As gospel songs soothed the air, there were more than just happy faces. Faces that were appreciative and thankful for what the institution had done. This is due to the care and the partnership these patients and their families had received from the hospice. Better still there were attentive ears, to get what’s the way forward in regards to palliative care and also know that they would have a merry Christmas and a happy year followed by a pain free year.
Master of Ceremony, David Musyoki issued an announcement that the elderly even took heed more than the young, let’s have fun. “It’s been a year of success. Kama unaweza kudance, stand up and have fun. If you are not able to, move in your chair. Our core business, have fun,” said Nairobi Hospice C.E.O., Brigid Sirengo.
Then came the walk down the run way, the patients who participated in the fashion show put on their best smiles as they cat walked with no age restriction. Round of applause came from the onlookers as each and every contestant braced the runway. Children also did marvelous poems with the climax of it coming from young Elin, “AIDS is real, beware.”
Thanks to the Guarantee Trust Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank among other sponsors there was an array of different foods for the patients and their families. With food in abundance the children did not hide their joy as they ate with enthusiasm to their fill. “Hawa watu wanatusaidia sana. Mimi natoka Ngong’ na nimefurahia kazi hawa watu wanafanya kutusaidia. Tulikuwa tunanunua tablet moja mia tatu. Hata kuna wakati ungeshindwa kwenda spitalini kwa sababu huna hata fare. Heri sasa tunapata usaidizi, (These people help us a lot. I am from Ngong’ and I come all way for help. Medication was expensive and even fare constraints was a major issue)” says Peter, a patient with cancer of the bone whose foot was amputated to stop the cancer from spreading through the body. Peter packs his food after a few bites. “Unajua sisi watu wa dawa hatuwezi kula chakula mingi. Inabidi tunakula kidogo kidogo mara mingi. (We who take this medication cannot eat a lot at a sitting. We eat just little but many times a day)” Despite this setback, Peter adds that he has enough food for the night is still appreciative and looks as the Nairobi Hospice as an institution sent from heaven.
With the final speech from the Patient’s Welfare Chairman, Mr. Ikutwa, “Do not lose hope. I have lived with cancer for 16 years and you can do too. Nobody should tell you that you are dying.”
The gifts from the Nairobi Hospice sponsors were shared among the many families for the festive season. Christmas indeed came early for most of these families.