Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Blankets for the Clinic

Today we went to the clinic to start the day off. 
Naomi and I by the clinic water tank
Naomi met us there to receive the blankets that Nancy Littlefield had sent over. I was very excited to bring them. On Friday mornings they give immunizations to the babies that have recently been born. There were many mothers present with her newborn babies. We distributed a new blanket to each one of the mothers that was there with her new baby. We also stayed to talk to Naomi and Joyce,her assistant, about the challenges of working in Ethiopia. The two of them work 24/7. They will deliver about 50 babies/month plus handle all of the other issues.

Mother's with their new blankets for their babies
I ask Naomi about the goat milk for the mothers with AIDS she said that they had four mothers on the program for a while but now they do not have any mothers on the program. I followed up a little bit more about the situation. It appears that the mammary glands do filter out the AIDS or the HIV virus so mother can nurse the baby and not give her baby AIDS. However other bodily fluids can transmit the aids to the babies. So they recommend that the mothers do not nurse their babies for more than six months.

There is a great stigma in the culture if the mother isn't nursing her baby. So there is pressure for the mothers with AIDS to continue nursing their babies later on. So if we have the goat milk then the mothers don't feel quite so much pressure to nurse the babies after the six month time frame.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kenya with Thrive Life


Jason, Lindsay, and Amy in Amsterdam after a long flight

I am very excited to go to Kenya again. This time I will be going with Jason and Lindsay Budge, and Steve and Amy Palmer, the founders of Shelf Reliance that has grown to be Thrive Life. Alan Silva from The Institute for Self Reliant Agriculture, SRA, will be going with us also. It is a wonderful group!

We started our journey learning another lesson about travel. Double check and make sure your names is exactly the same on your passport and your tickets. One of our group had her middle name listed on one and  her maiden name as her middle name on the other. They had to change the tickets which led to a long story that will probably be funny but now is just painful.

We added  to our group in Mombasa to complete our expedition group. We have Alan, Steve, Angela, Amy, Lindsay, Jason, Martin, and Leah
In Amsterdam we also met up with Alan for our long flight to Nairobi. Leah met us at the airport with John, our driver. The battery was dead on the car so we asked around until we found someone with "jumper cables" (they were really just two lengths of heavy wire that we held against the battery posts). After the car started the guy with the cables wanted me to pay him. I have learned to defer to my native counterpart who understands the culture and knows what is appropriate. Leah gave him about 300 Kenyan Shillings ($3.5) to share as he saw fit with the crowd that had gathered to help. It was one of those times that I wish that I understood the language. It appeared that some of them were discontent with how it all happened. I have helped dozens of people start their cars with jumper cables and have never accepted anything but thanks.
Amy points out that there isn't much room between the cars after the attendant has Leah park in a spot definitely to narrow.

We stayed at the Nayali Hotel in Mombasa. The parking attendant had Leah pull into a spot that only had about a foot on each side of the car. I had to crawl to the back seat to be able to squeeze out of the car. In spite of the parking attendants confusion as to how to turn the wheel Leah was able to drive in and then back out the next morning.

As I walked down to the beach passed the swimming pool, I was almost wishing that I had scheduled a few hours extra in the morning to relax at the hotel. It was raining but there were still several people enjoying the beach.

We had a very nice buffet style breakfast in the hotel. Marty and Angela from Aqua Culture without Frontier joined our expedition group. They will look at the water situation and give us recommendations on how to better utilize the water that is here. They also can give us ideas of using fish ponds in some of the areas.

Leah and Amy picked up Steve at the airport to complete our group. We should get the last of the luggage at the airport tomorrow. We know that it finally arrived in Mombasa. Travel tip #2: always put a change of clothes in your carry on in case your bags don't arrive when you do.We look forward to a great expedition in spite of a few set backs to start it off. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Water Cisterns for the Village School Children

The representatives from Thrive Life and I will be helping a school build a water cistern like the one in the picture. It captures the rain water from the school and gives them relatively clean drinking water, which is a huge improvement over their former routine of having the children walk a far distance to a pond to get very dirty water.

A large water cistern that collects water from the roof of the school when it rains.
This was installed in a village thanks to a school in Ogden Utah.
There are no water systems to provide water for this village. They walk to the closest pond or river depending on the dryness of the season. Women carry five gallon jugs of water on their heads every day for long distances to provide water for their families. In most cases the water that they collect is polluted with bacteria, microorganisms, and other impurities. Having a cistern to capture rain water can literally be the difference between life and death for some of these children. This cistern program is an option that they can utilize until they are able to gather the resources for a better water system. 

This school is almost finished, and now, thanks to assistance from Thrive Life, there will be  water for the children to drink
The philosophy of Koins for Kenya and The Institute for Self Reliant Agriculture,SRA is to ask the people receiving help to do all that they can on their own: i.e. - haul sand from the river, break rocks into gravel, provide the labor, and come up with 10% of the money. It costs $4000 to for the rest of the supplies that need to be purchased. The average wage is about $1 per day so it would be impossible for them to raise the money for the entire project on their own. With this program, the villagers feel ownership of the project while the donors make it possible to be completed.

The large rocks will be crushed by hand into gravel for making the concrete for the cistern
This school is being built as part of a similar program where donors provide the financial assistance that bridges the gap between what the people can do themselves and what needs to be done. This model has helped to build over 50 schools that now educate about 8000 students. It is amazing to see what has happened.
The cistern skeleton is being done. This is a very exciting time for the villagers.

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