Creation of Hope


June Update

I keep getting thrown by how each month continues to become busier and busier.  With the end of the school year many schools have sent in their contributions.  These are listed below – often with the letters or emails from the students explaining their fund raising efforts and their motivations.

For us the busiest time will be July and August when we put these funds to work.  At the end are the pictures showing the very beginning of our major projects.  My next update – for July and August – will be posted in September.  At that time I hope to show the completed – or almost completed – addition to the children’s home, the opening of the library, and at least the beginnings of a number of very important water projects.

But first things, first.  About our wonderful schools!

Westside Secondary School

On May 28, Westside Secondary School students attended their senior prom with more than hair, shoes and dancing on their minds. A portion of the proceeds from prom ticket sales and fundraising was donated to the Creation of Hope project – $2,100 in total – leaving behind a “pay-it-forward” legacy for Westside’s graduating class of 2010. The following is an excerpt from a presentation made at the prom by one of the members of the prom committee:

“We’re about to enter the real world and looking around at the leaders in this room, I know that we’re going to change the world. That begins tonight and us changing the world starts now. Creation of Hope isn’t just a charity. It’s helping the families and children of Kikima to become self-sustainable so they can support themselves.  These people live in the most desperate situations – situations that for many seem hopeless. There are many orphans in Kikima but there are over 100 graduates this year who are capable of making a difference in their lives.”

“High school is almost over, and now the question is, what do we do with everything we’ve done and everything we’ve learned. We step into the real world and give what we’ve learned to the world around us. We show the world that Westside Secondary is not just another graduating class, but we’re going to show the world that we’re the class of 2010 that made a difference. Tonight isn’t just about looking back on the past but it’s also about looking on into a future of creating hope and influencing everything and everyone around us, just as we’ve done over the last four years.”

“Leaving high school, some of us know what we want to do, some of us don’t. We all have dreams and thanks to us, the children from Creation of Hope can live their dreams. As we step out into the real world, we mark our place in the world and let the world know what we’ve done for these children matters. And we let everyone know what we continue to do will change the world.”

Smithfield Middle School

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Eric Walters,

We want to thank you for leading our class on a very interesting learning journey.

Our class has learned a lot from participating in Project Home Team. We delighted in taking on the voices of the various characters during class read alouds. We worked on developing our inferencing skills and we practiced summarizing the main story events. We also had plenty of opportunities to practice our writing. We wrote blogs to you to give feedback on your book, wrote journal responses and did writing in role exercises where we pretended to be Nick.

As important as these literacy lessons were, our greatest learning occurred when events in our homeroom began to look like the plot of Home Team. For example, when our class was not given permission to attend the literacy conference where you were officially launching your book Home Team, we got the idea from the book to write business letters to the principal to try to persuade her to change her mind. When that didn’t work, some students (again inspired by Home Team) took the initiative of emailing you to see if you could visit the school. When you kindly agreed to visit the school, the class came up with the idea of fundraising for the charity you founded (Creation of Hope) just like the Clarke Blvd. School students donated 500 pairs of shoes for the charity Soles4souls in Home Team.


Fundraising for Creation of Hope taught us some very important lessons as well. We made donations, held a rummage sale, sold beadwork, held a silent auction and sold freezies. We learned to appreciate the value of teamwork – of everyone pulling together for a common goal. We learned that when your heart is in the right place and you are trying to do a good thing, you attract the goodwill of others. Many Smithfield students and staff supported our fundraising efforts by purchasing beaded bracelets, donating items and volunteering for the Smithfield Fun Fair and Flea Market. We learned how good it feels to do good for others. We also learned to persevere. Finally, we learned that what at first appears to be a bad thing can turn out to be a very good thing after all. Of course, all of these lessons can be found in the plot of Home Team, but the lessons are that much more powerful when they become lived experience.


Eric Walters, we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for not only helping us to become better readers, but for helping us to become better people.

In gratitude,

Ms. Oliver’s Class

Smithfield Middle School

In the end they raised $438.32!  Congratulations to Ms. Oliver’s Class and Ms. Oliver for her leadership.  Included in this amount was a $100.00 donation from Penny Bedford.

Stanley Park School

Dear Mr. Walters,

After your visit to Stanley Park School in Kitchener this past winter, the students in class 7-3 decided that they wanted to do something to help the people in Kenya through your Creation of Hope organization.

