Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Kenya Photo Album

Kenya Album 2007

The 2007 Kenya travelling team has now returned to Canada. Click on the Picasa album to see a small selection of photos they took during the distribution. Try out the slideshow feature to see all 72 photos in the album.

SCAW's next distributions are Philippines in May, Uganda in June, and Togo in June.

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Monday, 12 March 2007

Kenya: Day 8 — Kariobangi

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This morning we went to the Kariobangi Primary School. This school became the distribution site for some sites around it. It was our last distribution. It became chaotic at times as the fence around it was poor and the parents were waiting there. A few children tried to sneak another bedkit but we soon realized what they were doing and it was because their parents were urging them on. We had a ‘time out’ and cleared the area. We gave out 491 bedkits today.

This school had groups that were centers for orphans and HIV/AIDS kids. We noticed that the size of the children was very small and we were told that even our Rotary Leader had seen their papers but since they suffer from the disease they are smaller in general.

Tonight we have a wrap up meeting with our overseas volunteer partners from the Rotary Club of Nairobi. These folks have once again made our job easier.

This ends the Kenya distribution for 2007 with 4,000 Kenyan children sleeping well tonight! We have received so many Thank You's on the donors' behalf and messages of blessings. It was an honour to be a part of this all.

Sue Orr
Team Kenya 2007

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Kenya: Day 6 and 7 — Rural Kenya

Team Kenya had the great good fortune to spend the weekend in rural Kenya.

Our first stop was St. Mary’s Primary School in Machakos where we had our best distribution yet and distributed 500 bedkits. The school yard had cattle roaming on it, so we placed our setup right in front of the children who enthusiastically watched our every move. That also provided the added bonus of the children being able to see what was taking place and consequently being better prepared when their turn came.

After the distribution, a local Rotarian arranged a tour of a house where one of the students lived. It was a 10' x 10' mud hut with no running water, an outhouse for latrine facilities, and a mud floor. Inside were two small beds and a cooking facility. The girl lived there with a mother, father, and one sibling — the other two lived elsewhere.

The area has been stricken with drought so we saw many totally dry riverbeds. The countryside was vast, dotted with many trees. Cattle and other livestock seemed to be roaming free or were attended by herders, often children.

By the time we arrived at the Makindu Sikh Temple for our overnight stay we were halfway to Mombasa from Nairobi. This 80-year-old Sikh Temple is free to any travellers who are provided with food and lodging. After settling into our rooms, we were provided with a tour of the local town guided by a parent of one of the children. Among other activities, some of us joined a group of the children from a school who would be receiving bedkits in a game of volleyball. Sixty of the students lived there, some using the classrooms as dorms at night. After the tour, and with all of us in head scarves, we had the opportunity to sample Indian cuisine in the large dining facility at the Temple.

On Sunday morning, we set up at the Makindu Sikh Temple for a distribution of 500 bedkits to ten schools from the surrounding area within a 5-kilometer radius. Many students had walked and we noticed many had no shoes on. It was a very hot morning so we were happy the children were able to wait for their turn to be photographed on the grass in the cool shade of the Temple garden — a far cry from the dirt playgrounds of most of the schools.

Upon interviewing some of the parents, we discovered that they would like a bed to put the mattress on, a warmer blanket, and more exercise books and pens. They were very appreciative of the mosquito net! They felt it would help prevent diseases so the child would be healthier and wouldn’t miss so much school.

Since it was Sunday, we noticed this day was our most musical by far, with the children often singing and dancing while waiting and once even dancing into the photography setup.

It was a tired, but happy team who headed back to Nairobi for our final distribution tomorrow.

Veri Presswood
Team Kenya 2007

Friday, 9 March 2007

Kenya: Day 5 — Mathare, Nairobi

This morning saw us on the road to Mathare where children came from 18 different schools to receive 500 bedkits. Mathare is an old primary school with over 1400 students and only 25 teachers. We had lots of help from Rotaractors — young Rotarians. In this case most of them are in university and on holiday this week.

The distribution went off without a hitch.

However, picture taking location was a problem - school lessons were still going on while the students from the 18 schools came for the distribution. So the best location for sun and traffic control was a few yards away from the boys' latrine. The team (especially Veri) will long remember the children of Mathare and the stench of the latrine.

Tomorrow we head out from Nairobi into the rural area for two distributions and overnight. We return to Nairobi late Sunday so this will be our last live report for a few days.

