Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Victory in Nakuru

After months of pain and heartache, the german sponsors of the Virginia M Buena Centre (VMB) in the Rhondda slums of Nakuru are pulling out. They can no longer ensure control of finances they have already contributed to Phillip Ndeta's "fund" so have ended the entire project.

All individual and corporate contributing sponsors are meeting on August 5th to prepare plans and schedules to get as many of the children housed or educated at VMB sent to boarding schools in another area of Nakuru, where they hope ANOTHER children’s village will be built.

Existing funds, luckily not lost to Phillip Ndeta yet, are sufficient to buy a plot, a
n international NGO is being established in Kenya “Live and Learn in Kenya International”.

A volunteer house is also planned so the children and community can benefit from your help 365 days a year.

I wish to congratulate the most courageous, bold, strongest and kindest lady I've never had the chance to meet personally yet, Debra "Brique" Zeiner, Director of LLK.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Google's satellite imagery

Just in case you weren't familiar with this yet, go to this link for images of the Kisumu road to Maseno. You can put in any search terms and the imagery will zoom in / zoom out, go to map or satellite and give you a taste of where you're going [or for some of you] already are.

Child genius

Of course I'm biased, but its last day of school today, last day at primary for my daughter, they all brought their books home ..
From my son's literacy book, he wrote a poem based on the [global warming] weather in UK for past few months :

Wet Play
It's a wet play day today
The children are playing ping pong
A cow bell going ding dong
The rain is pouring and the children are drawing

On the window the hail is tapping
and inside the children are chatting
No rugby, no cricket, no football or tag
Stuck in here with a smelly swimming bag
[!!!!! LOL]
Teachers note : Brilliant

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just a few things more ..

... Soap for body and washing, towels, toilet paper. Edward will take you to a supermarket where you can get it all if you want when you arrive. Also, the girls could use petroleum jelly or body lotions- big jars- toothpaste, they have at the supermarket- I was going to get things in Kisumo the day this happened and never got to.

They took Ksh3000 [USD45] - Edwards money so things are tight right now. Now, if ... someone had an old tape/cassette stereo system, that would be wonderful as they love to play their wonderful tapes- great music- theirs was one of those small boombox type ones with 2 separate speakers- he had one big speaker(which they didn't take) that he attached it to in the eating room. He has a big car battery to run it... the outlets are like England. I think he just has tapes- didn't see any CDs. They also had a small b/w tv that they rarely watched but it was taken too. Charging phones or cameras is a pain - [Matt has already purchased a Solio solar charger, make sure you bring charge leads] .. if you go to the internet in Mesano (hour walk) they are great and will charge it while you're there- Also Sister Flora and a couple of the teachers have electricity and could take it home for the night.  IMPORTANT: I am going to try and get the 6 solar pots that I didn't take with the cookers, ready for you guys to bring on the plane, as they really need them. Also 3 red towels I'm getting to give to Deborah, Susan or Sara, as they are being made into sanitary pads for the girls or women or anyone as they use rags when cant afford pads- which is most of time -   Thats it! geezz, I go on. N

Last blog from dear Nancy

Greetings to all, this is Nancy who was staying at Mercy Home.
I just wanted you to know that I think you will be safe if you are going to Mercy Home.
The community is up in arms.
The day after, the house had groups of community people coming in all day with condolences and prayers, as I walked the roads, everyone would stop and shake hands and give me hugs and say polay, polay, oh so sorry. Edward went with a retired police chief, who is a friend of Mercy and a neighbor,(of some small town-ha) to Luanda and Mesano - the two towns you can walk to - each less than an hour away - and they and the police are very concerned also.
Edward will have security there while you are there. I told him that if he didn't you weren't going to stay- which, of course he agreed.  
I decided to leave the day after and return to Nairobi due to my families concerns and I think the fact that I was the lone foreigner there. ....They are the most wonderful girls in the world. It is an incredible place and the community is so friendly and kind and funny. You will love them.
The girls were very worried that now the volunteers won't come and they are so looking forward to your coming!
Ok, my last day I asked the teachers at the school I worked at, the closest to the home, if they had a wish list and so they have written out a list.

1. first aid kit
2. library books/story books (grades 1 to 8th, which 8th must read at 6th grade level)
3. any stationary materials ( I still don't know what that is- papers, pens, ? )
4. any games, equipment, balls(I have seen only balls made from plastic bags or foam that they tie with sisal rope) 5. any science equipment, games and sports uniforms (?)
6. any teaching aids: cards, pictures, maps, charts (It was hard teaching about weather for example as they had no idea what a thermometer was, barometer, wind sock, etc. - the text books say to show them pictures of everything but they have no pictures and really no access to the magazines, books we have.
7. any cassettes, tapes videos for learning-(they have no electricity so not sure how they would use- didn't see any cassettes and even if they have one they never have money for batteries- meaning I guess, bring a machine and lots of batteries -ha) Half or more of the teachers in all of these schools in the community have no electircity either- they are my heroes!
8. any learning materials : paints, brushes, art supplies- I bought powdered paint in Kisumo and brushes (they have my 15 brushes-couldn't afford more) but the paper seemed really expensive. Its all these big sheets that when you cut one up you get 8 normal size pieces. Newsprint costs 8 sheets for 10 cents/ this thick white manila paper, 8 sheets for 30 cents- wish I had had tons of US regular construction paper that we use for painting.
Then, I collected bottle caps and any lids I could get my hands on via kids, soda bottles, etc.
9. Any other materials at your disposal.   

Ok, when you come, I would suggest that you get Susan (write this down)-Susan, works with Mercy Home and is the best, have her show you some schools before you sign up to work anywhere, and before you give away what ever you bring. There are many schools in the area and all are extremly poor and don't have electricity. My favorite is past Susans house, down the path , across the river on the log and up the hill- they seem to have a lot of science, very hands on teachers (not that the others aren't great too).
They will all be on vacation for the week following the 3rd of August(the last day), then they come back to study and prepare for the next term which starts the first of sept. Yes, you can be busy that first week anyway.  
Do bring torches and I used a candle in my room as they only have 4 lanterns I didn't want to take one - after the first week I stopped buying bottled water (until the bottle got dirty looking) and realized I could just fill it with the stored boiled water at the house. Main reason, what do you do with all that plastic when there is no garbage, recycling- they either burn it or throw out with the bananas- My guilt was always bad, each time I had to throw used batteries in the outhouse!

Oh, you'll have a grand time! Just don't expect to eat any good food- my favorite meals were the night we had beans and chapatis and the nights of rice- if I knew I would buy some avocados and mix it in- wonderful- this is not what I would normally say as favorite foods by the way. But I am really glad I was able to eat their food and not have special things- it made it more reality based.

My wish for the girls would be some milk products and fruit daily and some good breakfast food. But there isn't the money for that. I also think it will be nice if you do meet each other everyweek someplace. It will be a nice break.  Well, if you come, be ready to see another world and to have your heart really touched!  By the way, they took my digital camera with the best pictures- I am crushed. So I am hoping when you return one of you can send me some via email or post- I took tons with Susan and she said when you visit her house she will pose for you so you can get me some- her house is great- very basic and she is so open you can get her cooking on her 3 rock stove, the dung on the walls, the corn drying in her main room- great stuff! smiles. Plus some wonderful shots of the valley as you walk to Luanda! You see- Plus the girls cooking and cleaning and washing - oh. I'll stop. Enjoy! Nancy