Sunday, July 5, 2009
Don't know if you have heard or not but it's time for me to move on. It's a sad time for me but the right time to go. Jeremiah, the new director, is in Maai Mahiu and we have been working to transition him to the new role. I am sad to leave. We have built a family within MM for CTC. I have another week and then leave on the 12th of July back to San Francisco. I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for following the craziness in Kenya and supporting with both words and donations. I have been constantly humbled by all your support and love THANK YOU!!!!
Yesterday, we had a going away party for me in Maai Mahiu. Everyone connected with CTC was invited. Was so amazing to see all the children, women and community come out to say goodbye. It was hard. Hard to say goodbye to so many that I love dearly and have worked with daily to make something so good in Maai Mahiu. I know that Jeremiah is going to do a fabulous job and have so much admiration for him coming back and wanting to be part of his community. For those of you who do not know. Jeremiah was the manager of the big orphanage in Maai Mahiu who Zane , our executive director, first came to know and eventually gave CTC the opportunity to come into Maai Mahiu. We built the polytechnic school at the orphanage. Shortly after that Jeremiah went to the States to get his masters. He returned some weeks ago to run CTC in Maai Mahiu. It's always been the goal of the organization to have Kenyans manage CTC in Kenya. And we are there. I leave with a goal completed and CTC in good hands.
Thank you again for all your support and following this blog. Soon it will be over and my life will move in a different direction.. I hope to see you all very soon and catch up in person!!!!!!
I was sent a few pics from Sarakazi from when they came to introduce the children to face painting . Thought you would like to see them. There is one with Ferny who runs the program. Also, with George hanging before his big introduction on the guitar. And finally a drawing of the clown by Beth. What a great artist!!!!! It basically looks just like him.
We recently held the 4 annual medical mission to Maai Mahiu. The team is lead by Dr. Steve Segebrecht. This year CTC hosted 23 medical professionals (doctors, nurses and students) at the government clinic. The team was made up of specialists that included Ear Nose and Throat, Internal Medicine, Optometrist, Dentist, Pediatrics, OBGYN and a full working pharmacy. The clinic is held for 4 days. It's all free to the community and as you can imagine free medical treatment by western doctors is VERY popular. We have learned our lesson from the past. We cannot leave it open to whomever shows up. So the week before there are two days of registration. Each patient is given a color card for a specific day and medical problem. Red being Monday, Green Tues. etc... The total allowed to be seen for each clinic is decided on by the doctors before they arrive. That way we can manage both the flood of people and make sure the doctors are not overloaded. This year saw all clinics full to capacity. We even were able to register all patients in one day...no need for a second. What was interesting this year is the system is so efficient now that the doctors were actually finished early each day. In the past the doctors worked until the end of the day and still did not see all patients. Now we can add patients for the coming years.
We also invited the VCT (volunteer, counseling and testing) HIV group from Kijabe hospital. This is the same program that CTC will be running out of our office as we have now signed an agreement with the Hospital. Maai Mahiu has some of the highest HIV rates in all Kenya with over 20% but probably closer to 30%. Truck towns breed problems. The govn't places the HIV rate of all Kenya at 6%. We saw a record number this year, 350. There were some tough times with this area this year. We saw two different mothers come in with their 1 year old babies wanting to be tested. And both mother and child were positive. It breaks my heart to see young ones who will have such a hard life ahead. Also, there was a woman who came to be tested who had not left her house in two weeks because her husband had beat her so badly. She wanted the two to be tested as she suspected they had HIV, but when he found out he flipped out on her. Her face was still swollen and eyes black and blue. It was additionally sad because her test came back positive. Now she had to go home to her husband and tell him. Generally, women do not cheat on their husbands in Kenya. The men are the ones who go out and sleep with other women, come home and then give HIV to the wife. These are not the bright side of the week but knowing we did test so many gives these people the chance to get into the program and receive both counseling and ARV drugs for free. So all in all it's a win even with positive results.
Often education is the biggest need within Maai Mahiu. For the second year we had an education area where grad students worked with individuals on family planning, pre natal care and nutrition. So many of the basics in the West that we take for granted simply are not known or followed in Maai Mahiu. Washing hands, baby care, balanced diet, cooking methods etc. The grad students did a fabulous job on educating and also gaining a lot of current information that we can use for the future to design our community health programs
We also saw one baby born during the clinics. It's always amazing how when a baby is born during the week all other clinics seem to stop. No matter how seasoned the medical staff are they always see a new addition to this crazy world as a wonderful reason to stop and watch. The government officials also came to see the clinic in work and were very impressed. It's good to have the big boys on our side. Total the doctors saw 900 patients and dolled out a huge amount of prescription drugs. The pharmacy ran smoother than ever. Not overwhelmed like past years. This year they started a new policy of trying to supply de-worming medicines to entire families. This is a major medical problem for the community. One Masaai man came to get the drugs for his entire family. 24 in total. His 3 wives, himself and 20 children. Yes 20 children. I guess we in the U.S. can never complain about our big families. Can you imagine 20 children?
