Zuri Watoto Wote

Preparations, Donations, and Communications……

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Nyumbani, poverty in Kenya by Lynn Ouellette on 01/09/2012

On the road in Kenya

Well, it’s only 10 days before we leave and the excitement is mounting… and so is the pressure to get everything done before departure. I have to say that it’s hard to concentrate on all that needs to be done here when my thoughts keep drifting to Kenya and the email communications about planning are flying fast and furiously through cyberspace. This post will be a potpourri of things to share that may not seem necessarily that connected, but that is a reflection of my whirling brain……

  •  Amongst the email communications was one that just came from Jen and the group of KEST travelers who are currently in Nyumbani Village with the “translation” provided by Lloydie:
    “it’s HOT, and the water taps keep going out (and the showers at the convent don’t work anymore). Pack lots of sunscreen, bug spray, and baby wipes. Oh, and some locks for the doors – we all have singles in the guest house, and John (the cook) didn’t have enough to go around.”
    Translation… “it’s HOT, water is questionable so take a long shower before we leave for the village, we will have drinking water with us, bring the recommended items above , and ESPECIALLY a pad lock just in case it is needed. Plan to leave the lock behind so they will have enough for future visitors. We do not have our lodging assignment yet. It will either be in the convent or the guest house but either way, it seems like there are NO showers… pole sana, TIA… This IS Africa!
  • These e-mails made me smile. You have to have a sense of humor about such things and no where else on earth would I voluntarily put up with HOT and no showers! Aaah life in Nyumbani Village!! There’s nothing like it to make you appreciate the smallest creature comforts like a shower, not to mention cold water to drink, a way to cool off in the heat… And though water may be in short supply I’m sure that there is plenty of ugali that staple food of maize made porridge that sits like a brick in your belly (your favorite, right Lloydie?!) However, there will also be ample Kenyan hospitality seeped in Kikombe culture with singing and dancing and smiling from children and grandmothers alike since the village, with its simple ways, is a very magical place.  And at the end of the day, you get to be mesmerized by the most star filled sky you’ll ever see.

Under the tree canopy in Nyumbani Village

Dancers--from children to grandmothers--of Nyumbani Village Photos by Karen Orrick

  • One of my donors was also asking about whether or not she could specifically give to the Women 4 Women Initiative,  but that is in the early stages of development and not quite ready for specific donations yet. Lloydie’s reply as an alternative was “ I think the best plan is for you to decide which community you want to help… Nyumbani Village for mattresses (they just admitted 36 new orphaned grandchildren and 4 orphaned grandparents in December), or the Maasai for the school food program (porridge every day at school for lunch, for some their only meal)”.  Although I am very much aware of the need in Kenya the thought of the school food program providing the Maasai children with their only meal of the day is a very sobering thought. And the fact that 36 new children and 4 new grandparents have been admitted to Nyumbani Village is a reminder of the increasing need and number of AIDs orphans and the elderly who have lost their children upon whom they would have relied to care for them.  The village has really grown–the last figure I heard was close to 800 orphans are living there. I’m not sure what the current count is, but I will find out.

Maasai Children

  • About donations–these are the things I’m bringing to Kenya to donate guided by a list of needed items and anything that is not monetary has to fit in duffels to go onboard the airplane with me. Somethings like underwaer and socks and medical supplies are always needed. Other things, like matresses, not to be stuffed into duffels, but rather purchased once there, are new on the list. Having reached out to family and friends and done some special purchases of my own, the gathering seems to be going quite nicely. I also had the opportunity to go to the warehouse for Mid Coast Hospital last week where supplies and goods are stored that are no longer being used at the hospital, but are ready for anyone wishing to take them to third world countries. I met a very nice young man there who was traveling to the Dominican and also gathering supplies. As we looked through all the storage areas and came across things that would suit our purposes we both got increasingly excited and started to say “This is just like Christmas!” I gathered gauze and band aids and wound cleaner and ace bandages and slings and ……  Now I have to get all the donations in one place–from my office, the car, my son’s car, various places in the house–and pack them in 2 duffels that weigh each less than 50 lbs.  A Houdini-like task even without the mattresses–this is the magic that begins before you leave for Kenya–well a piece of it anyway!

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