Students organized a very successful iPod day at the school on April 23rd and were able to raise $558.63.

The students would love to see the money distributed in the following way, with the understanding that your organization would have a better view of where the money is most needed:

10 school uniforms            $120

10 chickens                      $70

9 solar cookers                 $117

9 sets of farm tools            $180

6 blankets                         $30

1 goat                               $40

7 saplings                          $1.61

For a total of $558.61.

Best wishes and much success in the Creation of Hope.

Kerry Casey

Carruthers Creek Public School

Dear Eric Walters

Please find enclosed a cheque in the amount of $400.00.  Our SAC (Student Activity Council) has tried our very best to raise this money over the course of the year with various activities such as penny drives and hat days and other special events.

We would like this money to go towards two things; farm tools for a family and the yearly cost of education for a high school student.

We were really inspired to help with the Creation of Hope when you came to visit our school in October.  Also, when 10 of the executive Student Activity Council members were chosen to go and hear you and the other authors speak at the Literacy Day Event, we enjoyed hearing your presentation about the people in Africa.  We were then encouraged even more to help.

Thank you for coming to share your cause with us and for teaching us all that one person can make a difference.

Sincerely,

Yogita Persuad and Jade Douglas

SAC Members, Carruthers Creek Public School

Adjala Central Public School

Dear Mr. Walters

We are the student Council Executive of Adjala Central Public School located in Loretto, Ontario.  Our goal each year is to raise money to donate to a charity.  Our initiative is children helping children.  Last year, The Student Council chose the Creation of Hope as our charity after hearing you speak for National Diabetes Day in Alliston.

In February, we had the opportunity to hear you speak about your novels and see your PowerPoint presentation about the Creation of Hope.  This showed us how our money was spent and how it helped people in a very different environment.  You taught us that one person could make a difference and inspired us to make a difference too.  We knew immediately that your charity, Creation of Hope, was the charity that we wanted to donate our funds to again.

Despite the fact that the president and vice-president are in Grade Eight and will be leaving Adjala Central this year, we are impressed that the student body will be able to track the progress of the Creation of Hope Project and see where the money is being used.

In order to raise the money for charity the Student Council was involved in several activities throughout the course of the year.  We hosted two student dances, held a penny drive and a ‘Wear Your Hat for 25 cents Day’.  We also sold candy grams at Valentine’s Day.  These events have allowed us to present your foundation with a cheque in the amount of $700.00.

We felt that you are making a huge difference in many peoples’ lives and inspire us to make our mark.  Thank you for showing us the world.

Sincerely,

Mackenzie Haller        Megan Vissers             Rebecca Clark             Kyrstin Caissie

President                     Vice-President             Treasurer                    Secretary

Tracey Parsons                       Susan Spence

Student Council Staff Advisors

Fairview Public School

Fairview Public School had an incredible start to the day. Our head secretary’s daughter (who had previously contributed her profits from a weekend slushie sales) raised over $160.00 selling bracelets that she and her mother made. When her amount was added to the rest of the money raised, her mother Anna Crawford gave Ms. Trevison a cheque for $1244.00 to be presented to Mrs. and Mr. Walters during our morning assembly. This amount exceeded our expectations. Mrs. and Mr. Walters came to the school to extend their gratitude on behalf of the people affected by these fundraisers.

Mr. Walters presented a slide show that had a picture of the well being built with money that Fairview had contributed in the past. Then, just when we thought that it couldn’t get any better, Mrs. Walters presented the school with a plaque that held pictures of some of the children from Kikima. This gift really had an impact on the hearts of the people at Fairview. One of the grade one students looked up at Mrs. and Mr. Walters and with a big dimpled smile exclaimed, “You guys rock!” It couldn’t have been said any better.

Last fall I visited P.W. Kaeser High School, in Fort Smith, in the Northwest Territory.  They have just sent us a wonderful donation of $1508.00.  As you can see below, we’ve already started putting this money to good use!

Ray Lewis Public School, under the leadership of Sandi Inglis, continues to make contributions.  Penny drives, and bake sales, along with other activities have raised another $1279.50!

LaSalle Public School

As part of The Creation of Hope we are providing ongoing support to Exodus Children’s Home, operated by our good friend Elijah.  This support includes rent, monthly sponsorships for three children, additional food supplies, and computer equipment.  LaSalle has been the primary supporter of Exodus through our program.

