Many years ago, in 2005, I went to Kenya with an organization called Streams for Life, and I never thought my life would be changed forever. I saw children who had such a look of defiance in their eyes, from years of suffering emotionally and physically, from the loss of losing their parents to AIDS, or being told by their single parent that she could no longer take care of them and they needed to leave and fend for themselves…I couldn’t turn a blind eye to what I was seeing…
After years of partnering with local missionaries to help street children and orphans, I turned to northern Kenya where I found children who suffered from hunger 56% of the time, had no water, food, education or access to healthcare. This area of Kenya is called East Pokot, an area that is the home of the Pokot tribe, who speaks the Pokot language. This tribe is nomadic and moves where the resource for life are…if it’s the dry season, they will take their goats and cattle to a place where there is water….
I was able to get the permission of the chief in Kokwo Toto, the little town where my journey to East Pokot had led me, to build an eye clinic to be able to provide much needed eye care in this area. The tribe had a basic dispensary that would treat malaria and other minor conditions, but the tribe had no access to eye care or any other form of specialized care at all. Because of the severe dry conditions in this semi-arid area, cataracts and subsequent blindness is prevalent. I thought my skills as an optometrist could certainly help and they did. We began to provide eyecamps regularly. However, as I would return to Kenya, year after year, the pervasive theme I heard was “thank you for the water!” To make sure we could provide sanitary conditions for ourselves and our patients, we had to drill a well many years ago. Little did we know, that this well would become the mainstay of the community…this permanent source of water had changed the nomadic culture of our community and gave them the opportunity to establish roots. The community had become dependent on this water for their daily needs.
We began to consider drilling more wells. We are partnering with Drilling for Life to do exactly that! We are hoping to drill as many as 30 wells in our area, while continuing to provide eye care and other forms of healthcare. Will you consider partnering with us to help us change a whole community, one child at a time….a child that holds the dreams of every child in her eyes!
Board of Directors
O.D. – President
PharmD – Vice President
Wind Pham, CVT