Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Kenya: Mission Accomplished!

Now that the mission was accomplished we still rose with the birds as Charles our driver took us to Nairobi National Park. It's a 170 square mile park boarding on the outskirts of Nairobi. For game reserves this is would be small so there were no elephants but there were many:

  • giraffes,

  • zebras, 

  • Buffaloes, 

  • crocodiles, 
  • baboons, 

  • monkeys, 
  • a baby Python, 
  • gazelles, 
  • white rhinos, 

  • harte beast, 
  • eland, 
  • wildebeest, 
  • waterbucks, 
  • warthogs, 
  • impala, 
  • secretary birds,
  • an eagle,
  • African spoonbills, 
  • a turtle, 
  • and the nose of a hippo

Love The 2018 Kenya Team

Monday, 12 March 2018

Kenya: Gratitude

We were at the next site by 8:30 am to give out 500 bedkits to the children from Karobangi area. The Children were dressed and waited patiently for their gift from SCAW. We had lots of help and quickly moved into action as we had a second site to deliver to in the afternoon. After the children got their gift, they spent time in a great playground where the shouts of laughter spoke to the pure delight of being a child. 

Each child was special but one child captured our hearts. She came, sat, and smiled from ear to ear. Afterwards she circled our group sharing repeated hugs, laughter, and innocent joy.

We interviewed two parents whose children received bedkits. They were overwhelmed by the generosity of the donors.

We left at 11:30 to move to St Joseph Kangethe Primary School in the slums of Kabera. 500 children were dressed and ready for us to start. We watched as they raised the flag and sang their national anthem.

The teachers and Rotaract were invaluable in making the distribution smooth. The music teacher had the children, who had received their bedkits, sit and create music by using water bottles to hit the mattress. The energy in the air was palpable.

Afterwards we visited with two families who had a child receive a bedkit last year. Both young ladies talked about getting better grades, not getting malaria, and the change in their lives, their gratitude to SCAW and God for looking after them.

Team Kenya 2018
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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Kenya: Smiling Faces

We left Nairobi at 6:30 and after a 5 1/2 hour drive to the beautiful North Rift Valley we reached a school outside Narok where 890 children were waiting patiently. They were separated into two groups, those who were already dressed and waiting for their bedsits and the other children who were looking on. The school also has 250 kindergarten students.

The bedkits had been all assembled and ready to go. Before we began three groups of children performed doing Maasi song and dance.

Then we were ready to fly into operation before the rain came. There was lots of help from the teachers, the Pastor and three military officers. The picture taking and distribution went very efficiently which was to our advantage due to the impending rain and possible road flooding.

We did have time for one of the team to blow bubbles and balloons with the children who didn't receive bedkits.

The school and community were very thankful to our donors for the gift of bedkits. We left 500 happy children.

Due to inclement weather we arrived back in Nairobi after 9 hours. Despite these delays we were happy to have seen such smiling faces who were so proud of their bedkits.

Team Kenya 2018
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Friday, 9 March 2018

Kenya: Mattresses

After breakfast at the Sikh Temple Makindu  we went to the nearby school to deliver 100 mattresses which hadn't been ready the day before. There were 400 day and boarding students. Again some of the students were in a handicapped unit and there was a quite new computer lab which was used by students Grades 2-8.

We stopped at a coffee/gift stop for a meeting with a headmaster of a school that had received bedkits two years ago. Through the discussion Clarence was able to learn that the student's marks had improved the first year and their days of absence due to illness had decreased. The second year there was not the same improvement because they had lost 50 days due to a leaky roof and illnesses because of their well contamination.

After lunch we drove into Nairobi to a new industrial area to visit the factory which manufactured the mattresses. It was a very interesting tour of a modern, well run facility. The production manager is a Chemical Engineering graduate of Lakehead in Thunder Bay. The 229 employees make all types of mattresses including high end coil and pillow top and have a hard time keeping up with orders.

An interesting day with a long drive and looking forward to breakfast at 5:30 as tomorrow we go north.

Team Kenya 2018
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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Kenya: Finding the Shade

We left at 7 am today and arrived in Makindu four hours later. Once we were out of "the jam" in the city streets, it was a pleasant drive with interesting views. There were herds of cows and goats, sheep, families of baboons, mango orchards and vast areas of what seemed to be reforestation. A bustling marketplace was in full swing along the highway.

We arrived at the Gurudwara Sikh Temple compound where 500 bedkits were stored. Then we walked accross the street to the Siku Temple Hospital grounds where the children from four different schools were waiting patiently.

The temperature increased as we set up the bedkit display. This was turning out to be the warmest day so far. Team members were happy we didn't have to deal with rain but concerned for the children having to wait in the heat of the day. We used all the shade we could find to protect them and and distributed bottled water.

We had three groups of 50 children in a photo, a few smaller numbers, then about 20 groups of 10.

It was a delight to see them on their way back to school for a warm lunch, with their bedkits.

Team Kenya 2018
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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Kenya: A Sunny Day With Many Smiles!