This past school year, LaSalle Public School near Windsor, Ontario, continued their support

of Exodus House. In addition to their Student Parliament taking on Creation of Hope as its primary fundraising need, various classes and teachers did their own special activities as well.

Three classes of junior students and the special education class created and maintained a wiki in order to “penpal” with the children in Exodus House. Each student in Machakos was given a penpal from each LPS class, and the wiki allowed the two groups of kids to showcase their daily lives, values and interests. This extra level of interaction increased the commitment of the Canadian kids to raise funds for their “brothers and sisters” in Kenya. Since regular fundraising in an economically-depressed area wasn’t going as well as hoped, the LaSalle children added some new fundraising activities in the spring: “Change for Change” (a change drive that brought in over $1300 in two weeks), various sporting event concessions, ice cream sundae and hot dog days, and weekly popcorn sales. Some families personally contributed as well, as their children became more involved with their Kenyan penpals. Not only was enough raised to pay for another year’s rent on the building that houses the children of Exodus House — there was even enough to contribute another $500 to supply Elijah and his children with a further purchase (to be announced). WHOO HOO, LPS!!!


In celebration of the deeper relationships between Exodus and LaSalle, an opportunity was created for both sides to finally “meet” online in real time, thanks to Skype and some handy webcams! The big event occurred on Monday June 21 throughout the morning, and included a fun singing extravaganza, a chance to ask questions, and introductions all around. The LPS kids were especially excited to meet the rooster that kept crowing throughout the event! Next year the LaSalle kids are hoping to Skype more frequently, and hold Exodus House events throughout the year to keep the momentum going!

Martha Martin

Special Assignment Teacher-Librarian

Seconded Jan. 2010 to June 2010

(Formerly at LaSalle PS)

CIESC, webmistress

A further extension from the work being done at LaSalle I receive a donation for $150.00 from a parent, Shelly Hladki – a donation made because she was impressed with the impact this project has had for her son, a student at LaSalle.

Erindale Secondary School

Erindale was one of our first schools and remains a great supporter of the Creation of Hope.  This year, through fundraising efforts, including ‘top up the change’ at the cafeteria they raised $444.15 plus another $62.00 from Brooke Hilditch’s class for a total of $506.15!

Silver Spring P.S. in Toronto, under the leadership of Kathy Kay held a raffle and raised $124.00 which was used to grant a wish list for a child.  Subsequently the teacher involved, Kathy Kay, has decided to sponsor a child on an ongoing basis!  Read about her sponsored child in the Sponsorship section below.

Prince Philip Public School

Sometimes I am guilty of not mentioning everything and everybody so who keeps on doing good things each month.  Mr. Rumsby’s class is providing ongoing support and sponsorship of one of our children in Kikma.  This past month, before they departed for the summer, they collected another $96.17 – enough money for sponsorship for the entire summer!  I hope that Mr. Rumsby and his students have a great summer and it’s nice to know that even when they’re taking a little time off they haven’t taking time off from caring.

We also want to acknowledge three individuals who made donations this month.  Canadian writer, Karen Dyer made a $100.00 donation.  Barb Kettle, teacher/librarian and great supporter from Alexander Graham Bell Public School donated $140.00 and Sandra Masotti made a $50.00 donation.

Karlis Dravins and Ieva Koloda acknowledged recognizing how important Creation of Hope is to Eric by making a $100.00 donation on Father’s Day in his honour! Thank you both sincerely!

Cupar and Robert Southey

Part of the way we like to acknowledge the generous nature of schools and individuals is to ‘name’ things that they are responsible for.  Below are pictures of the Cupar/Robert Southey Structure.

This food storage facility – now full of feed – will allow the ‘residents’ of the  goat academy, rabbit hutch, and the soon to be built chicken coop to be provided for on an ongoing basis.  Part of our goal is for self-sufficiency for the orphans of Rolling Hills.  By purchasing and gathering foliage when it is plentiful and cheap and storing it we can keep costs greatly down.  Thank you to the students of Cupar and Robert Southey – your generous gift will give forever!

Muthama is the proud owner of a bunny hutch – paid for by the generous donation of Marie Campbell. This hutch is a place for his bunny breeding business to provide money for him and his grandparents.  When I’m in Kenya I’m going to visit with Muthama and bring him a few more rabbits for his hutch.  We always want to encourage those willing to work to make their lives better.

