Saturday, June 30, 2007

JNMCC "Mercy" Home

Nancy is volunteering in Maseno, Western Kenya, right now with our hosts JNMCC, an orphanage set up by Edward Buyengo. I get a huge amount of perspective reading volunteers experiences and would like to share it.

AVIF has put JNMCC in touch with Nancy and she is there with them now getting other people involved .. this is what I wanted AVIF to be able to do. We are a success already. With the help of Liz Ward, I am working on AVIF's growth so we can receive funding and so help financially but its inspiring to know we can help even when we have nothing.

Some of the information here is both sensitive, personal and
confidential so has been removed, but the remainder will hopefully provide some perspective.

Kindest regards

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:     Mercy Home
Date:     Sat, 30 Jun 2007 01:47:27 -0700
From:     nancy heffernan

.... There are many people here that have to live away from home. ....[JNMCC] have 13 girls in the house and  24 girls who still live with what family remains. They [JNMCC] pay for the 24 girls uniforms, clothes as needed, and school supplies and lunch money and sometimes medical. They pay the same for the 13 girls in their own home. ...Sometime ago, volunteers started coming a little and they have helped, along with community people. The last volunteers were last summer. ....There is no wasting of money here. There is a list of 40-50 children wanting to be helped and they come and sit and wait .. to see if they can stay. Most parents have died of AIDS, some of TB or malaria. ...... [names removed] have a mom who is dying of aids and I am going to ... visit her- they have 2 sisters and a brother at home with the mom.  They
[JNMCC] help those children too. The reason they have those girls is they were the top of their classes and are now changed girls who could take on the world with their drive, determination and intelligence, therefore making Kenya, and the community a better place. And that is the goal of the Mercy house.

Girls are told it is their responsibility to do well in school and care for each other and all. They thrive and laugh and help each other and  take turns cleaning, cooking, washing and helping each other and around the house. They are up at  5:15 (high schoolers at 4 to start the fire and get tea and leftovers ready.) They sing these incredible songs - so African I love it and then have a short prayer and start their day- They leave by 6am to 6:45, depending how far their school is- they go to many schools- and return at 4:30- the youngest of 10 and 11 years old - or 6:30.
They take turns filling the kerosine lamps - often if late, using my headlight ... so cute! Then they start the fire, cut the vegetables in their hands, no cutting boards, as they sit on the "patio" outside of the kitchen.They go to church on Sunday and go to the different ones of the girls home churches. The girls visit home and their family, if one can come and visit. It is amazing to see these girls and how they are and how their family is so poor and so different.....

Friday, June 29, 2007

A new eBay for Charity listing for AVIF - LIVE EARTH tickets

Many thanks to "Henrydoe" and MissionFish :
 A new listing has just been posted on eBay to benefit AVIF.
This listing is onsale now on eBay.
eBay for Charity Listing: X2 TICKETS TO LIVE EARTH
Donation Percentage: 20.0%
Seller: henrydoe
This is possible through

The main Live Earth website is here, 7 July 2007
New York

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wishlist for Summer 2007

On the advice of Nancy, currently in Maseno, Western Kenya, at the Jehovah Nissi Mercy Childrens Centre, here are a few items you might consider bringing to each of our hosts.

Items can be purchased cheaply in Nairobi or brought from home and all are relatively small :
  • Solar Mobile/cell charger (the whole group could share the cost then donate to your host)
  • Simple diaries for the older children
  • Big bottle of Advil / Nurofen for common cramps/ headaches (esp for the older girls during periods)
  • Spiral notebooks, pens
  • Umbrellas - the kind that fold up small - "it rained/poured the other day and the children all just got soaked with only thier sweaters"
  • Rubber bands for holding up school socks - "can't find any in market)"
  • Simple cloth book bags
  • Toothpaste
All these items are easy to carry and much needed. Many thanks to you all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Security issues

In answer to concerns of a volunteer in relation to recent killings in Nairobi (sect killings) ....

.. these occurrences happen in Kenya a lot and will possibly get worse as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer .. hence the need for our work in providing sustainable development.

Kenya is a high risk area, though developed far more than its relative neighbour Darfur.... AVIF will catagorically state that we cannot guarantee your safety 100%, neither can the United Nations, as they advise here on their website

All AVIF can do is our utmost for your safety, and give you plenty of information and advise you to use common sense and abide by our advice. Volunteers travel all over the world every day. Taking a risk is part of living, or you will never get to experience life other than in your home town or country.

No insurance policy in the world can protect you from the ravages of poverty. If you truly believe the risks are too high then please do not take part in AVIF's onsite volunteering. It would be a shame to travel all that way only to be worried every day for your safety. I know many people who have lived and brought their children up in Kenya. Nairobi is like any city in a developing country with sharp contrasts between wealth and status. Some Kenyans will obviously be angered when a tourist walks past wearing jewellery worth more than their life's earning potential .. we simply have to fully understand what we are doing in Kenya and be extremely sensitive to the situation.

Most people are good, hardworking, honest people, some aren't. We use our common sense, stay in groups and heed the advice and hospitality of our hosts. Please remember that rural life is far different to urban. People do not have the harsh realities of todays world thrust in their faces all day long and are open to sustainable development.

Please add any comments, this is an important issue and one we take seriously, but not enough to stop progress. The world needs risk-takers like AVIF volunteers.

Kindest regards
Alison Lowndes

Monday, June 25, 2007


The UK (Yorkshire especially) is having an unprecedented lapse in Summer conditions !
However, if this persists you will at least be acclimatised as the Kenyan winter has begun, temperatures today are around a similar 11 celcius. Don't forget to pack fleeces !