A Message for Majengo

On behalf of all of us at Majengo, thank you so much for your contributions in this challenging time. Today on #GivingTuesdayNow, we want to thank our Majengo family for helping make our CHEK (Coronavirus Handwashing Emergency Kit) and CHEK+ Food community programming successful and for helping us keep the Majengo children safe and sound. Any donation made today will be matched up to $2,500 by members of the Canadian and US Majengo boards. Read the CHEK-in update about our community programs at the bottom of this e-mail.

Though life looks a little different at Majengo right now, the children are managing, and this is all thanks to the many people who have contributed to Majengo with their time and donations over the last five weeks. The children are doing school work, reading and doing chores – and washing their hands – which all seems relatively normal – but we all know how hard it is to stay home when you are being told you can’t go anywhere else. These lockdown measures were not taken lightly, but so far, they have helped us keep Majengo infection free.

As the African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and the current situation with coronavirus is no different. We were lucky enough to have Dr. Reed in our own little Majengo “village.” He has been instrumental in helping us make decisions about how to respond to the coronavirus – both at Majengo and in the community.We asked Dr. Reed to send a letter to the kids at Majengo to explain why all the changes they are making in their lives are so important. We wanted to share his message with you, too.

Hello to my friends at Majengo,

Some of you know me as Dr. Reed. I’m the doctor that has been coming to Majengo for the last few years to visit and listen to your hearts with my cold stethoscope – so I can find out which of my Majengo friends need dawa (medicine) to keep their hearts healthy. It didn’t take long (maybe 30 minutes) to feel the warmth of your welcome and smiles and (I hope) become a member of the Majengo family! I carry your smiles and happy energy all the way back to the United States and keep it in my pocket like a treasure. You are all so special, and I am so lucky to know you. And so, when there is a medical question or problem or danger, I am glad to help, because that is what family and friends do – that is what I do – and that is what you do, because we are all part of the same family.

So now I will tell you about the danger, and then I will tell you how we are working so hard to fight this danger and keep all of our family healthy, so that we can grow and laugh and… wait for it … become whatever your heart says is your dream ….like being a daktari (doctor) or working for the national parks or owning a hotel or being a teacher! There are so many dreams!

Dr. Reed! Tell us what the danger is so that we can come together to fight it!
The danger is something called coronavirus. Coronavirus is so small that you can only see it with something called an electron microscope. It enters your body through your nose or mouth and can make you very, very sick.Once it’s in your body, it can jump to someone else if you cough or sneeze or even hug someone close (which is easy to do when you love someone). It can make them sick, too.

Oh! Dr. Reed! How do we fight this virus if we can’t even see it? What can we do? 
Are you ready for the amazing part of the story? This is the part that makes me so proud of my Majengo family! I want to say:
“Listen, world! Look at what has been done here and learn!” 
When your very wise Mama Simone and Uncle Joseph, Nurse Amy, Nurse Luciana and Doctor Gabriel at Fame and I realized that this danger was coming, we put our heads together to make a battle plan. Our battle plan includes soap (yes, simple soap) and taking temperatures. It involves washing and washing (and washing some more!) and keeping apart. It is also closing the gates to lock down and keep everyone inside Majengo safe.We knew that if we didn’t start doing all these things and keep doing them, our plan would fail.

“Mama Simone,” I said, “this is too much to expect our family to do. They are used to running and jumping on each other, hugging, shaking hands. How will they make these changes? And all the Majengo mamas will need to stay at Majengo and not go home! And we will need to wash and wash!”

And Mama Simone said, “Wait and see, they can do it and they will because they are special!” 
And I said, “I knew that!!”And so, everyone changed how they did things, to stop the virus and stay healthy, staying farther away, washing bodies, being very careful about washing clothes, making food, and even sleeping farther apart.

But that wasn’t enough. My Majengo family was worried about the families and friends in the community and began teaching them about washing and made masks for them to keep the virus from spreading.

And so far, this is making a big difference, and you are the reason why! 
How long will we need to keep this up? Well, no one knows – but it will become easier with time.So when the other daktaris (doctors) at the hospital where I work in the US ask about all that noise coming from my pocket, I tell them that’s the smiles and love that I brought back from Majengo, and it just gets louder every year!!!

You are members of a very special family, and I am so happy and proud to know every one of you.

One day soon we will all have a party and dance and sing when things are easier, and we all stay well.
Tutoanana Majengo !!
(See you soon, Majengo)

(Dr. Reed with Mama Simone during the 2018 Cardiology Clinic at MCH)
Thanks to the generosity of the many people in our Majengo village, including Dr. Reed, the kids at Majengo are safe and sound. Your donations have made it possible for us to continue operations as normally as possible at Majengo.
For this, we are so grateful.
If you are able to, we urge you to make a small donation to Majengo in honour of #GivingTuesdayNow to help keep life as normal as possible for these children, and the children and families surrounding Majengo.
UPDATE:

Through our CHEK program, so far, Majengo has been able to distribute more than 500 CHEKs. We hope to produce and distribute 200 more in the coming days.  We have also begun to distribute some of the 111 food packs for our first month of food subsidies.

Over 500 families have now been helped in the Majengo community, and this is because of your generosity. We would never have been able to do this without you.

Any contribution will help us maintain the level of care at Majengo and help us extend our reach beyond the gates to the families in the community. For $50, you can provide a CHEK and one-month Food Pack to a family. Click here to donate in honour of #GivingTuesdayNow and STAY IN and REACH OUT for Majengo kids!