Veri Presswood
Team Kenya 2007

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Kenya: Day 4 — Muslim & Catholic Schools

Date & Time in Kenya:
We left this morning at 7:30 am and arrived at the Dagoretti Muslim School. They were not yet ready for us and it took a little while for the teachers to understand what we needed of them: the kids in clothes and a secure site. It all worked out perfectly in the end though.

It gave us time to look around. There was no running water at this school. The bathrooms had signs above them that said use toilet paper and not stones or glass. There were dead mice on the schoolyard and despite all of this the kids were very happy about things — even those kids that did not get a bedkit. The parents waited outside the yard and thanked us when we left.

We then went for lunch with the Rotary Club. It was the opposite of what we had just seen. We were treated royally at the Grande Regency Hotel. Unfortunately, we had to leave early because kids were waiting at the site of the afternoon distribution.

The other site was Kwetu Children's home. It is a school boarding system for boys that come off the street. As well, they had girls bussed in to receive bedkits from a neighbouring school. They showed us an area that had some bedkits from last year. This site was really organized well and the distribution went quickly. This area was close to Mukuru. The schoolyard had chickens and dogs running wild on it.

The team was a bit tired today, as some are not sleeping well at night. We went out for dinner tonight as guests of the Rotarians that are in charge of the sites. They were great company and gave us good insights on what to expect for the future.

Sue Orr
Team Kenya 2007

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Kenya: Day 3 “Cheka!

Current Weather:Click for Nairobi Jomo, Kenya Forecast
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This morning we went to the Mwamgaza Primary School in Kayole, Nairobi. They have 1,782 children from Grade 1 to Grade 8 with forty-two teachers.

The distribution went well again — with 500 bedkits going to kids that come out of Mathare, the second largest slum in Nairobi. Our system was set up in the courtyard and we used the ropes to keep control of the crowd. The full sun was on us for most of the time. The kids are used to being in the sun but we are not. This school has a secure fence system that kept some parents out during the distribution.

These bedkits really do go to the entire family and everyone gets excited about it!

The Rotary Club has provided many Rotaractors — young Rotary members between twenty and thirty years of age — that help during the distribution. They play an active part in assisting us to get the job done. They also help in translating the language.

The Parent Council showed us their appreciation afterwards. The chairman mentioned that many of the recipients are orphans and others are HIV-positive. We also noticed that they had many groups of special needs children there. These experiences are making us appreciate what we have at home.

Smile!! Cheka!!

Sue Orr
Team Kenya 2007

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Kenya: Day 2 “Drive-In School”

We went to the Drive-In Primary School in Mathare today. This school is called the Drive-In School only because it is near the Drive-In. They have over 1500 students from Grade 1 to Grade 8.

They had 32 teachers in the school. The school was very efficient and well run. Maybe it was because they were all women teachers?! We asked the head mistress what she would like the most and her reply was a secure fence system. This way they could put in a permanent kitchen facility.

The distribution went very well and 500 bedkits are going to very deserving homes.

From the schoolyard we could see the apartment buildings that these kids come from. They are a 10 x 12 room where the entire family lives. This area is the second largest slum in Nairobi.

Sue Orr
Team Kenya 2007

Monday, 5 March 2007

Kenya: First Distribution of 2007


We are sending this first live report after a day in Kibera, Kenya at the Jamia mosque. Kibera is said to be one of the largest slums in sub-saharan Africa and therefore the children are among the poorest in the continent. We distributed a total of 609 bedkits and the process went smoothly.

Yesterday morning we met with our Rotary partners and planned our distributions. Yesterday evening we attended a dinner at the home of Rotary Club President, Diamond Lalji and his wife. The gracious surroundings of last night were in sharp contrast to the destitution that we observed today in Kibera.

We were greeted this morning by many smiling, happy faces, despite waiting for hours. The children were in good spirits and happy to sing songs with us and watch Duncan's many magic tricks. Overall, a great day.

More to come,

Sarah Axelson,
for the SCAW 2007 Kenya Team

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Kenya: SCAW Team has Arrived

The SCAW team is ready to go!

A distribution in Kibera starts tomorrow.

We will be in touch when we are not so rushed!

All are safe.

Duncan Macgregor
on behalf of the travelling team

Friday, 2 March 2007

Kenya: The Travelling Team

From Kenya Album 2007

Introducing the SCAW 2007 Kenya Travelling Team.
(Left to Right) Back Row: Veri Presswood, Sue Orr, Sarah Axelson, Brenda Oliver. Front Row: Duncan Macgregor (Team Leader), Don Potter.