Monday, May 31, 2010

Leaning On Each Other

Happy 4th Birthday My Little Buddy!!
Hope your day is wonderful and eveything you wanted it to be...All day long I have thought about you and what you have meant to me, love, contentment, happiness.....Grandchildren really do bring a new meaning to making ones life complete. I love you so, so much and miss you terribly.

Today, the team is at a encampment giving basic medical care to several hundred Africans who were displaced two years ago, now living in a village for refuges. Even though it is hard for me to even imagine living like this the children take it all in stride. I know what our American children have, all the last and greatest gadgets, as well as parents creating fun that costs a great deal of money. Yet I see what these children have and do and it is a stark contrast. Children here are on their own at the age of 2-3, they wander through the camp with no direction or purpose, yet they have each other. Two little girls walking down the middle of the camp arm in arm, leaning on each other for everything. Older siblings taking care of several younger ones, while mothers work in the fields. Life seems a bit unfair, so much in US, so little in Africa. Some children don't have a prayers chance in hell from the start.

As we finished the day at the encampment village we all knew we'd brought hope and a little happiness to the women and children. The children were all given a rag doll, of which I am sure they will hold on to and cherish for years.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wall Washing Stations

Before going to Kenya this time, I had a goal to incorporate some type of hand-washing hygiene for the children at St. Catherine's. My thinking was to use it as a pilot program at the school and then possibly in the next few missions make it more widely used. Worms of all kinds cause so much illness in Africa, and seem to affect the children most often. Robbing them of life, learning and happiness. Even though AILC has a program in the medical aspect of the mission to treat everyone with vitamins and de-wormer, the de-wormer only last for 4-6 months. Then sadly children are re-infected at an alarming rate. Soooooo one of the purposes for me going back to Africa was to introduce classes to teach the children WHY, WHEN, WHERE and HOW to wash. I had made flip charts as visual aides, along with stickers, soap, and an original lyrics for song. WASH, WASH, WASH YOUR HANDS, MAKE THEM REALLY CLEAN...

All I lacked was the wash stations themselves. With the help of my husband, Buck who drew up some plans for me and the generous financial donations of family and friends I was off and running. I took the plans and my idea to a local welder in Naivasha, East Africa, paid him two hundred US dollars and he delivered five of the best looking wash stations I have ever seen. When they were delivered to the school I was busy with some of the village ladies. Deb one of team members came to me and said, Lauri, we need you in medical building asap. Thinking there was a medical emergency off I ran, there they sat the final product of my brain storm. There I stood with everyone clapping and me crying. I was reminded of a card my sister Jeannie had given me with money to help with my hand hygiene mission the card said, we are so proud of all you are doing in Africa.....I had accomplished my goal of five hand washing stations, appropriately name the WALL WASHING STATIONS!

To all those who helped me, I am so proud of you all for your part in me seeing this goal through and supporting me in a new passion Thank You...

Friday, May 28, 2010

We're Back!

Back at St. Catherine's school, owned and operated by AILC, was like coming home for several of us on Team May 2010. The school complex has expanded by a partly completed library/dispensary and living quarters for the teachers of the school. I am again amazed at the strict regiment of the Kenya school system, and am convinced that we Americans could learn several things about education from the Africans. It was great to see the children from three to eighteen again, it was also great to see their respect and love for education.

As we arrived all the children in different age groups had prepared a welcome ceremony for us, of which brought tears to everyone team member. Some songs sung in English, some in Swahili and some in French. All of the children speak several languages very fluently at a young age. There was one little girl who caught my eye, and just thinking of her now makes me smile. She has such a zest for life, a zest that was contagious for the team.

I was also reunited with my girlfriends, Elizabeth, Susan, Lucy, and Mary. It was like we had sat with each other just a few days ago, not more than a year. We laughed, cry and caught up on all that has happened over the past few months. My girlfriends amaze me! Their desire to provide for their children is no different than ours, but the obstacles are huge for them. Never before have they ever had a paycheck for more than about $5.00, they have no welfare system to fall back on if their children become sick in hard times. They are also faced with hard labor everyday just to survive. I admire their determination so much......Mothers are just mother no matter their race, color or creed......Only a mother would sacrifice what we do...only a mother.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Off Again

Honestly I thought my first trip to Africa would be my one and only. However, on that first trip I left something undone and I promised myself I would return to bring closure to a life long promise. Even though I had fulfilled that promise of not allowing anyone to die alone, I had to return a gift to a young African mother.

So on May 25, 2010 at 3:00am, TJ agreed to take me to the SLC International Airport to met the AILC Team. With 138 pound of supplies I pushed and pulled my way to the United counter to check in. It would take a car, a plane, and a bus to get us all to Nairobi and then on to Naivasha and the Rafiki Lodge. One of my favorite things about getting into Naivasha is a giraffe park and home of Karen Blixen, author of "Out of Africa." Each guest is greeted by Daisy the kissing giraffe, not something you see in Utah.

Whoa--what a LONG ride, the flight is twenty-three hours, but with the layovers in San Francisco and London it took us forty four hours to finally arrive on African soil. Not to mention two team members lost their passports, four members lost their luggage claims tickets and three member became ill during our travels.... At about forty two hours my patience were wearing thin, I really wanted to say for HELL sakes people get with the program, your mother isn't here to tend you! However, I didn't and probably best as I would be spending fourteen days with twenty six people I didn't really know.