Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
1. AMPATH is up and running. Joe Mamlin reports from Eldoret: "The first week of the violence resulted in less than 10% of patients and staff able to find their way to clinic. But the very next week a remarkable rebound occurred in nearly all of our sites. We have multiple large displaced persons camps [many housing 10-20,000 people] all around us now. We have been able to work closely with all relief agencies and have AMPATH teams engaged in every large camp. We clearly have hundreds of patients in the camps and many others [unknown numbers] moved far beyond our reach. But every day our register of displaced patients becomes more complete." In order to reach those who are displaced, AMPATH has created a hotline number for patients and launched a successful media message campaign advising HIV patients how to access medicine. A U.S. State Department Travel Alert has led to the cancellation of Indiana University student and resident travel to Kenya for January and February, but we expect our faculty and staff who reside in Kenya to return very soon.
2. The Kenya Recovery Fund has benefitted from your remarkable generosity. Many individuals and organizations have given to the new Kenya Recovery Fund, established to help patients and staff who are now in dire need of housing, medicine, food, clothing and other support. We thank especially Abbott Laboratories, a longtime partner of AMPATH, who donated $25,000, and to the friends of ASANTE partner Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. Total pledges to this fund have exceeded $100,000, so AMPATH has already been able to provide desperately-needed help. If you or others still want to contribute to the fund, please visit our website, www.iukenya.org.
Thank you so much for all your donations, prayers and good wishes. And thank you for sticking with our program through this challenging time. As Joe wrote today, "We're keeping our eye on the target: Careful attention to those infected and affected by HIV in western Kenya. That problem has not gone away, and neither will we."
Monday, January 14, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
So, Lisa and I have been reading everything on the news that we can, as well as waiting patiently for e-mails from the IU Kenya program. We appreciate everyone who has e-mailed or called to give us an extra piece of info. We received this morning another e-mail that painted a bleaker picture than the following. We haven't made a final decision, but both of us are leaning toward canceling our trip unless things change dramatically. As I have told some of you on the phone, we are in no way turning our backs on the program. There is no question that we will be returning to Kenya, the only question is when.
Please read the message from Joe Mamlin below. Obviously, travel remains up in the air and we continue to monitor the situation on a constant basis.
I find comfort as I take a moment amid the madness here to catch you up a bit on what we see on the ground.
First, let me assure you that Sarah Ellen and I are safe and fine. We feel fortunate in getting the US community out of here for the time being. Our British friends will fly out on a charter today if we can find fuel for the plane.
As far as I know, we have not lost a single AMPATH staff member or patient. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to run clinics since there are no matatus [van-taxi] running. It took almost three hours for one of our pharmacist to walk by foot to give us access to drugs. Most staff are busy securing safety of loved ones and most patients are either afraid or can’t travel. We will have some fairly unique decisions to make if we can’t move supplies around safely and soon.
I took heart in an ER this morning when I no longer needed to step over a body.
Eldoret is quiet today but all roads in and out remain blocked by unpredictable gangs. Many residential areas of Eldoret are insecure and many of our friends are simply scared to death. We are doing all we can to help with the food and shelter needs of our Kenyan friends seeking safety.
We can find food as of today since a few markets reopened. And we have our farms. Can’t get the food out to patients so will harvest food to help feed our compound and the many refugee centers that have popped up in churches and jails.
We have seen some things over the last few days that cannot be described in this note. We have witnessed sad evidence that we as a human family have a lot of growing yet to do. When you think a moment, you realize the IU-Kenya Program is at its core symbolizes what is so critically needed by Kenyan leadership. This is not a program dedicated to building medical schools or even stamping out a pandemic. At its heart, it is a program that screams “Yes” in a world to ready to say “No”. This program puts love and compassion front and center. Those values build the rest. When that message is embraced here, we can go home. We are unable to stop what is now happening, but we are rock solid in keeping to our core message.
Deep in our heart, Sarah Ellen and I believe Kenya will find a way to move back from the abyss now staring them in the face. As they reclaim their lives, programs and pride the IU-Kenya program will be there for them. Please do not be discouraged. Stay with us as we stay with our Kenyan family. Shortly they will need us all more than ever.
Pray for each other as we go forward with hope one day at a time.
Joe and Sarah Ellen
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
As the New Year began, I was hopeful that we could report that the situation in Kenya was improving; unfortunately that is not the case. Eldoret has unfortunately become a hotbed of fighting, lootings and much violence. Currently, Joe and Sarah Ellen Mamlin remain safe. IU House has become a refuge and is becoming just as full as was predicted for January, but this time with frightened Kenyan friends. Joe and Sarah Ellen are doing their best to feed those many who have come to IU House for aid.
Our originally estimated date for safe travel to Kenya (January 9) seems to be ever more elusive. Consequently, please make no plans that involve travel to Kenya prior to January 15. Until we are able to assess the situation from a medical needs perspective as well as the infrastructure needs to IU House and Eldoret, we are unable to continue with the program as scheduled.
I will continue daily updates, but as originally stated by our offices, no travel is permitted until further notice.
--Marc and Lisa