I want to introduce you to a young lady whose past I know little about, but whose future I think we might be able to make a little brighter.
When I first met Loren, she was about nine. She joined the school sometime during the year that I had been away. Loren was very reserved and when she spoke to you— she always kept her mouth covered with her hand. It was clear through those small brown fingers what she was hiding. You see, while still a toddler, Loren fell into a open fire and burned a portion of her face, throat, hands, and arms. The medics did the best they could with their skill and tools, but Loren bears some very prominent scarring on her face. It looks as if she has been sewn together around her jaw line. The issue also includes weak or possibly disconnected muscles on her face leaving her mouth to hang open in a rather unnatural way.
When I returned to Kenya this year, Loren was very different. Much like every other hurting kid that comes under the care of Provision, Loren is thriving. She no longer even thinks to cover her face, and laughs along with her friends who are at this point oblivious to her scars. While that is a wonderful thing, I see a very different existence for Loren when she leaves Provision. The culture is tough in Kenya, and disabilities or perceived abnormalities can be the thing that stands between a person thriving or merely surviving. This harsh reality confirmed our own decision to adopt our eldest, who is hard of hearing. As children with physical issues grow older, a line is drawn and the destiny begins to be defined not by what this child can or cannot do as much as by the “abnormality” this child bears.
Loren, like every other young girl, has dreams she wants to pursue. She wants to go to college, train to be a teacher, find a nice young man, become a mother… and while we do know that ALL things are possible with our GOD, these things will be more difficult for Loren if she has to fight the social stigma that her scars will give her.
We have found a missionary clinic where they specialize in burn treatment. For about $800 usd, Loren can begin to have her scars removed, and start the therapy needed to return muscle control to her jaw and lips. It sounds like a great deal of money, but when you look at the cost of surgery here, it really is quite low.
I am told that over the holiday, Loren was taken to see the surgeon. When she was told what they wanted to do, she was thrilled. Even though Loren has learned to live with her scars, I imagine she dreams of a day when they will no longer mark her. By giving to We Are Kenya this month, you could be a part of helping Loren’s dreams come true.