Twilight Dreams

It was evening. The sun had slipped down into the horizon, sharply silhouetting trees against the twilight. We pulled into the hard-packed dirt parking lot outside the Jalaram Nursing Home—a private hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. The noise of city traffic churning past us.  Pastor David Chuchu was responding to the distress of a friend whose eighty-year-old mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was recovering from a mastectomy and the family had received the news that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, and there was nothing that could be done. The patient herself had not been told, and the family didn’t want to tell her for fear of making her more depressed. Her son was quietly despairing.

We saw David’s friend in the waiting room, sitting on a plastic chair, his large frame dwarfed by the mass of concrete that made up the waiting area. His face lit up when he saw his childhood friend. We made our way up a flight of steps and stepped into a women’s ward. It wasn’t horrible. I wasn’t even bad—I’d seen worse places.  But it was tiny. The room was basically a 60’X15’ rectangle. It was split into two sections with the nurse’s desk in the middle.  Each section held two rows of four beds.  Picture a hospital bed with about 2 feet of space on either side. That was the extent of the space for families to visit.  Privacy?  A thin curtain separated each bed on either side, but not at the foot of the bed.  There were a few plastic chairs, but many family members leaned over the beds of their loved ones or stood awkwardly at the foot of the bed. It was cramped. Uncomfortable.

We joined the four other family members that surrounded the woman.  Her son stood guard at the foot of the bed. David knew this family well. They were from his village. His mother and this woman were good friends. His presence, words and prayer provided much consolation.

When our visit was over and we were heading back down the stairs, I asked David “What will happen to her?” Her children did not live in town and they needed to return home and to work.  There was nowhere close for them to take their mother.

As it turns out, the woman was discharged and went to stay at the school where her son is principal.  But many people do not have family who can care for them. Remember mama Caren?  A widow with all ten of her children dead. If she finds herself in this situation, she will just suffer the pain and shame in her house. That’s simply unacceptable.

Patiently waiting. That’s what we’ve been doing since 2014 when David and I first began to talk about opening a place that could provide palliative care with a mercy touch. I’ve had my doubts. Not that a hospice house was needed. No, never that. But HOW? HOW was this going to happen? How would we pay for it? …and on and on and on…

Now we find ourselves with land! And not just any land, but a site so lovely and peaceful it takes my breath away. It is beyond anything I could have dreamed of.  It is lush. It is near a river so there is power, water and beauty. It is accessible by four different roads and straddles 3 counties. And the best part?  The community wants to donate this land for this mercy project!  In fact, they are asking, “When can we start building???”

And that is the big question. But a few things need to be in place first

1. Come up with a name so the project can be registered with the government

2. Pay for a land survey (about $1,000) and a geological survey (another $1,000).

3. Once these are done, then the architect can begin to work his magic with designing

O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me.                                        St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Always Mercy,


If you want to be a part of this mercy work, you may send checks to Holy Cross Lutheran Church, earmarked for Kenya Hospice.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

4701 Grove St.

Rocklin, CA 95677

via Always Mercy

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