Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 5,6,7 and 8

Well Folks this is it, Jeanne left a few days ago and I have been too busy to blog about the last few days of the ESTC trip until now. So here goes:

Day 5
Cheryl Children's Home and Ngando Preparatory School in Dagoretti Corner

After we picked up Jeanne at her hotel we traveled to the slum area of Dagoretti Corner to visit with Samuel. Samuel is one of my favorite people. He has been looking after Cheryl Children's Home (an orphanage and school for youngesters) for 16 years! I can't imagine living each day hoping and praying food, and school fee funds would show up. But that is how Samuel lives- pole pole (slowly slowly in Swahili) and one day at a time.

The orphanage/school has over 235 kids in school or in residence. With the help of GVN Foundation and other nonprofits Cheryl's is improving. Currently they are working on re-building the tin/plywood buildings of the school/orphanage into proper buildings. This is primarily because they had a rat and snake problem. Samuel explained it was very important that the buildings be redone because children were being bitten by snakes:

"We want the kids to be able to walk around and not be hurt." Samuel

Can you imagine going to sleep at night or waking in the morning and praying you aren't bitten by a rat or a snake? I can't. In the years to come GVN Foundation will allocate funds to Cheryl's to help them to continue to re-build the dorms, and kitchen. We also want the kids to be able to walk around and not be hurt.

After we visited the school and dorms we were thanked profusely by Samuel for the food we brought. I know I've said this before but you can actually see a weight lift off of the orphanage/school directors when we bring food or supplies... it is an amazing gift to be able to lighten the load of a man like Samuel.

From Cheryl's we went to Ngando Prep School and visited with the kids in this school. Luckily these kids have enough food, but sadly, they don't have adequate school supplies. Things like chalk, paper, pens and pencils are scarce. From the Kilimanjaro/Eat So They Can Funds we provided children with stationary and were thanked repeatedly by hundreds of kids who had prepared dances for us. Sign up to host a dinner today and you will receive a DVD that features the songs and dances these children had prepared for us in thanks for our donation of stationary.

Note to Donors: Today your funds provided hundreds of kids with food and school supplies.

Day 6
I scheduled a free day for Jeanne- a day to decompress and maybe see a few sites in Nairobi. Sara, our GVN Representative took Jeanne to the elephant orphanage in town. Afterwards Irene and I picked her up and brought her back to Irene's house. Tuesday's are my favorite day here. The housekeeper comes (with her adorable son Eric, who is my good friend and who is 2 years old) and she makes us chapatti and lentils! Jeanne enjoyed a glass of wine as she told us about the elephants she visited and the matatu (local 'taxi's') she had ridden in.

We dropped her off full and happy.

Day 7
Masaai Land

Oloshobar School and Ilnaroge School

Today, we took the long, dusty trail out to Masaai Land with 20 desks. At Olo-shobar the kids swarmed the desks. They scrambled over them, under them and around them. So excited to have new, good desks to sit on. The orphanage director explained they could now sit 3 to a desk instead of 4, which is a huge help in the classrooms.

Afterwards we went to Ilnaroge School and delivered the last 10 desks. The headmaster thanked us again profusely. We then talked about providing them with barb wire for a fence. Apparently since they have no fence donkeys, giraffes, antelop, and cows fill the school on the weekends....I told them we would help them build a fence. It is not good to share classroom space with a giraffe (however cool that sounds).

Note to Donors: Today we delived 20 big desks to lots of deserving Masaai kids.

Day 8
El Shaddai Orphanage- Kiambu

Today was the most touching day of my 7 weeks in Kenya. Irene and I have visited lots of schools and orphanages. Some more needy than other, El Shaddai is one of the poorest and the orphanage directors (a couple) are the most sincere people I have ever met.

After a hectic morning we got into Irene's car to go to the orphanage in convoy. We had one van full of food, with 12 mattresses piled on top. Another large truck, that carried all 10, 3 level beds followed as we headed out. As we pulled into the orphanage Aerosmith's 'Dude look like a lady' was blaring. Now every time I hear that song I will think of delivering food, beds, mattresses and blankets to 115 kids in Kenya... and I will remember the faces of the 2 orphanage directors. Beatrice, of the big heart, snatched Jeanne and I into a hug that lasted for the better part of 5 minutes and while I was taping Stephen he started to cry (which, of course, meant I started to cry).

After a long discussion about future needs for this orphanage (we have to get the kids and the staff out of this place and into better accommodation) we went to visit with the little kids who weren't in school. Jeanne had brought over 100 beanie babies and proceeded to hand them out. These kids have nothing but each other, and the clothes on their backs. They looked at these beautiful little beannie babies like they were aliens at first.... but they were soon cradling them, playing with them and comparing them... they had never been given anything like this.

After a few more tears and goodbye's to Beatrice and Steven we went home to clean up. We took Jeanne out to dinner to celebrate an amazing week and our first successful Eat So They Can fundraiser.

Thank you Jeanne for your patience, for taking 2 weeks to come to Kenya and your committment to helping these kids. We have all been changed by this experience!

Note to Donors- Today your funds provided food for 115 kids, 30 beds, mattresses and blankets. Now, almost, all the kids have their own beds!!!!

I'm off to meet another Nyawira (literally- that is her name). She is one of our South African Partner's and is flying into Nairobi to help me develop a leadership/confidence building camp for Kenyan Youth. After we have addressed the 'basic needs' of these kids, and worked with the schools/orphanages on creating sustainability, we would like to wrap each of our kids with the confidence and hope they need to make the transition into successful adulthood. Nyawira, Irene and I are going to work on creating this camp over the weekend.

I'll let you know how it goes soon!

Quote of the Day: "The just needed food and hope." GVN Volunteer at El Shaddai Charlotte

Photos: Top to Bottom:

Samual and Irene standing by the food we brought at Cheryl Children's Home.

Kids happy about the desks we brough to Olo-oshobar School

The van of food with 12 mattresses on the top as we caravan to El Shaddai Orphanage
The food's arrival to El Shaddai. They had had no food for awhile.

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