Kenya Connection

2016 Kenya Mission Report

Gretchen and I put this report together. We know there is a lot we did not include, and some things are too hard to explain. So please enjoy and share.

On July 7th, nine Lincoln/Kenya Connection travelers flew out of Lincoln Municipal Airport on their way to Nairobi, Kenya, others from the Midwest and Ecuador joined us along the way. After 18 hours of flight, we arrived in Nairobi (without 18 of our Lincoln supply bags) and were taken by our drivers to the Methodist Guest House in Nairobi to spend the night. Early the next morning, we began our long road trip to Meru, stopping along the way for lunch at Trunk Tree Restaurant where monkeys waited to steal the food from our tables; a new experience. Seventeen of our bags arrived in time for us to begin our work on Monday morning.

Upon arrival at the Guest House in Meru, we had a short get acquainted time (14 others having arrived in Nairobi by circuitous routes), unpacked all of our supplies available, and had an evening devotion from Wendell before we prepared to spread out to four churches in the synod on Sunday morning.

Anne did a good job of lining up interesting and inspirational messages each evening. Six of us went to St. Stephen’s (Lincoln Trinity’s sister church), where we attended their worship, purchased chickens at auction, toured their expanded Day Care and met with a disabled group in the afternoon. Other team members visited other churches and were introduced during their worship. Each church we visited was given $100 U.S.

On Monday morning, we opened our first Medical Clinic at Kambiti Church. At the clinic, we assisted as we could in helping people, who may have walked miles, to get in que to be seen by doctors or dentists or for Aids testing. Anne, Teresa, Gretchen, Mitch and I began examining and distributing reader glasses and feminine pads. The school was right next door which made it convenient for those team members responsible to go there directly and begin working with the children and teachers. Twyla, Shurie and Nella were busy setting up the library with the books we had brought from the U.S., Sandy and Amy informed the classes and explained the hand-washing stations. Haze gave instruction on the care of the books and read to each grade, concluding with an exercising frenzy on the side. Jack, Jorge, Liz, Julie and David identified a garden plot, and along with students, cultivated, planted and fenced a garden, leaving instruction for the care and watering. Fruit trees were left to be planted by the school staff. The seeds, garden tools and fencing were provided by The Team.

The process in the five schools identified by Bishop Catherine were handled in much the same way, with libraries established, seeds and fruit trees planted, Haze leading dancing and exercise. The second day of clinics and schools were in a remote area with heavy red dirt. The two schools were very excited about gardens and fruit trees. They had a lot of manpower and the work went quickly with the Bartlett family, Jorge and Jack helping. Both schools were nicely managed and very welcoming.  Again, the washable sanitary pads and the reading glasses were a big hit. Teresa, Anne, Gretchen, Mitch and Greg handled this monumental task. This was the first year for distributing reading glasses and so rewarding when they could suddenly read their Bible. We distributed more than 3,000 glasses, but we wished that we had brought Visine or some other eye wash, to help them wash the dirt from their eyes. On the 15th of July, Pastor Karla, Rev. Brenda, Iris and Carole arrived, completing our Team of 27. They went right to work and were a wonderful addition to The Team. Pastor Karla led Seminars for the ministers and evangelists, taught seminarians at KeMU and preached at the Monday morning chapel at KeMU where Jorge played ragtime and jazz on their piano and Haze did an interpretive dance. Greg was able to spend time with Catherine and Jason, going over the value and depth of the gift of the computer and programs he had given the ministers last year. This was a wonderful contribution to the KAAGA Synod.

The Clean Water Team of Rotarians, led by Joe, Phil and Rich, had a full schedule each day and were able to get everything ready for Phase 3 of the Clean Water Project. They visited schools and evaluated the progress of those schools already installed with guttering and filtration systems and planned for those schools to be installed for the third phase. At this time, 58 of the identified schools have been installed, serving 19,000 children with clean water. The remainder of the schools will be completed before the end of next year; the funding is available. Phillip will be very capable at continuing this amazing research, money management and building great relationships Joe has nurtured over the past three/four years.

We were able to purchase and distribute 102 goats (51 with names) to disabled groups, single moms, women’s groups and new ministers in the KAAGA Synod. Also included were 45 pairs of rabbits and 400 chickens. The people receiving rabbits wanted only one and they would find their own mate, so that is how we ended up doing it. The many new groups we started with goats, chickens and rabbits were more than excited to start their groups with “Giving the Goat Project.” Each new group also received $100 U.S. to get started with their “Merry-Go-Round” (simplified micro-finance.)

Last year, each of the 58 Community Health Workers (CHW Volunteers) were challenged by Jan to see how they could multiply the 200 Kenya Schillings given to each.  On the last day, the CHW all came to the Guest House for a meal and to report on their progress. The reports were inspiring and many had multiplied their funds many times, so the Merry-go-Round funding is going well. On the same day, many of the Team spoke briefly to the group about the use of gray water, goat production, HIV/Aids, the use in a new way for common kitchen foods (Iris and Carole made banana bread out of ingredients found in our kitchen and distributed samples to the guests – a big hit), an idea for lighting their homes, scarf tying, gardening and others. The works were given neck ties, scarves and seeds as they left. It was a good day and everyone was involved in some way.

Greg kept track of all funds on a spread sheet, and after having paid all four clinic expenses, we had funds and medicine to provide for another clinic that would happen after we left. We purchased 25,000 deworming pills for all the children in the schools of the KAAGA Synod which will be distributed by the ministers/evangelists. Our four clinics served nearly 3,000 people with dentists, and HIV testing, along with four doctors and three pharmacists dispensing free medication. As needed, members of our Team would help the pharmacists count and sack pills. Mitch was a great resource in this regard.

We contributed $500 to the Kambiti School to repair their tilapia pond, $500 to Murguma Primary for them to bring electricity into three classrooms and each circuit church with new First-Aid kits for a total of $480. We left the remaining reader glasses to be distributed by two of the Community Workers who had assisted us as interpreters and we had trained in the process. They will do well.

The Street Children had all their requests funded, six for driving school @ $100 each; three for business proposals @$50 each; ten more to go back to school with uniforms and fees- $560/person per year; money for some hot meals and the produce given to the Mission to be used for the children. An especially poignant event happened that evening as Gretchen and I were closing up the supply room. A young man, Jeremiah, appeared in the doorway. He was dressed in the best that he had and had a computer under his arm. He had found my name on Facebook and read that I would be in Meru. He was a Street Boy whom we had funded last year for a tech school and wanted to tell us how successful he had been and how grateful he was. He said we could use his example in the U.S. as the good that had been done.

The Bishop’s Pantry was totally depleted. We had allowed $1,000 for replacing supplies for the dry season, but we were able to triple that amount. We did many things that are not listed here, but needs were met as the needs were presented.

This Team of 27 gave 100% of themselves, helping where needed with their personal skills and talents.  Kaden and Alayna, the young children of Phil and Shurie, were also helpful and the most flexible kids ever. I felt we did all the good we could with all the talent and funds we had available. Thank you so much.