Today I visited the home of my friend S. S. has a daughter my age, V, who is away doing a tourism/hospitality program, and S. is taking care of V’s 20-month-old daughter. S. does the best beadwork of any of the women I know here. N. and I drove to her house, which is not too far away, which is the first time I’ve driven here without an experienced driver sitting next to me (it went fine).
All the neighborhood kids gathered when they heard the car – there were 9 of them total, I think – and so N. and I had tea with S. with lots of little kids watching us. One of the neighbor girls looks to me like she has Downs Syndrome. N. told me (without me asking) that the little girl “wasn’t right”. I asked, “Do you mean she thinks slowly?” and N. said yes.
I told her I thought I knew what was wrong with the girl, and was able to get N. to confirm with S. that in addition to being slow, the girl is also very gentle, has difficulty talking, and that there is something wrong with her heart or breathing. If I recall correctly, those are all symptoms of Downs Syndrome (maybe I’m wrong about the heart part?).
There was also a very bright-eyed little girl named Benié, age 2, who S. told me she cares for she’s an orphan. My first thought was that it might be AIDS that killed her parents, but I didn’t want to ask directly, and Sabina might not know anyway. I did ask if Benié is sick, and S. said no, so I hope she is all right. I would like to keep an eye on her.
N. has a little sister who is six years old and one side of her is paralyzed because she had polio. Another of her little sisters, 7 months, was taken to town to see a doctor yesterday because of a fever, and it was diagnosed as malaria (which may or may not be a correct diagnosis considering malaria is rare in this area and not all the “doctors” people see in Nanyuki are real doctors).
C., the nurse’s daughter who I wrote about previously, is also sick and will be taken to a doctor in town tomorrow. Her mother says her whole mouth and throat are infected and she is unable to eat. Going to the doctor in town is a multi-day event because no one here has a car.