Many years ago, there was a drought in northern Kenya. A well-meaning man sent a container load of powdered Hollandaise sauce to a mission headquarters in Nairobi where it was delivered and put in the parking lot. This was to be distributed to the needy folks in the northern part of the country. I am sure that this man’s reasoning was something like “instant calories, just add water”. He didn’t know a key piece of information and hadn’t thought to ask and really listen. Powdered Hollandaise sauce was a completely unknown food to the hungry people, and it was useless. The heavy container began to sink into the pavement taking up valuable space.
The inclination of well-meaning people with resources is to simply give what they think is needed. This leads to waste and sometimes harm. My wife often says, “We don’t want to do things to people, we want to do things with people.” This sentiment is often used by people with disabilities when advocating for opportunities.
For individuals who need assistive technology (AT) like a wheelchair or a prosthetic limb, you might think that AT is their main concern. Those who really listen hear a somewhat different set of priorities. Check out this brief video! Francesca’s Story. Francesca received a prosthetic limb and braces, but she hardly mentions them. She mentions social and spiritual pain first. For Francesca, badly needed medical care and AT built bridges to the help she truly craved.
Karen and I seek to catalyze links to resources for organizations that will reach out with hope for healing for the whole person. An example of this is BethanyKids, our partner in Kenya. BethanyKids seeks to provide the equipment necessary to help people with disability, and also to provide opportunities for spiritual growth and a welcome into the community of the church.
There are many in this world who need this kind of help. More and more resources for AT provision are becoming available. Our goal is to link these resources with the organizations who do reach out with help for the whole person. This also takes careful listening, as the man who donated the Hollandaise sauce found out. Listening well is essential whether one is seeking to come alongside an organization or an individual.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for viewing Francesca’s Story. Please leave comments in the space below this blog entry.