With heavy hearts we report that another tragedy struck the community this month. Jovert, three years old, passed away due to complications after contracting a virus that swept through the tribe.
At one point, more than 40 children were hospitalized at the overrun government hospital, all suffering from gastroenteritis and most of them were severely dehydrated. Our staff and volunteers quickly mobilized to purchase the prescribed medicine, which is not provided by the hospital. As of today, there are just a handful of children still admitted and they are all expected to be discharged soon.
Sadly, deaths among children we work with have become common enough that we've added a line item in our annual budget to help pay for funerals. If there is anything good to come out of tragic situations like this, we find it can serve as a renewed sense of urgency to help this community find a way out of the mire of poverty they endure each day.
Most kids we work with are malnourished, which weakens their immune system and leads to situations like the one this month. We've been providing school lunches for years now, but soon will start a breakfast program using fortified meal packs from Kids Against Hunger.
A special thanks to Auburn Presbyterian Church for sponsoring 24 new children and a special donation for our septic tank project!