I wanted to take this moment to thank all the medical professionals for their hard work. I was so impressed by how tirelessly they worked. Humbled really!!!! So thank you again and look forward to all the future medical programs for CTC and Maai Mahiu in the years to come.
As you all know the garden at Ngeya was built and planted about a month ago. We are now seeing the garden grow and grow. It seems daily the cabbage, onions and kale are growing into fine young members of the community :) Unfortunately, still a month or more away from reaping any produce. All the vegetables will be used to supplement the children's lunch. Plus the clubs at Ngeya are managing the garden to learn hands on about farming.
The Kansas State team is now in Maai Mahiu and they have worked weeding, building sack gardens and with the help of the children, the first organic compost heap. We use a solution called EM. Basically it's a natural bacteria that you add to the layers as the heap is built. By keeping the pile moist the natural bacteria breaks down the waste into compost in a third of the time as normal composting methods. So instead of waiting 3 months it takes apprx a month for use able compost. This bacteria also creates a very healthy, clean compost that will allow for better yields and healthier produce. And it's organic :) The children had such fun with K-State learning about composting and getting hands on experience building their first pile. The children are all part of the environmental club at Ngeya and are also the ones who manage the garden on a daily basis. Rocky divided them into small groups. Each takes care of a row of the garden and a few sack gardens.
We also planted 100 more trees at Ngeya with K-State. This brings our total to 200 trees at the compound. Because of the goats we have to surround the trees with thorny bushes until they grow to a level out of reach of the pesty goats. Like our saying goes "Kill a goat, save a tree". Rocky was talking about fencing off this area and creating a mini park within the school. We will see how that goes, fencing is expensive, but it's good to hear our employees wanting big things for the community. Without the help of K-State and the children at Ngeya we could not have completed the garden, compost pile and trees. So THANK YOU!!!!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Last week we saw the team of 9 from our partner DWC take part in a fun filled day of work and play at Good Shepherd. This also happened to be the day when Sarakazi was at both Malaika Kids and GS. The plan was for the team to arrive in the AM and finish two of our mini projects for CTC. First, we needed the girl's dormitory painted. We painted about a year ago and as we all know with this many children it can get dirty fast. Second, we had to finish the kitchen. Needed to put up more iron sheets, install the door and windows and finish off the roof. So the team split up into two groups. They were so FAST. By mid day they had completed both just for the arrival of Sarakazi.
The team then took part in the face painting, skits and games with the children. It's always so fun to watch the volunteers bond with the children. It's some of the most touching and rewarding work we do. Thanks DWC for making the day so great for the kids at Good Shepherd. And always thanks to Sarakazi for bring so much laughter.
Last week, CTC had the pleasure of hosting Sarakazi. They are now coming the first Wed. of every month. As most of you know, the organization supports performing artists like clowns, jugglers, acrobats etc. Basically, they come to both Malaika Kids and then Good Shepherd to spread the love and smiles. They are truly wonderful to watch. This past week was face painting day. I know these children have never seen face paint let alone had it done to them. It was so much fun to watch the children stand so still as the boys created mini masterpieces on their faces. Then as the other children saw what was painted it generally broke out in huge laughter and smiles. We even brought their mothers from Malaika Moms in to see the children. Again, they thought it was hilarious. Was a good bonding moment. The children sharing a unique experience with each other and their Moms.
We had a guest appearance from a very famous guitar player that day also. George or otherwise known as Batman!! When the guitar was pulled out all he wanted to do was play. So he quickly sat down and started strumming. As he did all the other children started singing a song they know so well to his playing. Then the ladies joined in and so did the rest of us. He was so serious but what do you expect from a young prodigy. He seemed to me a mix between Hendrix, Santana and Batman of course :)
These children love music and we are trying to support that as much as possible. One area someone out there might be interested in is I'd like to get a guitar for the kids. Let me know if you would like to donate for a guitar. I need to find out prices locally. It would be a great addition to the burgeoning band.
I have included a bunch of pictures of the day. And thanks again to Sarakazi for making the day truly fabulous. I know it worked because by the end of the day the children were truly pooped. Exhausted from a long day of fun!!!!!!