Tag Archives: Sisters of Charity

Far away from topless Kate Middleton, critic Kate Copstick’s shock pregnancy…

The big story in British newspapers

The big story in British newspapers for the last couple of days has been the French magazine (and now the Irish newspaper) publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

I blogged yesterday about a very enjoyable visit to the Pull The Other One comedy club and about the origin of the word ‘Wally’.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a couple of days ago, nine men were found hanging from a bridge in Mexico and the Syrian civil war continues, mostly unreported.

Doyenne of British comedy critics Kate Copstick, meanwhile, is currently in Kenya, where she spends four months every year and where her Mama Biashara charity aims to help poor women start up self-sustaining businesses.

These are a couple of extracts from her diary.

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Kate Copstick: story of an unexpected pregnancy in Kenya

Saturday

The small market is in full swing and I learn from one of the woman that my friend Janet has been taken to Kisii because she was having complications with a pregnancy I had no idea she was having (the last two ended in miscarriage) and she couldn’t afford the medical fees in Nairobi. I get a number and call Janet. She doesn’t sound good.

The baby is too big, she says. Coming from Janet – a woman who would have given Rubens himself pause for thought – that is quite something. The baby is backwards, she says. As it is unborn, I assume this refers to position in the womb, not IQ. The doctors say it might die, she says.  I say I will try to get to Kisii but I do not have much time.

Doris is only an hour and a half late (“because of jam”) but gives great feedback on the women Mama Biashara medicated and financed last time out. Pretty much all good! The ladies with the pus-ridden gums are all sorted, the man with the infected leg is still one of the Great Unwashed but healed up, some businesses are really flourishing, some are opening second branches, some rice sellers are finding out our warnings about low profit margins are true and tweaking their business to increase income.

The least successful workshop seems to have been the one where God was called upon to strike me down. (Previously blogged about here)

Businesses are going on but there is no massive expansion.

Still, the women have income.

Doris comes back to my little house and we sort through the medication I have – an eclectic mix, thanks to Zetta making almost nightly raids on her friends’ medicine chests.

The first clinic and workshop is fixed for Monday in Limuru.

How do people sleep on plastic sheeting ? I slide all over my mattress and the sheet just slips off into a ball in the corner. I feel like wetting myself just so I can enjoy the benefits of the thing, rather than the drawbacks. But I don’t.

Monday

We are guided to the dying boy by a woman up a tree on top of a hill shouting things like “I can see you!” and “You have gone too far!” down Felista’s phone. At one point, Felista gets out of the car and walks in front, taking instructions from the woman in the tree on the hill. We crawl along behind, like the first cars driving behind a man with a red flag.

When we get there, it is to find a woman who looks like a twiglet in a hat lying on an old mattress in a mud hut and a boy sitting outside. His face looks hamster-like. He is listless. Probably neither is being helped to health by not having eaten in days.

I head off back down the hill to get food, charcoal and anything else useful the settlement shops might have. Bones for soup as it turns out.

Joseph, the boy, is being ‘looked after’ by a group calling themselves the DREAM Foundation.

The Sisters of Charity of St Vincent get huge amounts of money to identify positive children ‘at risk’ in the community and place them in homes, monitor them, give them food and make sure they are getting the right medication.

This translates – in the real world – into They find children who are positive, take them to a home and dump them there. The kids have to come to the DREAM centre for monitoring (a round trip of at least half a day, costs to be borne by Felista), seem to have doctors who trained under Dr Mengele on the staff (or didn’t train at all), hand out a couple of kgs of gruel flour and a bag of sugar each month to each kid as ‘nutritional support’ and then, if the child stops responding to the very basic medication they offer (two lines of antiretroviral drugs and little else), they send them away to any relative they can find to die, as dying in a DREAM approved home would look bad on the statistics.

Joseph has stopped responding to the second line of antiretroviral drugs, hence he has been sent to die in a mud hut on a hill with an ancient twiglet as his carer.

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