Watoto Wote Wazuri

Dagoretti and Nyumbani Children’s Home

Posted in Uncategorized by Lynn Ouellette on 02/03/2020

 

From the Dagoretti group of Tuko Pamoja

 I cannot believe how much time has gone by since my last blog post, but I have either been too busy, too tired or too disconnected from anything, but very slow internet to make it possible to do a blog post. I’m usually much more prolific with my posts, but there just haven’t been enough hours in the day. 

We wound down meetings with our more local Tuko Pamoja women’s groups by going to Dagoretti at the end of last week. This is another impoverished area outside of Nairobi which is also a site of an outreach clinic for families of children who are HIV positive. Tribe anywhere in Kenya is always fascinating and I found these glimpses of children particularly delightful:

Because I know that that some people are new to reading the blog and some have not read it for a while I feel I should pause and just explain a few things. The Nyumbani organization has 3 different sites, the first of which was Nyumbani Children’s Home, an orphanage in Karen right outside of Nairobi and which was originally developed as a hospice to care for children with HIV and AIDS. With advances in care and treatment with antiretroviral drugs, children infected with the virus now can lead nearly normal lives and become adults and productive members of society. There is no longer a need for hospice care. All of the children at Nyumbani Children’s home are both orphans and have the HIV virus. The second site of the Nyumbani Programs in the Lea Toto outreach clinics in the impoverished areas around Nairobi (here the word we use to describe these areas would be slums, but they are more politically correctly referred to as compromised or impoverished communities in Kenya.  Here families living in poverty with HIV positive children are offered medical, nutritional and social support. It is in these areas that Women’s Self Help Goups, a common social structure in Kenya have developed to help provide support and meet the mutual financial needs that could not be developed individually. These are the groups which make up Tuko Pamoja, the socially conscious LLC which was developed in order to help these women to have a sustainable market for their goods in the U.S. The third site is Nyumbani Village, an entire village built on a thousand acres in rural Kenya solely for the purpose of meeting the housing, social, medical, and educational needs of Kenyan orphans rescued from desperate conditions after the death of both parents, most often to AIDS. I will say more about Nyumbani Village later. Our visit to Dagoretti was to meet with one of these Women’s Self Help Groups with whom we have had a multi year relationship. Once again it was to pick up their order, talk about product development, as always to share a snack, and most importantly to catch up and strengthen the bonds of friendship and our ongoing relationships. One of Deb’s former students from the Children’s Home met us there with her new baby, a little girl whose name is Demitri and middle name is Deddearmon (all one word) after Deb who has been a big support.

Karen has been very involved here and in other sites in working on budgeting, saving, developing financial skills, developing entrepreneur, and even in helping to arrange some small loans for those wishing to begin businesses.

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Megan and Karen

Over the weekend, we also had a chance to reconnect with some other good friends who we have developed over the years, such as Maggie at Amani, the woman’s workshop and storefront where all the goods are made by refugee woman. And of course, we went to Kazuri beads, a wonderful workplace that employs women form the impoverished areas (slums) like Kibera, which pays them a good wage and provides on site medical and child care. We like to support these socially conscious local businesses. Here we not only support the business by shopping form their beautiful handmade clay jewelry and pottery, but also visit the workshops where we are always greeted with very spirited singing. 

The next day, we visited the Children’s Home and were able  to see the wonderful children’s faces and how they have been growing so much when we went to church with them. Going to church in Kenya in general, and at Nyumbani Children’s Home in specific, is always a very different experience than it is in the U.S.  There is always wonderful singing, drumming, incredible rhythmic tiny dancers, and a sermon directed solely toward the children. It was a quick visit to Nyumbani Children’s Home this year as we were off to Nyumbani Village 

5 Responses

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  1. mrwimbles said, on 02/03/2020 at 10:01 am

    Love the pictures and video. I wish I knew what they were singing. (understand the language). Thanks for sharing .

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrwimbles said, on 02/03/2020 at 10:02 am

      P.S. What a beautiful little baby. So peaceful.

      Like

  2. peggybrick said, on 02/03/2020 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Dr. Ouellette,
    I am so delighted to read your news from your most recent trip to Kenya. It’s like a breath of fresh air to hear of the joy they show for life itself. It’s great to feel a connection to you and the important work you do for the ladies and children in this country. Please keep writing!
    Peggy Brick

    Like

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 02/03/2020 at 9:40 pm

      So nice to hear from you. I just posed about the Day of Remembrance. I had written Benjamin Brick on one of the luminary bags.

      Like

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 02/07/2020 at 6:17 am

      I tried to reply while in Kenya, but I’m not sure it went through. Internet is always unpredictable. Thanks so much for letting me know you read the blog. So wonderful to hear from you. I wanted to be sure you knew that I wrote your son’s name on one of the luminary bags. I always think of the other mother’s I know who have lost sons and want to honor them and their sons too. I hope you are well.

      Like


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