Deforestation and soil erosion are major problem throughout the world, including Mbooni district.  Last year we planted over 8,000 saplings, a mixture of fruit, medicinal and hard wood, throughout the region, partnering with people who committed to caring for these trees.

This year we’re hoping to plant thousands more – but do it even more inexpensively so we’re growing our own from seeds.  The tree nursery is still in progress but I would say that one seedling will cost approximately Ksh. 10 by the time they are grown, transported and transplanted.  This is much less expensive than the previous year when we bought saplings rather than raising them from seeds. We have so far potted more than 12,000 seedlings and there are others in the nursery.

The cost of the initial 12,000 + saplings, at .16 cents each is $2019.42

This has been funded by the following schools or groups.  Highland paid for 3000 saplings at a cost of $500.00. Saint Joan of Arc Catholic High School provided $100.25 for 626 saplings.  P.W. Kaeser High School in Fort Smith contributed $300.00 for 1875 saplings.  Ray Lewis Public School contributed $279.50 for 1746 saplings.  Smithfield Middle School contributed $200.00 for 1250 saplings.  The final $264.87 from the money raised by Medicine Hat High School purchased 1655 saplings. The final $175.00 from Innisdale purchased 1093 saplings. And the final $200.00 from Aldergrove Public School purchased 1250 saplings.

Ruth hopes that there are another 13,000 seedlings that can be transplanted come the October/December rains.

New nightshirts and nightgowns.  This was a shot taken at dusk and is a little blurry.  These kids will sleep well in clothing that was provided by Emily Plewes and Mrs. Musial’s class for a total cost of $314.00

One of our young residents is ill.  She has undergone testing and will require treatment and possibly surgery.  The cost of this surgery and treatment would have been beyond the means of her grandparents and extended family – it could be as much as $1500.00.  We have made a promise that we will provide whatever treatment is necessary.  This promise has been made possible because of the students of Highland Secondary School. We will keep the Highland students aware of the situation as we become aware of it.

She has undergone some tests and the doctor says she needs to be examined under sedation because she has a growth at her cervix.  They are doing further tests and will have to operate to remove the growth. We shall know her prognosis after this Saturday, when she is expected to undergo further tests.

We purchased a new computer for Rolling Hills that will be brought over when I travel to Kikima in July.  The cost of this computer, $361.00, was provided with funds from Highland.

Two of our monthly expenses are for the Matron’s salary and for over costs when we do the monthly food distribution.  We have sponsorship funding for most of the children but extend the food to provide for others in the community, including the siblings of sponsored children.  These two costs – $100.00 for the Matron’s salary and $115.00 for food distribution, were provided by money donated from Alexander Graham Bell.

Rewards for Good Work!

Students are continually tested and marked and compared on standardized testing.  Below are students who worked hard and finished in the top three in their classes.  Each was given a chicken.  These chickens were funded by Stanley Park Senior Public School at a cost of $35.00.

The five chickens were given to Ndinda Mwanza, Willie Mutindi, Teddy Mutua, Mwongeli Mutinda and Maundu Mwanza.

The goat was also funded by Stanley Park was given to Willie Mutindi – Judah’s brother – for being the only prefect among all the children.

Wall of Fame

In the previous update we listed part of June – specifically the work done by Rolling Hills in raising funds.  I spoke to Ruth about a number of things including a way to honour these special people – and others in the future.  We talked about the creation of a Wall of Fame.  Below are the first people honoured on our Wall of Fame.  I know that many more will join them in the months to come.

The first stage of the addition, excavating the site, is already underway.  I’m looking forward to being there in July as the walls start to go up.  As always local people are being provided with a living wage for their labour.  With this money they will provide for their families!

In addition, the well is now being dug that will provide safe, clean, and secure water for the children of Rolling Hills Residence.  This well, which will be dug completely by hand, may have to go down more than two hundred feet – the depth that is equivalent to a 20 story apartment building!  When this well is complete the residence will never have to depend on rain again nor have to pay for water.  This is one more major step toward self-sufficiency.

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May Update (and a bit of June)

May (and a bit of June) update

There were many wonderful things that took place that will be covered in this update, including two large events – one of which actually happened in June – but I wanted to report now so the students of that school could get recognition before the end of the school year.  I’ll cover the May happenings first.

