Mead Minutes: Stepping out in faith

Dr. Tim Mead at work

Greetings from the Great Rift Valley in Kijabe, Kenya! It has been a loooong time since I have been able to write those words. This morning, I was sitting on the porch of the Guest House and enjoying the view while sipping some Kenyan AA coffee when I heard a familiar sound of visitors approaching. Around the corner they came—a troop of baboons! The large male sat on the grass right in front of me while keeping a vigilant eye on the rest. Young baboons screeched and scrambled on top of the metal roof. Moms with babies riding on their backs gave me looks of distain; this was their home, not mine. Baboons can be interesting to watch, but beware! They are thieves on the lookout for food at all times. Finding no food by me, they wandered down the hill into the trees. A grand view of the Rift, breezes blowing, and baboons. I am home.

Next week, CURE surgeons will gather to discuss surgical care options for our kids. The topic is way too large for a single meeting, but the time together will be a great start. What works well in our settings? What needs study or change? How can we be better? What equipment needs are present? On and on.

An undated early photo of CURE Kenya.

Later in the morning, Jana, Abby, and I climbed up the hill to the hospital. A major building project is underway that will create a larger, more functional outpatient clinic area. The new addition is built out of stone like the other buildings, so it will match well. When the new addition is completed, there will be a shuffle of offices from the main facility allowing for expansion of the clinical areas.

As we approached the hospital, we were greeted warmly. Although many new faces make up the CURE Kenya team, we still know a large number of people. The wards are bright and cheerful. The operating theaters are busy. Mobile clinics continue to expand throughout Kenya creating a growing outreach of CURE’s medical-spiritual ministry.

A somewhat younger Dr. Mead at CURE Kenya (undated file photo)

Walking around the facility, I am amazed at all the growth and development. I am sure few people looking at CURE Kenya today would realize what a God-sized miracle this represents. When the hospital opened in 1998, CURE International was a very young organization. The hospital in Kijabe was the first CURE pediatric rehabilitation facility in Kenya, and it was the first hospital built by CURE. There were no Kenyan orthopedic residency training programs. No CURE Kenya network of Ponseti-style, nonoperative clubfoot treatment existed. Braces were primarily polio boots with maybe a metal upright bar, There were no plastic AFO braces being made in Kenya. Pastors Jeremiah and Christine Kithome had not yet tried to develop an intentionally blended medical and spiritual ministry. I was coming from a U.S. community-based practice to face deformities that I could not even find in books. The government of Kenya did not have a classification box to check and approve what CURE Kenya had planned. Dr. Theuri joined as a “trainee” with no viable option in sight in order to gain certification by the Kenyan government. Really? So many opportunities to fail and, yet, CURE grew. Amazing!

Dr. Theuri in 2000

God had a plan, obstacles were slowly overcome, and growth took place: A COSECSA orthopedic residency, a functional and progressive brace shop, a vibrant spiritual ministry, a network of mobile clinics supported by local churches, an operating room expansion, CURE Clubfoot, many transformed lives, and so much more. People came and God was glorified.

CURE Kenya continues to be a place where the physically disabled child and their family can come to find help. Dedicated CURE team members reach out with the love of Christ. Each member has his own special skills and gifts to share. Together, we do so much more than any one person alone. Together, we can make a difference. The first step out in faith is the most difficult. After this commitment, you embark on an adventure into the unknown… in His grip.