Zuri Watoto Wote

We have arrived…and had a busy first day!

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Giving back, Kenya, Responding to poverty in Kenya by Lynn Ouellette on 01/19/2013
Our donation duffels gathered at Nairobi airport

Our donation duffels gathered at Nairobi airport

Finally in Kenya!! We arrived late last night, close to midnight,  after being delayed nearly two hours on the plane in London while snow was falling and the plane was getting deiced and desnowed. We were lucky to be on the early side of that snowstorm as subsequent flights were cancelled and we were so ready to finally be here! We were greeted by the warmest of smiles, hugs and shouts of “Karibu Kenya!” by Justus, our favorite, always good-spirited driver who delighted us by telling us that he would be our driver for the whole trip. We had 34 suitcases and duffels to collect before heading off the Dimesse Sisters, our lodging, where we arrived well after 1AM and got just organized to get to bed.

 

Jen, Justus, and Lloydie

Jen, Justus, and Lloydie

After breakfast at 8, we reunited with Justus and were off to Nyumbani Children’s Home. We were headed to a meeting with Sister Mary Owens, the Executive Director of all the Nyumbani Programs, but of course met up with other staff and many smiling children and delivered many hugs along the way as we promised that we would be back all day tomorrow to spend time with the children. it is amazing to see ho much they’ve all grown!

"Baby" John who fell asleep in my lap last year

“Baby” John who fell asleep in my lap last year

 

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Deb high- fiving with a couple of little cuties

We met with Sister Mary to get an update about all of the Nyumbani Programs, to talk about various projects in which we will be involved, including the status of the chicken coop project and to talk about the plans for Tuka Pamoja while we are here. Tuka Pamoja is the company which we began to support the kenyan women artisans group who come from extreme poverty, the majority of which are connected to Nyumbani by either getting services through the Lea Toto programs catering to children who are HIV+ in the slum areas around Nairobi or by living in Nyumbani Village and being grandparents who are raising AIDS orphans. Sister Mary has been very supportive of Tuko Pamoja and the need to support the caregivers in addition to the children who are the primary recipients of support through Nyumbani. Following a productive conversation and pleasant visit as  always with Sister Mary, we were off to get ready for the first annual joint meeting between the U.S.  and Kenyan Boards of Tuko Pamoja.

Tuko Pamoja Board Meeting

Tuko Pamoja Board Meeting

 

Since this was the first time all of the U.S and Kenyan board members were together it was quite a thrill to be able to talk about how exciting it is that the first year of TP has exceeded our expectation in sales and enabled us to place an even larger order this year, to be planning a workshop for the women and to think long term about how to involve more women’s groups and to ultimately work towards helping the current women’s groups become self sustaining. There was a lot of excitement and synergy of good ideas in the air. We planned the Workshop for Women for next Saturday by working in pairs of one U.S. Board member paired with a Kenyan Board member of similar skills and I think we have a marvelous workshop planned! I got to spend some time with Lilian, yes, the counselor I usually work with at Nyumbani Village, and we came up with our portion of the workshop through which all the artisans groups will rotate next week—personal well being focused on self esteem, self care and nurturing, stress management, female identity issues, etc. The women will also have a chance to learn about finance and business, product development and marketing and much more. The goal of Tuko Pamoja is to help them have a sustainable income, but it  is also to foster resiliency, an investment in the future and hope, a positive identity and pride, and a strong sense of valuing themselves and being valued.  Its exciting and an honor to be part of this.

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10 Responses

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  1. Nyla Raven said, on 01/19/2013 at 5:00 pm

    I love being connected to your work in Africa through your words and pictures here. Thank you so much for sharing this and for your beautiful service to others there and here in Maine.
    LOVE to you…

    Like

  2. Kristen said, on 01/19/2013 at 7:36 pm

    I’m so happy to read that you have arrived safely and hit the ground running! (as if Lloydie would have it any other way) I can’t wait to read more! Karibu Kenya! xo

    Like

  3. lhadlockart said, on 01/20/2013 at 7:38 am

    I can feel your heart singing!

    Like

  4. Sharon said, on 01/20/2013 at 8:56 am

    Glad you all make it safely…So great to see the little ones and their great big smiles. And as the previous comment said, “I can feel your heart singing or hearts singing”… Sending warm hugs to you all and too the little ones. I would love to be able to read them stories, like a little gathering and see the expressions on their faces. Happy stories with happy endings and full of wonder.

    Like

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/21/2013 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks! the little ones are all doing well and adorable and today was amazing with meeting with the Tuko Pamoja women. Each woman with a unique story and we know we are really making a difference for them!

      Like

  5. Kristin Forsythe said, on 01/21/2013 at 11:02 am

    It’s so nice to be able to follow y’all’s adventures and see pic of my sisters adventures! Thanks!!

    Like

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/21/2013 at 2:17 pm

      You are most welcome! Your sister is just lovely and is having an incredible adventure. Sarah will have MANY stories to tell! Keep following as every day is packed full!

      Like


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