The children of grade school age who reside in our residence – Rolling Hills – have all attended the same school where Ruth and Henry’s children attended. Over the years we have provided them with text books, school supplies, sports equipment, soccer and netball posts and constructed a library that is used by the school and community. We had a longstanding partnership with the school. However, sometimes partnerships need to be re-evaluated.
Many meetings were held between staff and school members as well as lengthy meeting involving the committee members in Kenya. After much thought it was decided that it was time for a change to happen.
Starting this month – the new school year in Kenya – our children began to attend Mbooni County Primary School. It is about the same distance – a walk of less than 2 kilometers – and in our small community many of our children already know – or are related – to children in the new school.
This school has a reputation as being very academically rigorous – the primary reason for the change. We want our children – your children – given the best opportunities available. Education is the key to their future success. We have always committed to funding them for the best possible high school education and now we have extended that commitment ‘down’ through the first grade (Standard 1).
First Day of school
Ruth and Rev Phillip were in attendance as the children started and brought with them a new notebook and pen for every child in the school. As always we hope to be an enriching part of this school and provide benefits to all the children in attendance.
You’ll recognize familiar faces wearing those new uniforms. My wife says she isn’t so ‘fond’ of the brown colour but it certainly will wear well. I wish I could have been there on that first day. It’s now been six months since I’ve been in Kikima and I have to admit I’m feeling myself being called back more strongly with each day.
All of the supplies that were given to our ‘old’ school will remain there. As well we will continue to maintain the Library – The Christena Gay Community Library – at the site of the old school. Although, who knows what might evolve in the new school as well!
A Sad Passing
It’s with such great sadness that I must announce the death of one of the children in our program. Faith contracted HIV at birth and has valiantly fought for her life. She resided with her grandmother at the family homestead. We provided her with monthly food distribution, blankets, beds, goats, uniforms and clothing, as well additional food supplements, retro-viral drugs, and the best medical care possible. Despite all that she passed away after a brief sickness and hospitalization. She is pictured below holding the picture of her two sponsors – Emily and Erin. I contacted their mother, Marie, and she informed her daughters of this news.
Below is the announcement written by Kay.
Reading and writing this brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could say that this will never happen again. It will. This year in Africa it is estimated that 1.5 million people will die of AIDS. It’s so hard to understand that number because it’s so large. I want you to think of it now as 1.5 million plus one who died. Faith is the one. She is not a number. She was a little girl who I knew. She was loved. She was no different than my daughters or yours. She deserved better. They all do.
We’ll all continue do our best and we appreciate the generous caring spirits of our sponsors and donors.
New website update
We have always operated a very basic website and have been so grateful to Lisa for all her work in establishing and maintaining and posting this. Over the Christmas Break my wife, daughter Julia and I spent time to figure out how to update and reconfigure the website to reflect what we’re doing and to make it more ‘user friendly’. It is now up and running because of Lisa and with assistance from another sponsor, Connor. Of course you know this if you’re reading this update, but still, we needed to thank them!
Martha Martin – Martha is the driving force behind the involvement of her school LaSalle P.S. in fundraising, but she also made a personal donation. The money will be directed to Faith and Eric, two children whose education is supported by LaSalle.
Rachel – a student in Belle River gave a personal donation. I am particularly touched when young people make that effort. Great thanks to Rachel.
Jaime is a teacher at another one of our supportive schools – McKinnon P.S. She made a donation to purchase the following things and asked that the donations be made in honor of the following people. She will shortly receive the thank you pictures showing which child got which things.
Nathan – a chicken
Chelsea – a chicken
Sahanna – a blanket
Jorgie – a school uniform
My dear friend, Paul, and his partner Annie, donated money for a goat. Paul is one of Canada’s most renowned film makers, and remarkably, even a better person.
Zoe – sponsor and aspiring writer – gave money for uniforms and saplings
Gunter and Tamara – friends from New Jersey – gave a generous donation.
Debbi Ritchie – great thanks for your donation.
Brooks McMillin – this donation is from Carrollton TX!
Erica and Andris Rubenis – once again provided an incredibly generous donation.
Marcella is a teaching assistant and incredible photographer who – after watching a presentation made a donation.
In the coming weeks/months each of these people will receive a very personal thank you and see where their donation went. In some cases the thank you picture has already been sent and is in this update as well!
Penguin Random House
One of my publishers provided an incredibly generous donation which has been applied to ongoing expenses in the program. I love this picture!
East York-Scarborough Reading Association
It’s wonderful when an organization dedicated to literacy reaches around the world to provide literacy in Kenya. This money is being directed very specifically to the purchase of books.
From Kelly from Hammond Bay
Great news. The students in grade 6 were doing a global citizenship unit and decided to do a fund raiser as part of it. They chose to do a bake sale and sell cookies at recess for two days. They sold the cookies for 50 cents. As you can tell to raise the 249.50 they had to bake and sell 500 cookies. The interesting part is so there are only 6 grade 6 students in my split class. Yep, more than 80 cookies each were baked the night before. They were so enthusiastic too, running around the playground soliciting for the sale. It was wonderful to see. We also posted something at our school and hopefully will encourage others to give to this non-profit organization.
Thank you so much for the photos, the students loved being able to see who they were helping,
Vaughan Willard P.S. made a wonderful donation. This was such a wonderful surprise given to me when I had the great fortune to present to these students.
This included $300.00 from Student Council plus and additional $60.00 plus another $140.00 for a total of $500.00! What a great school!
Thank You Signs
These are signs of thanks given in response to donations made over the past months. Some are for specific items while others directed by our staff on the ground.
Okay, this one just makes me smile. Christina is my oldest daughter and Marc her husband. When they were there this summer Michael asked – very politely – if there was any way he could have soccer shoes. Michael is quite the young man. Bright in school, a wonderful athlete, tri-lingual, a leader and a kid with such a playful sense of humor. His wish came true, thanks to Christina and Marc!
These blankets were paid for by children who came up to me at two different presentations and simply dug into their pockets and gave me money for a blanket. How’s that for inspiring! Nothing warms my heart as much – although the blankets they donated will do more than warm hearts. Practical, important gifts that will help these children lead better lives.
Chickens change lives.
We don’t usually give away a lot of goats over the Christmas season because the price goes up but we did pass out a few.
In presentations I tell people how much I love goats. I guess what I really love is the way that a donation changes the life of the child who gets it.
$75.00 provides funds to support the Rolling Hills Residence for 1 day. That’s food for 52 children, routine medical care, school supplies, salaries for matron, caretaker, tutor, night watchman and cook, and the electricity, water and sanitation for the entire building. These are the days supported by these people/schools.
We give out food (and blankets, goats, lanterns, beds, tools) every month. The vast majority of this comes from the donations of sponsors. However there are always extra costs. This is primarily because we are not just providing for our sponsored children but others in the family constellation. We can’t simply provide food for that one child but try to provide enough that it can ‘stretch’ to other children. Many of these are cousins who are orphans but those who might have one parent or, in some cases two. In all cases all the children are in need of additional support in these homes. We use addition donations to support the additional food distribution.
Our very generous sponsors often provide additional gifts for their sponsored child. This could be mailed over or funds are donated. Sometimes these are for special occasions such as a birthday or Christmas but often just as an act of caring.
Chris from Jason
For Minoo from Emily
Jackson from Cliff and family
Rodah from Anja and Iris
For Faith from Michelle
Thanks for your attention and as always, the ongoing support that makes this all a reality!
Anita & Eric