Today we gained an extra half hour sleep as we did not start our travels until 7:30AM.

We had a short drive to our distribution site at Day Spring School in Nairobi, where children and their families were waiting.

We distributed a total of 502 bedsits today. After three distributions dodging rain,

today we were blessed with sunny weather and of course many smiling faces.

Following the distribution the school staff treated us to tea and snacks and we were entertained by children who had received bedkits.

The girls sang and the boys danced, sharing with us their talents and culture.

We then travel to a Government school for over 900 children in grades 1-8 with a specialized unit for 120 children with cerebral palsy (CP). This unit was started about four years ago. The children are transported to school by day and once there they are taught by four teachers, eleven care attendants and six physiotherapists. They are integrated with regular classes in accordance with their academic abilities. Their peers also help them with activities such as snacks. The staff here were so very positive and cheerful with all the children. This was a very emotional experience for all of us to see such physically, academically and socio-economically challenged children happy, integrated and well cared for. Here we distributed bedkits to 15 children with CP.

Team Kenya 2018
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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Kenya: Glimmers of Hope!

St Catherine's School is set in the slums of Mukuru. The school was built with donations from people in Ireland. One thousand and four hundred very poor children attend classes daily. The school is run by Sister Mary who has been devoted to this community for over 40 years. 

We delivered 500 bedkits which brought huge smiles and delight from the children. Malnutrition, AIDS, skin diseases, and burns are only a few challenges they live with. Gratitude spilled out with thank-you's and God bless you as they headed back to class with their bundle of joy. It is humbling to realize that one small gift can offer so much hope.

In the afternoon we delivered another 500 bedkits to Salama a primary school in the slum of Huruma.  Fifteen hundred children were schooled in 16 classrooms. We were aware there were no lights in the rooms. The children were crowded together where they laughed and did their homework.

The site was a challenge. We were met by a mass of children who wanted to touch us and be acknowledged. They pressed into our space and followed us into the school courtyard where we would set up the bedkit for the photographs.

Poverty has levels.  These children were very poor! Their clothing was under their uniform as it was protected like gold. Tattered backpacks held their belongings.  The children were shy, polite, and so excited and grateful for their new bedkit. As we drove out of the slums, we spotted the children carrying the kits home. And we were all grateful for being a small piece of their journey.

Team Kenya 2018
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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Kenya: A Challenging, But Successful Day!

Today was our first distribution in Gilgil. It was a three hour drive even on a Sunday and slowed by a major traffic accident. Luckily we were able to slowly detour around the chaos.

The distribution was at a home/school for rescued Street children run by Mary Coulson and named Restart Africa. Thirteen of her children are now in university and four at tech college, the high school students go off to boarding school but all 107 have a home there. Mary also had us back to her home for a delicious lunch in her gracious old home.

Mary also organized the 393 children from local schools to come and receive their bedkit.

After a challenging start 500 children went home happy with a bedkit.

On our way back to our accommodations, we stopped to see some children who two weeks ago had their orphanage destroyed by fire. A neighbour of Rotarian Mr. Darcy, Amanda, took all twenty children into her home until other accommodation is found. Donna had brought Izzy dolls and each child has a new comfort toy.

Team Kenya 2018
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Saturday, 3 March 2018

Kenya: Double Checking Bedkits!

Team Kenya 2018 arrived on time Friday night and we were met by two members of our hosts who were waiting patiently for us at the airport. As soon as we outside the airport building we noticed it must have rained heavily and stopped just before we arrived. Our host said they were thankful for the rain because the ground needed it badly. There was a drought in Nairobi with parched grass and prices increasing for vegetables and ground provisions.

On our way to our hotel we were all eager to see our new surroundings and experience the fragrances and the traffic we were told about months before. No one told us a zebra would greet us. This magnificent creation was waiting beside the road for our van to pass by, as if to say "karibisha" (welcome). The driver said zebras roamed throughout the country and are protected.

After travelling for more than twenty-four hours from Toronto with one stop in Zurich, we were happy to rest up and decided on a late breakfast today.

After a delightful balanced breakfast (with bacon), our team leader discussed outstanding items regarding our responsibilities for the following few days. We strolled around our beautiful home base and took photos.

Here is our location:

We met with eight members from different Rotary clubs, all very excited about our distribution.

A few new items were added to the bedkit but not included in the package already sorted in preparation for our visit. After dinner we all helped James and Mohamed add pencils and sharpeners to 500 newly manufactured pouches.

This year's bedkit is so exciting, we cannot wait to start our distribution. Breakfast is at 6:00 am tomorrow, then off to Gilgil!!

Team Kenya 2018
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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Kenya: On Our Way!

Team Kenya are on their way starting from left Clarance Deyoung (Team Leader),  Grace Wood, Donna Chantler, Judi Fenton, Lloyd White, Eileen Ste Croix and Tom Jacques (Assistant Team Leader). 

Stay tuned for more updates!

Team Kenya 2018
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