Literacy Day

Over the past two years we have held six Literacy Days in which some of Canada’s best known children’s writers/illustrators and musicians have donated time to present to students with the proceeds going to The Creation of Hope.  Three of these days, last school year, were in Hamilton and this school year we had two in Toronto and our final event was in Oshawa, hosted by the Durham District School Board.  This last event, held May 26, took place at Eastdale C.V.I. and was coordinated by their amazing teacher/librarian John MacDonald and Isabelle Hobbs, the Librarian Consultant for DDSB, along with the help of a dozen student leaders from the school.

John and Isabelle – the hosts for the literacy day

There were four presenters that day included Richard Scrimger, Michael Wade, Teresa Toten and myself.  We presented to over 700 students from schools across the Durham board.  It was a wonderful day that raised over $4000.00 for The Creation of Hope!

At the event there were also three additional donations.  Eastdale students were not only the hosts by collected $250.00!  One class at the school, Mrs. Musial’s class did a coin drive and raised $67.88.  And finally, last but not least, our good friends at Alexander Graham Bell, under the leadership of Barb Kettle, donated another $316.00!

The day was just minutes over when John MacDonald, the driving force behind this day, asked if we could do it again next year.

The other thing that happened as the students were leaving the presentation, is something that always touches me.  A number of students came up to me, emptied their pockets and handed me their change.  In these cases the amount was not much, but it was all that they had – which makes it so important.  Between these students, plus earlier in the month a teacher at Marion Hilliard Senior Public, with the TDSB, a student at Glendale, and students at Bishop Smith Catholic High School in Pembroke, who did the same last week, there is now $89.75 more going to help the orphans of Kikima.  These small gestures will result in big things for somebody half a world away.  We have to remember that amount of money equals almost 18 blankets, or two goats and a chicken, or a goat, a set of tools, three blankets and a chicken for a family.  A little bit of change makes a big change.

One other student made a personal donation.  Last March I had the great fortune to present to schools in Japan.  I have recently received a donation from a young man from Japan.  Below is his letter.

Dear Mr. Walters,

I am an eighth-grade student at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo.  I recently won our Middle School Science Fair and was awarded $300.  With the award money I decided to use $250.00 toward buying new headphones.  But I also was very touched and inspired by your efforts to improve the lives of young children in Kenya, so I decided to donate $50.00 towards your program.  Even though my donation might be a small amount, I hope it is enough to satisfy and put a smile on a child’s face.

From Luke Yamasaki

Tokyo, Japan

A Donation from Saint Joan of Arc Catholic High School

In February, my Grade 9 English class had the privilege of watching your inspiring presentation about your charity, Creation of Hope.  We were touched by the stories you shared with us and felt called to action.

As a result, we had a movie day in our classroom.  The students chose Slumdog Millionaire as the film they wanted to view, given that they were raising money for those less fortunate than themselves.  From this event, my students raised $100.25; I have enclosed a cheque for your charity in that amount.

My students discussed at length where the money they raised should go.  They finally settled on school uniforms and solar cookers; however, they also felt that if there is a more immediate need than the money should go there.

We are happy to be able to contribute to your cause.  Thank you for your efforts to improve the lives of children in Kenya.  I am so pleased that we could help in our small way; my students learned a valuable lesson about putting their faith into action through learning about your charity.

Sincerely,

Caroline Attard-Portelli

Donations from Kenya

In previous updates we’ve mentioned how people in Kenya are stepping forward to help support the orphans in their midst.  Below in the sponsor section you’ll see the incredible support being offered by new sponsors, but I also wanted to mention something that has been going on quietly and continually throughout the Mbooni district.

Three times a yea all of the Africa Inland Churches throughout Mbooni hold a special donation to support the orphans.  These churches are all under the direction of our wonderful friend Reverend Philip.  Between the donations last September and this past February they donated over $2,200.00.  This money was used to help orphans in need throughout the region but also given directly to The Creation of Hope project to provide a plastic water tank and rain gutters for the residence.  This is such an incredible act of generosity from people who have so little themselves, giving to help those who are less fortunate.

Rolling Hills – Hoops for Hope

It’s difficult to even begin to describe what the staff, students and parents of Rolling Hills have done, and continue to do.  Last year they held the first annual Hoops for Hope fund raiser.  Through their efforts the majority of the money necessary to build the children’s residence, Rolling Hills Residence, was raised.  The colours of our children’s home are the colours of Rolling Hills School and a picture of these incredible children hangs above the entrance to the building.

