One of my passions in this world is looking after the elderly. I find them so full of knowledge and insight – I think it’s an honor to be able to help them in there time of need. At the end of the day that’s someone’s parent, grandparent, aunty, uncle, and we need to treat them with respect and dignity that they deserve.
That is why one of my most touching and rewarding experiences in Kenya was attending to an elderly ladies personal hygiene. My fellow team members first met this lady one day when they were doing community outreach. When they arrived at her hut they were shocked and stunned to see the state of this wonderful lady who in her prime cared for so many. But first a bit of background is necessary…
This wonderful lady had broken her knee a number of years ago and was never able to get it fixed properly due to finances so therefore she was no longer able to ambulate. Every morning a neighbor would come and drag her outside and leave her sitting in the dirt in the heat with no food or water nearby. When we saw her there sitting in her own filth covered in ants we knew something needed to be done.
However that day we had no supplies except for some pain relief gel. But our team knew we had to do something about this. So we arranged another visit to her where we took clean water, moisturizer, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels and food for her. When she saw us walk up, the smile on her face said it all. So we gave her a thorough wash, scrubbed her from head to toe. We brushed her teeth, moisturized her, put her in clean clothes and placed her in her wheelchair. We then wheeled her to some shade and left her with some water and food.
She was so thankful it warmed my heart to see the smile and gratitude that this lady had. We didn’t perform some miracle surgery, we didn’t even relieve her pain, all we did was simply attended to her hygiene and give her something to eat and drink and her smile alone was thanks enough. Sometimes I think we forget how grateful we need to be to live in such a amazing country.