Monday, October 29, 2007

Going to Mass on Sunday and then a meeting with Sister Mary on Monday

Sunday, we went to mass which was filled with plenty of dancing and singing.
Following we played with all of the kids for a while.
We also interview a couple of the older children about Susan Golds program.
We also had an interview with this girl, a 17 year old. She is old enough to have been effected by the virus extensively before Anti-RetroViral drugs.

The interview with Sister Mary was very informative and inspirational. She helped found Nyumbani with Father D'Agostino in 1992 and is now head of the organization since his passing. There were two main things that she wanted everything to know and have. One is that HIV is just a medical condition. It is just like diabetes or HPV. The other is to be 'Compassionate'.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Education at Lea Toto

This is Daniel who works at the Lea Toto program. Every month they have a HIV and AIDS educational class for the children of Kibera. All the the kids in the program are invited as well as any siblings or friends who would like to come.
There were actually kids that come with their friends who are HIV positive to learn more about the Virus.
Daniel did a great job of teaching the class. Kept it informative and entertaining.

HIV and AIDS is not just a African issue it is a world wide issue. There were more than 40,000 people every year that are infected in the United States. The most dangerous thing is not knowing. The best way to prevent this Virus from spreading is by testing yourself and educating others. If anyone has not been tested. Please go get tested. We never know until we know. If you don't want to do it alone, I will be glad to go and get tested with you.
As we all should know. There are about 5 different proven ways of transferring a HIV to another. The first two include Mother to Child Transmission either through the birthing process or through breast feeding. The others are sexual intercourse, the sharing of sharp objects such as needles, and blood transfusion.

After a couple of hours, the older children were spit up from the younger children to be able to answer their more specific questions and concerns that they may have.

Susan Gold also came and gave a sexual educational session which seemed to be very helpful the to children. They had lots of questions about their bodies and what they are going though as well as more HIV questions.
I am just so happy that organizations like Nyumbani are education the children about this horrible Epidemic to prevent it from devastating future generations.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Day at the US Embassy

Friday we went to the US Embassy which was a great experience and something different to break up being in the slum. It was a 'Town Hall Meeting' to discuss foreign policy, terrorism and security concerns. After the 1998 bombing of the former U.S. embassy in the city centre of Nairobi, the embassy was moved to the outskirts of the city. They defiantly did not let cameras in to or near the Embassy. The Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, was very welcoming and tried to address every concern of the American people. Here are some things that we learned while we were there. $500 million will be given to Kenya in 2008 through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) making Kenya the second largest PEPFAR recipient. $20 million will be given to Kenya in 2008 through the President’s Malaria Initiative. Despite the U.S. travel warning still in place for Kenya, American tourism to Kenya is booming. By the end of 2007, 100,000 American will have visited Kenya. Only the U.K. sends more of its citizens to Kenya than the U.S. And $1.5 billion comes from the U.S. (through official government donations, non-profits, private donors, etc.), which accounts for 16% of Kenya’s gross domestic product. To say the least we have a huge footprint on this country every year. This gave me perspective on how we spend money here compared with other places all around the planet. Also on the efficiency of our money spent and the good that it does. Our money in Kenya is something to be proud of and something to push for more. More than ever I understand to need to invest in developing countries for education, sustainable projects, and perspective.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A day of wash and back to Kibera

So I have never actually washed all of my clothes by hand. Maybe one or two things on a camping trip but never a whole load of clothes. It was quite the new experience. Not something that I would do every week or two at home but I am sure that it saves a lot of energy. There is something nice about hanging up you clothes to dry in the sun. Although I don't think that I rinsed them out very well because they were kind of crusty when they were dry. Well, maybe better next time.
On Thursday we met up with a lady named Andrea who is an american citizen that married a Kenyan. She has been helping at in a couple of pre-schools around Kibera and is now pregnant with her own child.
She first took us here to Jamii.

The kids were oh so welcoming and playful as always.

Andrea, pictured above with Jennifer, then took us to Little Rock Day Care, which is a day care unlike many others. This one has taken on the challenge at taking care of children with and without disabilities such as down syndrome and cerebral palsy. A challenge in a society that leaves most of this children behind. However they do an incredible job.

Here they were practicing for there Christmas play.

They also started putting together an after-school library and physical therapy center for children who have gone off the primary school.
The organization also has another part of there organization where deaf children are pre-schooled and taught sign-language. This is done with the help of a Norwegian non-profit.
It is amazing what two Kenyans, Christine (above) and Lilly, have done for these children who otherwise would have to be sent far away from their families to be educated.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kibera, utter hopelessness but wait there has to be a way.

Today, we went back to spend time with Lea Toto program in this place that is life changing, Kibera. Ok so, the first time we went there I was in shock. Today I really realized what I was really experiencing. Rows and rows of metal, wood, and mud shacks as far as the eye can see. People who have to pay every time they go to the bathroom. They walk distances to water that they have to still boil after paying. Work? There are shops of goods and foods all over almost set up like the ones on street corners in big cities. But most have to walk miles for Jobs that may exist that day or not. Didn't all of these people come here for jobs? I guess that the kids parents at he day care have jobs. Most people do not like photos taken of them so it is hard to get the photos that I want of the layout of the land. Upsetting anyone is the last thing that I would want to do. This place is just so overwhelming.

We went with Sister Joyce (below) around again to a couple of homes. This was the first. A 16 year old kid(above) taking care of her sick 14 year old cousin(below). She is only 50 lbs. Stopped going to school two months ago but loves science and her favorite food is liver. I thought that my Granddad was the only person who loved liver. Anyway, her spirit seemed high and she smiled often. They were oh so welcoming to us. Did I say that this was overwhelming. There really are no words...

We went to this Woman's home and visited her and her 1 month old baby. She had moved there a couple of years ago with her husband and her 4 brothers. She found out that the had the virus when she was pregnant with her first child who is now 4. It is now a law in Kenya that everyone pregnant has to have an AIDS test. Below is a view of her decorated ceiling. She married for stability. Now however she is the only one of her siblings that work and they all live in her place. She says that her bothers are all depressed and just drink. How do all of these people suddenly find themselves in this all so terrifying place?

Not only how do we get them out but how do we prevent them from coming. I understand that it is just part of a process of urbanization and development. But it must stop. They must feel as if where there villages where they come from have hope, steady food and shelter. How can we create that? So it will prevent them from coming to this place where no human should live.
I think that the answer is in creating villages like the Nyumbani Village. By creating Kibbutzim all over the country it would enable them to have work, food, as well as a shelter that far surpasses Kibera. That is the only way, Sustainable Development. Without sustainable development places like Kibera will continue to grow and trap these people that come here with so much hope. There has to be a future for these children.

We went back to Lea Toto and spent more time a the day car and fed them lunch.

I was feeding this kid. I know from the messiness it is obvious.