Zuri Watoto Wote

Returning to Kenya…again.

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Giving back, HIV in Kenya, Kenya, Nyumbani, Tuko Pamoja by Lynn Ouellette on 01/11/2016

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I cannot believe its been nearly a year since my last post. Despite the lack of writing, Kenya has been very much on my mind, our Kenyan friends have been very much in my heart, and the bond with  my fellow volunteers has been as strong as ever. Although I haven’t traveled to Kenya since last year, the work of Tuko Pamoja has been quite active and it has been a very successful year with many events to sell the women’s  crafts. We also had the joyous and truly fun-loving experience of welcoming Justus to the U.S. this fall.

The opportunity to come to the states was something Justus as well as his family never imagined happening. However, those of us who live here were not any less excited to welcome him as warmly as he has welcomed us in Kenya. Lloydie planned a very full itinerary for Justus  (imagine!) and kept him busy with teaching at the sister school to Nyumbani, taking in the sights in Washington D.C., and best of all, a reunion for KEST volunteers at the Little Squam Lake  in New Hampshire. There were many hugs, happy reunion tears,  much laughter, and a poignantly difficult time saying goodbye to him at the end. I was lucky to avoid the goodbyes in knowing that I would see him in Kenya in January.

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Justus adding a pin for Kenya on the world map at Castle in the Clouds

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Justus had an opportunity to experience real New England: lobster rolls, local history and charm, the mountains and lake, a full Thanksgiving Turkey dinner, s’mores (yes, that are really sweet, Justus!) and a lot of teasing about our New England version of Safari and whether or not we would have a real moose sighting.

Justus will welcome us in Kenya in just a few days; we will be excited as always since he is one of the people there who is like family on the other side of the world.

I was fortunate to co-host with Judy Marblestone the final Tuko Pamoja event of the season at the Frontier Cafe for the forth year. The staff there is very supportive of what we do, the set up is perfect and we have the opportunity to do a presentation in the theatre which is part of the cafe.

 

It was an extremely successful event, not only selling many of the Kenyan women’s crafts but also getting to tell their stories, which is equally important. It was also another great reunion opportunity for some of the other New England KEST volunteers to gather.

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After event gathering at Judy’s

However, we are nearing the close of the great preparation, the efforts which go into the planning of events in Kenya and transporting donations.IMG_6711

This is our itinerary for this year; the infamous color-coded schedule prepared by Lloydie, masterful organizer, fearless leader, sometimes task master, and now dear friend to all of us, and well known to half of Kenya! it will as always be a packed trip with visiting the Nyumbani Children’s Home, the Tuko Pamoja sites, the PCDA Maasai community, Nyumbani Village and more. There are only four of us traveling this year, but each is working on a special project and all will be participating in the Fourth Annual Women’s Workshop. We will all be welcomed in the warmest possible way as we are have all made numerous trips to Kenya before and are looking forward to being with our family across the globe once again.

I just received the Nyumbani Newsletter and in it was an article written by friend and fellow volunteer Kristen. Her words so resonated with my feelings that reading it brought tears to my eyes. She said it so well that I will share it.

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We begin our travel on Thursday, Lloydie,  Deb, Karen and I, and all have a lot to do before take off. But each year, the excitement mounts as we count down the days to being once again at our home and with our family in Kenya.

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My next blog post will be from Kenya, that beautiful country that runs through our blood.

11 Responses

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  1. Lloydie said, on 01/11/2016 at 2:58 pm

    Your blog made my day! Get us to Kenya! So ready to be there with Deb, Karen, you and JUSTUS! Thanks for keeping track of our adventures both in word and by picture. I think you have become the KEST historian! See you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/11/2016 at 7:10 pm

      Yes, get us to Kenya! OMG, it seems like more snags have arisen this year with the getting ready on my end (see my email about bank snafu). Wish we could skip this part and just beam ourselves there! But it’s going to be amazing, as it always is! Thanks for all of your hard work fearless trip leader and Soul Sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Tardiff said, on 01/11/2016 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for the update. I was just dusting my living room yesterday and was dusting my giraffe picture my husband Jeff bought last year (it was a card with a silver giraffe) and was thinking about the upcoming trip. I also cleaned out the woven basket I have too. Stray bird seed in my house…hehe..and little feathers. What talent I have displayed in my home. But what it stands for means more than the material pieces. I wish you all a safe and productive trip and also lots of smiles, hugs and probably tears too. I hope for many pictures too. Thanks for helping this troubled world a little at a time. Sincerely, Sharon

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    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/11/2016 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you Sharon. Hope you enjoy the blog and the updates. We have an another amazing year planned!

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  3. Megan Culp said, on 01/11/2016 at 3:23 pm

    Have a wonderful trip, Lynn….I will certainly be thinking of you all. Hugs to everyone….safe travels! Love, Megan

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mebarbieri said, on 01/11/2016 at 4:13 pm

    I know how excited you are for your upcoming trip but this post made it even more palpable. After Emma finally met Miss Lloydie at the TP event, I asked her if she had to choose (which I hope she won’t have to) between going to Kenya and going to China on a “service” trip, she said Kenya! I was dumbstruck as I know she loves her birth country very much. I think I’ll start calling Lloydie the “Pied Piper” of Kenya but I’m not sure what that makes you, Dr. Lynn. “Historiographer” as Lloydie suggested doesn’t do you justice, Lynn, for all you have done for me and my family, not the least of which is connecting us with Kenya, her people, Miss Lloydie, and a young lady named Hannah. Thank you, Lynn, and safe travels!

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    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/11/2016 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks Marie, for your comments and your generous support! Emma definitely needs to come to Kenya. She can deliver a personal hug to Hannah. I like the “historiographer” coined term–a history recorder and photographer in one! Lloydie certainly is the Pied Piper!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Barbara Dallas Sutton said, on 01/11/2016 at 4:21 pm

    Lynn, I got tears in my eyes reading your post, seeing the great photos, and hearing the happy anticipation in your voice about being back in Kenya. My heart goes with you, Deb, Lloydie and Karen. May you have joyful reunions there. It’s such a precious time for all those you gather with and for each of you. All blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/11/2016 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you Barbara! I know you will be following along with us, taking it all in. Love having your support!

      Like

  6. Judy Marblestone said, on 01/12/2016 at 7:27 am

    So beautifully written. It has been quite a year! Safe travels my friend. I can’t wait to “follow” you on this trip. Hugs to you all for a safe and amazing journey.

    Like


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