This is a guest post by Sarah Mwangi, the Kenyan coordinator at one of our Medical Partners, African Mission Healthcare Foundation. Sarah is responsible for identifying patients and walking them through the Watsi process. She’s made it possible for more than 100 people in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia to access medical care funded by Watsi donors.
Every day I get the opportunity to experience firsthand what Watsi is really doing. I see it when chronic wounds heal. I hear it in the words of grateful parents. I feel it in the tears of mothers who are extremely overwhelmed.
It’s Monday morning. I pick up the telephone to make one of my usual routine calls in Kiswahili.
Hello, Beatrice? My name is Sarah and I’m calling you from Kijabe Hospital. I am calling to let you know that your mother, Esther, will be discharged tomorrow. I also wanted to ask if you could come early so that I can make sure you are cleared by the accounts office without being asked for money.
“Hello, Beatrice, are you there?”
In her local dialect, Beatrice starts to cry out.
“Beatrice, is everything okay? Your mother’s surgery went well. There is no need to be upset.”
Finally, she speaks.
“I’m sorry Sarah. I just can’t believe it. Are you saying that when I come to hospital tomorrow, I will not have to pay a single cent towards the cost of this surgery?“
“Yes. You just need to ensure that you call me when you get here so that I can take you through the process.”
She cries out again.
“Sarah, I am in total disbelief. I have dreamed about this day for ages but we have been at such a bad place for such a long time. Dreams are the only thing my family and I can afford. What can I ever do to repay you?”
“I am just the messenger! I will pass on your gratitude to those who have helped you.”
“Please make sure you do. Make sure you tell them that we are overwhelmed; that we are extremely grateful and that we can only pray for heaps of blessings upon them.”
“I will, Beatrice. See you tomorrow then. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Sarah. Thank you.”
I sit at my desk and go over the conversation in my mind. Instantly, I’m aware that my ‘routine’ phone calls, in reality, are far from routine.
Watsi is changing lives.