Monday, April 19, 2010
Little did I know what my decision to be an Eat So They Can host would lead to! The GVN ESTC 2010 Kenya trip has been a week like no other, packed from beginning to end with unforgettable experiences. And now the 10 of us from all corners of the globe, US, UK, NZ, Australia, S. Africa and kenya are all going our separate ways with so much to think about and images which will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
The week started with a visit to Kibera, Nairobi's slum area, and reputedly the largest slum in the world, home to maybe 3/4 million people. Five orphanages and 3 IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps later, we had distributed checks for school exam fees, electricity bills, medical expenses, delivered baby formula, sacks of flour (?), and even a cow to supplement the milk supply for an orphanage of 160+ children. At the IDP camps where the needs are even greater, ESTC donations are funding a porridge program which feeds hundreds of children on a daily basis, plus gradually building permanent housing for families who have been living in tents for 3 years.
As the incredibly lucky winner of the ESTC 2009 campaign, I have had the privilege of seeing first hand precisely how the donations from the ESTC hosts are allocated and distributed, directly into the hands of those who need it most. As they say in Swahili, asante sana, thank you very much to GVN, to Colin Salisbury, GVN founder, and especially to Lauren McMahon, and Tracy Pillay for going to such lengths to make this a life changing experience for all the participants. Let's hope that the ESTC 2010 campaign will reach a new record in donations.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Let me fill you in on the first couple of days!
On Monday we headed straight into Kibera slum. Peter, otherwise known as “Mr Kibera” hosted our visit and showed us some of the projects in the area. It was fascinating learning about the history and how people survive in such cramped and challenging conditions. Around every corner we were greeted by “How are you? How are you? How are you?” from the small children all wanting to talk to the Mzungus (white people).
In the afternoon we visited Happy Life, a home for abandoned babies. There are currently 37 babies at the home and wow, do volunteers have their work cut out for them here! Rooms were filled with cribs and little bundles of joy! We arrived at the perfect time too, when they had just woken up from their afternoon nap. Oh how adorable. We all dived of them and goo goo and gaad for hours. Even the boys on the team, Colin, Peter and Tim, were absolute mush! Last year we delivered baby cots and formula through ESTC, this year we delivered formula again and plus towards medicine and future health care for the sick babies. They are often in very weak condition when they arrive at the centre and need lots of love and attention.
On Tuesday we visited Pipeline IDP Camp, a 2.5 hour drive through the Rift Valley from
It was a beautiful reunion yet I felt a hint of sadness. So many people still in tents, so many people still suffering. Yet hope remains strong and everyone is as positive as I remember, quite remarkable given the conditions. We headed straight to the Nursery Class where the children were eagerly waiting for their porridge. Last year funds raised through ESTC went towards setting up the porridge program and we supported it again this year. It is such an important project. For many of the children who come to class and receive a cup of porridge it could be their only meal for the day if their parents don’t have enough food. Alicia and Hilary assisted Susan who runs the projects distribute the “uji” which was a lot tougher than it sounds. Facing hundreds of hungry kids is not easy!
We spent the rest of the day touring the camp, meeting people, and visiting projects. The school which GVNF Australia is building through ESTC is nearly finished and looks amazing. It’s so wonderful to know that soon 120 little 5-6 year olds will be attending class! We are also supporting the housing project through ESTC. Once they are finished five families will have a new home!
More to come soon…….
Monday, April 12, 2010
When asked, "what are you looking forward to most on this trip," Leanna responded, "I am looking forward to being whatever is needed to put a smile on someones face and to lighten the load and worries of the adults who compassionately take care of all the amazing children in the homes. I'm just looking forward to being in service." With her enthusiasm and passionate pursuit to enrich the lives of others, specifically children around the world, I don't think it will take her long to generate some huge smiles!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
What is your dream or goal? "Just to be happy really. To be a good person. To always be growing and learning through new opportunities and experiences." ~Alicia Hill
GVN first had the privilege of getting to know a little bit about Alicia when she participated in a GVN fundraising trek to Everest Base Camp 5 years ago. "I met some fantastic people, saw some breathtaking scenery, and got to see first hand the difference that GVN and its donors are making in this world." When asked about what she is most looking forward to during her time on the distribution trip, Alicia's answer is right in line with her heart; " The smiles on the faces of the children that will benefit from the campaign." We asked Alicia what she liked most about the Eat So They Can campaign: "It really shows people that a little bit of effort can really go long a way. Something as simple as holding a dinner party can contribute to something so big! It’s got a lot to say for people power!"