The first fourteen children moved in last September.  It was originally designed to be home to 16 orphans.  There are now 24 children.  We decided that we needed to look at an expansion of the home.  The Rolling Hills community has now again stepped up.  This expansion will be named after a special person associated with Rolling Hills.  More details will follow as the expansion takes place.

On June 4th I attended the second Hoops for Hope Basketball tournament.  This featured fair, fun and fierce basketball – my team was eliminated in the afternoon

– as well as a continuous music coming from a great sound system which produced some pretty impressive dance moves as well.

The whole school was dancing to K’naan’s Waving Flag.  The line from the song – When I am older I will be stronger – makes me think how strong these kids already are!

There was so much more to the day though than basketball, dancing and fun.  The school raised an incredible $12,000.00!  This included the work of the entire staff and student body, but special recognition has to go to five young ladies, Kyla and Lorelle, who raised $1000.00 on their own to be used to dig a well on the property of the children’s residence, and the three top fund raisers, Megan, Caitlin and Danica, who raised, respectively, $505, $583 and $637.

Kyla and Lorelle

Megan, Caitlin and Danica

Rolling Hills School is an incredible example – the best example I know – of staff, students and parents working together.  I’m almost hesitant to single out individual people because this is the product of everybody but I’m going to do it anyway.  This project is driven by the passion, power and determination of Abbie Wright, pictured below, with three amazing people at the school who are ongoing sponsors of children in our program.

Abbie, Linda, Sally and Sue

This summer I will be at the Rolling Hills Residence in Kikima to witness all of your thoughts, actions and fund raising efforts being put into place.  In the end I have no more words to say, except Thank You.

Going to Kenya!

This summer I will again be traveling to Kenya – this time along with my daughter Julia and her friend Megan – to help with the major projects, including expansion of the children’s home.  While I am there we will be officially opening the first library in the entire Mbooni District – The Christena Gay Library (named after my grade 5 teacher), identifying and beginning a number of water projects, connecting with EVERY child in our program, holding discussions about our future plans and being part of the building of the expansion.

We will be bringing parcels to many of the sponsored children, special requests, and hopefully another computer for use by the children of Rolling Hills Residence.

Please note that all expenses for travel and while we are there are, of course, covered by our personal finances.  Not one penny from donations would ever go for anything other than direct service.  We will be able to bring back stories, pictures and strengthen the wonderful connections between our friends in Kenya and the people of Canada.

Education Centre

Rumeet made another trip to Kikima this month to continue to move forward the work being done on the Education Centre.  The building is finished, the furniture in place, the curriculum for the teachers being prepared, and plans are for it to open – to train the first teachers – beginning during the summer months.  We’ll keep you updated as this incredible project moves forward!

Africa Inland Mission

All of the amazing things that have happened in Kenya have had many roots here in Canada.  One of the strongest roots – a foundation on which we’ve been able to build – involves our partnership with Africa Inland Mission (AIM).

For me, organizations are simply the people you deal with.  In this instance it is two remarkable people – John Brown and Julia Trotter.  So much of what has happened would never have been possible without them and I truly value their advice, guidance, support, caring and wisdom.  Their individual experiences and expertise, combined with an organization with decades of working in Africa, has allowed us to follow a route that has led to such incredible success.  To them I say, simply, God Bless you.

Below, with permission of Julia, is a letter she wrote that went out to all of our sponsors after she visited the program in Kikima.

May 11, 2010

If you are receiving this letter it is because over the last 18 months you have helped to make the Creation of Hope project possible.  Thank you for your part in creating hope for    orphaned children and their communities in Mbooni Region, Kenya.

Until now, aside from a thank-you letter and your donation receipts, you have not heard much from us – Africa Inland Mission (AIM).  That is because we know that Eric Walters and his family and the team in Kenya are doing a fabulous job keeping you updated on all that is happening in Creation of Hope.  I do hope that you have taken advantage of the monthly updates and photographs available online at creationofhope.com.  Nevertheless, I have decided to write to you now to tell you about the wonderful trip I had to Kenya earlier this spring to visit Creation of Hope.

In Kikima I enjoyed the incredible hospitality of the Kyatha family, who have poured their hearts into the project.  Ruth Kyatha, the dynamic Program Manager, is married to Henry, whose generosity and hard work have been a quiet driving force behind many of the project’s initiatives.  Their vivacious daughter, Kay, coordinates all the sponsorship activities for the children who are supported through the program.  And while I was there, their son, Kioko, was scheming for a group of his friends from Nairobi to come out to Kikima and contribute to the effort.  (This visit has since taken place and you can read about it in the March update online.)

