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Best Medicine

Screech, slam, blackness.

Woke up on a gurney, some guy I didn’t know asking me, “Who is the current president?” I replied slowly, “Carter.” I could not move my head to see the paramedic’s worried reaction because, in fact, Bill Clinton was the current president.

Through years of physical and cognitive therapy, I gradually regained my mobility and most of my memory.  Even with the best medicine, I could not seem to regain my former confidence and sense of well-being. My life shattered, my businesses destroyed, my finances lay in ruins. Piece by piece, like deconstructing a jigsaw puzzle,  I sold my former life to pay medical bills and feed my family.  I wept the day my motor home, with a custom-built computer desk, was repossessed.

A light at the end of the tunnel

Even though I eventually won a settlement, I was deeply depressed. I had fallen hard and it did not seem worth getting up. Then one day I received a call from a minister in Chicago who asked me, “Hey, would you like to come to Africa and video me?” I said, “Yes, why not?”  In a couple of months, I found myself deep in the bush of East Africa.

While documenting his mission trip to Kenya, East Africa, I saw many little children in tattered clothes hanging around us everywhere we went.   One person said, “They are total orphans.” This impacted me so much that I started thinking about what I could do to help. One day the idea of building a “micro-orphanage” dawned on me.

Maybe I could help

It seemed to me that there were many orphanages in the cities, however, very few in the Kenyan bush. So I decided to build a small micro-orphanage that would be run by a local pastor and his wife. We would take care of a few young children at a time, allowing them to continue to live in their familiar surroundings.

I brought over my computer, a bulky video camcorder, and other equipment, to set up my “bush studio.” I shot video of myself and the locals mudding the orphanage building and dancing with the children. Back then, making a video and burning it onto a CD was no easy task; and like Spock, I felt as though I was working with “stone knives and bearskins.”

Doing what the hand finds to do

I used my tech ability to promote our cause to supporters in the USA. Through this effort, we helped the children by feeding them, buying school uniforms, and paying school fees. Presently, I bring over used laptops and provide books about python programming and web design. I set up a web hosting account where others can put up their web pages. One young man I have worked with is extremely talented. The other children have also taken to computers very well. I hope this type of exposure will help them find employment when they are ready. Recently, our first orphan graduated from high school; and his goal is to become a computer engineer.

The best medicine

In conclusion, through this amazing experience I have found that the more I concentrated on others, the better I felt about myself. In the end, planning, building, and staffing the orphanage; and caring for my orphaned boys and girls was the best medicine I ever took.

If you are interested in visiting Kenya, here is an article on things to do while you are there.

100 Things To Do In Kenya