I want to share this story with you as it highlights the courage and the dedication that Vomilla and his family have.
Vomilla was one of our original intake at the school, he was a lively young lad joining in all the school activities. In his first days at the school, like the other kids, he would cry whenever he saw me only because I was a ‘musungi’ -a white man. Although he and the rest of the kids had seen tourists passing by in their vans none had ever met a musungu. As they got to know me so the crying stopped and the dash to hold my hand started.
Well unfortunately it wasn’t long before the young boy started to miss school, his head had started to throb and the pain was just too much to endure. He visited the local hospital in the village of Archers Post progressing to the district hospital in Isiolo. Then after a short period we pushed him up the chain to Meru, a large hospital, which then diagnosed it was something major and recommended he attended Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi some 300ks away.
Vomilla started to lose weight and his headaches worsened. He was given very strong medication and a scan which showed a tumour just under the brain. The doctors were undecided on the course forward so after a months stay in the Kenyatta hospital they hadn’t come up with a positive plan however, you have to bear in mind the hospital is totally overwhelmed with patients who have been referred as a last resort. Their resources and staff are struggling to cope, it’s a desperate situation.
I decided to send him to a missionary ‘private hospital’ called Kijabe. The hospital, supervised and run by missionary doctors mostly from the States, had saved my life 8 years before. Here he was quickly admitted, scanned and operated on, inserting a shunt to reduce the pressure in his head. Unfortunately the tumour was too close to the brain to operate and remove, it was deemed to be malignant. He started to improve and was released to return home and after a complete rest he returned to school.
Unfortunately he started to lose weight and again his headaches returned. His lack of a good diet didn’t help at all so we revisited Kajabe hospital where he was admitted staying for a month. His condition was still too dangerous to operate nor was he fit enough for such a major operation.
Vomilla was returned home, his mother having received instruction on how to administer the drugs, pain killers and supplements. We continue to supply Vomilla with the necessary food, fruit and veg to improve his diet and his wellbeing, visiting him monthly. As he got stronger, yes he did and has got stronger, we provide additional items like clothing, furniture and of course sweets!
It must be said Vomilla’s mother has proved to be such a wonderful mother, always on hand with such love and care despite the hardships. And they do live in very difficult conditions, a single room made of sticks, leaves, wattle of dung and mud, very little water and a very basic diet with next to no income, they scratch a living.
Have a look at the pictures.
His progress is amazing, just amazing. I never thought I would see him walk again, he continues to make such great progress, he is a fighter that’s for sure, such a wonderful kid.
It does sadden us to know in the end he will still meet his maker sooner rather than later but whilst we are able to bring some sunshine and hope into his life, and give the family support, the effort is not at all in vain. Who knows, it may not be in vain as one day they may decide the options to operate have improved and his chances of survival are a strong possibility. We can only hope.