When I arrived, Ruth and two key leaders from the Regional office of the Africa Inland Church (AIC), Mr. Kiio and Rev. Muia, had organized three days packed full of activity.  They are so excited about what is happening through Creation of Hope and they wanted to show me as much as they could of what the church and community have accomplished over the last 18 months.   Let me share some of the highlights.

Right beside Ruth and Henry’s home is the Rolling Hills Residence and the James R. Henderson Dining & Reading Hall.  As a result, I had the great privilege of meeting the 21 children living there and to hear their aspirations and their beautiful singing voices.  It was fun to be present for Mulwa’s birthday party on Friday night.  In a country where people seldom make a fuss over birthdays, it was a real treat for the kids to get a special dinner and a piece of delicious birthday cake.

For those sponsored children living with guardians in the community rather than at the Hope Centre, monthly distributions of food help the families to get by.  They all gathered for a distribution while I was there, and it was a privilege to meet the aunts, uncles and grandparents who have taken orphans into their homes despite their own desperate needs.  It was especially neat to see Kate Dawber, who was volunteering in Kikima at the time, meet her dad’s sponsored child for the first time.

We were also able to visit the Toor Centre for Teacher Education, a brand new college opening this month, which has been made possible through the Creation of Hope project.  Thanks to the donation of some old church buildings by the AIC congregation at Nzeveni and generous gifts from Ms. Rumeet Toor and Mrs. Baljit Toor in Canada for renovations, young people in Mbooni Region who want to become teachers will soon be able to get the training they need without the burdensome expense of enrolling in an urban college.

I also had the joy of hiking over a mountainous trail to the village of Utangwa, where the first Creation of Hope water project took place.  With professional input from the local water officer and donations from Canada for concrete, pipe and skilled labour, the community gathered the rocks and sand needed to cap a communal spring.  Now, instead of a chaotic pool where livestock wallow while women collect water for their cooking, two beautiful streams of clear water flow from pipes that are just the right height to fill up jerry-cans.  And I can tell you first-hand that the water tastes excellent!

Back at the Hope Centre, I was pleased to meet some of the other “kids” who are part of the project.  The Goat Academy run by Henry Kyatha is a great tool, both to teach the sponsored children the valuable skills of caring for livestock and to give them something of their own – a goat – when they graduate from Hope’s care in the future.

Again, let me thank you for the part that you have played in making this project what it is.  I hope I have given you a taste of the amazing things that are happening as we work together to transform the lives of orphan and needy children and their families and communities.

Sincerely,

Julia Trotter

Relief & Development Director

Wish Lists

Kay will write more about these lists below, but I enjoy them, and the pictures so much, that I have to put in a couple of pictures.  We have had wonderful success in people coming forward to grant wish lists for deserving orphans.  We always get back to the person who granted a wish list a picture of the child with that wish list.  We’re not going to show all of those on our updates, but below are two children receiving their items.

This is Peter receiving the wish list that was funded by Barb Miller.

Part of the wish list – a bed – for Nduku – provided by funds from the students of Alexander Graham Bell.

Goats, goats and more goats!

Narcaster with Linda the Goat

Nduku with Sandi the Goat

Kitoo and Mwendwa with goats donated by St. Veronika school students in Bolton

Yula receives her goat from Lorraine

We have invested in providing additional tutoring for the children at Rolling Hills Residence.  For many of these children, prior to coming to live at our residence, school attendance was problematic because either they couldn’t afford school fees, didn’t have a uniform, were forced to miss school to help support the family or didn’t have text books or school supplies.  Below you can see how their marks and position in the class have dramatically improved since their arrival and receiving this extra help.

