been with us because everything worked out so wonderfully. We had so much support coming from different places and we will always think of the people in Pokot as family. They took us in from the moment we arrived and saying goodbye was so hard for all of us. We will miss the children singing, teaching and sitting by the fire talking about our different cultures. I learned that we are more alike than different.