Sunday, November 29, 2009

October/November Pictures

*NOTE* Pictures do not format well when I link from smugmug - please click on the image to see the full picture. Thanks!

I'm finally starting to feel a tad organized, a bit more inspired to get some long-put-off projects underway, might even attempt to catch up on email! In the meantime, enjoy some pics of the projects and people that have been keeping me busy!

With Dan and Zeph (Zeph in hat, Dan seated next to Dennis, with lollipop). These are two former street boys who have taken some younger kids off the street and though they have very little to give/share, they have managed to enroll them in school and keep them with them. I love Dennis - he is a smart kid and quite endearing. When I chided him for eating his lollipop and how bad it was for his teeth, he joked, "but they're all ready rotten!" Sadly true, but that's not gonna get him down!

At the Joseph Waweru boy's home in Nakuru for my first visit of the year. I took 2 of the 3 computers my friend Jason donated (I'm using the 3rd one while my mac gets shipped to S. Africa for repairs!) and confirmed they'll have a secure set up to ensure the computers are protected from misuse and theft. The boys were very excited! I'd love to raise $200 to purchase a copy of encarta for kids for each center. If you can contribute $5, $10 or $25 towards this I would greatly appreciate it. The rest of their software needs, especially in terms of typing tutors, excel and Microsoft tutors, are being donated by my dad's good friend Jo-L Hendrickson of Individual Software. Thanks so much Jo-L, Jason, Shirley and the Orange Rotarians for making these opportunities possible for these kids!

Earlier in the month my roommate Katie and I joined Hurlingham Rotarian Ken Idwasi for a trip to his rural home near Kakamega Forest. Along the way we stumbled on a fundraising for a local church, and then visited a local school Ken's family has been supporting in honor of his late mother.

About a year ago, the current standard 8 students (8th graders) were all failing their national exam practice tests. With Ken and his family's help (in the form of salary support for a new teacher, provisions of sanitary pads and education to keep girls in school all month and a variety of other assistance) the students are now virtually all passing their practice tests. We attended a prayer meeting held the day before the actual national exam, met the proud parents of each student and treated them to a big lunch after the meeting.

Katie also led an empowerment workshop with the girls and we both discussed with them some of the changes they can expect in high school, the realities of the issues that until now they've only heard about but have yet to confront (drugs, alcohol etc.). They seem prepared and we were really impressed with the amount of sex-ed and STD-prevention they had already received.

This weekend I started with a Friday visit to a group of crafters I know in Thika. I'm working on connecting them to some groups in the U.S., and it was fun to be back in my element - talking production, talking prices - finding out the stories behind each piece.

Finally, yesterday some Hurlingham Rotarians and I visited the Mt. Olive Girls Academy in Athi River - a school that a group of Newport Rotarians have raised support for. We've been helping identify wholesale supplies including bedding and linens and furniture. So fun to see the new building and think of the girl's lives who will be fortunate to attend there! Huge thanks to Ken and President Remmy for all the help coordinating - and kudos to Kimberly and Sylvia in Orange County for all their work helping the school!

Blankets and towels and sheets oh my!

Tonight's Thanksgiving celebration was postponed until tomorrow due to a power outage this afternoon - but those pics will be here shortly!

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