Most of us who visit home regularly from Diaspora rarely if at all find ourselves visiting other than our own villages, which is quite normal.
The other day while visiting Kenya, however, I had occasion to go on a field trip with a senior official from the Ministry of Health that initially was to cover several community clinics in Naivasha, Nakuru and Elburgon but, due to unavoidable circumstances, this was scaled back to just visiting several clinics in Naivasha as we had to return to Nairobi. The whole exercise was intended to gather information directly from the care-providers with a view of improving their delivery of health services, including identifying enabling tools to make their critical clinics more modernized and efficient.
Two things stuck to my mind from this field trip.
First, the dedication and commitment of these basic care providers, who double up as owner/operators of these clinics. Every one of the owner/operators we visited showed a level of genuine desire to provide basic health-care and not one gave me the impression they were in for their own aggrandizement. Contrast that with the hawks we often have to deal with elsewhere with overstretched hands asking what’s in it for them and never mind what the business proposal is or how it would benefit the country.
Second, just looking at the abject poverty surrounding many of these clinics was quite an experience for anyone to behold. There we were riding in our SUVs into these communities which basically are slums and as we are rolling by what somehow is a way meandering through these jam-packed residential areas, you could up close look and see the eyes of an impoverished child that says it all.
And the first question that comes to mind and I loudly asked those riding with me, is why?
Why in 2012 we can have this much poverty still devastating many an innocent child, let alone their adult families?
In a way, this was a rhetorical question for we know the answer.
The bigger question and one Kenyans must answer come 2013 is who really among those vying would be best placed at the top as president not only to change this culture of status quo on everything, but to really do something to make a dent in addressing the serious problem of rural and urban poverty.
I know many of us are doing what we can to alleviate the poverty from an individual point of view but it’s obviously going to take a collective effort by both us as individuals and the government formulating and implementing policies that can finally seriously begin to tackle head on and eliminate or greatly reduce this devastating trio-problems of poverty, malnourishment and poor or lack of healthy living conditions.
Rather than basing voting along tribal lines or alliances, Kenyans must focus on asking a fundamental question and that is, which among those seeking the top seat cares and has actually done something about alleviating these unacceptable living conditions and overall who has a proven record of catering to the needy and not the otherwise well to do.
Casting a vote based on an honest answer of that question will for the first time give us a leader at the national level who can actually finally make a difference in the majority of our people’s lives who otherwise will remain languishing in the same poverty and poor living conditions.
Let’s all reflect upon this and share and inform widely.
It’s the least we can do.