Name 3rd Term 2009 1st Term 2010
Class Marks Position Class Marks Position
Mary Makau 8 N/A N/A 8 338/500 6/26
Mercy Katumo 8 N/A N/A 8 351/500 3/26
Mercy Mutiso 6 N/A N/A 7 256/500 16/34
Mulwa Muendo 7 250/500 15/35 7 288/500 6/34
Mutua Nduku 6 259/500 14/35 7 222/500 25/34
Keli Kamanthe 4 230/500 19/29 4 271/500 8/31
Justina Kalee 7 N/A N/A 7 271/500 8/34
Wanza Muthini 3 471/600 6/49 4 307/500 2/31
Wayua Nduku 3 398/600 17/49 4 279/500 6/31
Ndaisi Ndunge 3 408/600 15/49 4 274/500 3/31
Muinde Ndinda 2 384/600 2/56 3 531/600 1/42
Kanini Kinyingi 2 198/600 25/56 2 471/600 2/56
Syombua Mwongeli 3 N/A N/A 4 220/500 38/61
Muthina Muendi Nursery N/A N/A 1 N/A N/A
Charles Musau 3 438/600 11/49 4 261/500 8/31
Mwende Mulimi Nursery N/A N/A 1 384/600 4/32
Kioko Mueni Nursery N/A N/A Nursery N/A N/A
Muthoka Muendi 2 N/A N/A 3 408/600 N/A
Boniface Kituku 2 420/600 1/56 3 473/600 2/42
Mutunga Ndile 4 337/500 2/47 5 266/500 13/57
Lorna Mutindi 1 207/600 22/30 1 462/600 2/36
Mwikali Mutindi 1 461/600 3/51 2 441/600 2/31
Faith Mawia 3 456/600 7/49 4 246/500 11/31

Additional food costs for month:  With more sponsors coming on each month the amount of shortfall continues to be less and less.  This month it was $115.00.  This was provided by funds previously raised by Highland Secondary School.

Matron’s salary:  Each month Serah, our wonderful matron, continues to provide outstanding day-to-day care for the children of Rolling Hills Residence.  She receives help and support from Ruth, Henry and the older children in the home, but she is the house mother of 24 children!  Imagine caring for the daily needs of a house full of that many children.  Her monthly salary – $100.00 – was provided this month by funds raised by Medicine Hat High.

Below, in detail, Kay will discuss the new sponsors.  We are pleased that many of these new sponsorships are coming from Kenya!  It is one more sign that our program is seen as credible, trustworthy and valuable to people in Kenya.

And finally, a thank you, to all of you for helping, caring, supporting, working, from The Creation of Hope in Kikima.

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NEW SPONSORS AND GRANTED WISHLISTS

I think I must have done a great job on the previous and very first update that I have ever done, that Eric asked me to do it again this month. I see he is slacking on the job, eh (and if I become very good at it, it might become a full time job!!!! Yikes!!!!) Just kidding Eric.

To start us off this month was Barb Miller who is sponsoring Mutinda Mativo and she also provided money to fulfill Peter Katana’s wish list.

Mutinda Mativo

Peter Katana

This time round, sponsor of the month goes to …..(drum roll please)….the MULI FAMILY!!!! I believe it will not be considered nepotism if I nominate the Muli Family as sponsor of the month. I am sure you will all agree with me after you read what they have done for this project. It started with my Auntie Esther telling me she wanted to sponsorTHREE kids and I got that phone call at 9am! I’m telling you there is no better way to start the day then to know that the lives of three more children have been positively transformed through the generosity of someone. Peter Katana, Muthoka Muendi and Mugambi Kariuki are now sponsored.

Peter Katana (pictured above)

Mugambi Kariuki

Muthoka Muendi

Mom, not to be left behind by both her daughter and sister, also decided to sponsor a child and therefore, Christopher Mule now has a sponsor. When they came for the first food distribution, the grandmother was so happy that she promised to bring a chicken for her, a thank you gift. Its heart warming to see people who barely have enough for themselves willing to share with others, the little they have.

Then, one afternoon, a couple of days after Eric had sent out the email to pass the word around to identify more potential sponsors, mom called me and told me to sit down as she had unbelievable news. Off course I didn’t heed her warning because I didn’t think she could tell me anything that could shock me to the point of needing to sit down (of course, needless to say, children – no matter what age, still don’t listen to their parents – I am living proof. But the fact that I am still living should justify my actions, don’t you think?). She then proceeded to tell me that Kaleche (my cousin), was going ahead and sponsoring not ONE, not TWO but FIVE CHILDREN!!!!!! Maundu Mwanza, Ndinda Mwanza, Kitoo Kariuki, Mutie Luka and Mirriam Ndanu, welcome aboard!

Maundu Mwanza

Ndinda Mwanza

Kitoo Kariuki

Mutie Luka

Mirriam Ndanu

At first I thought I hadn’t heard correctly so I asked her to repeat. And of course, I had heard correctly. And maybe because I haven’t been party to such generosity, I asked mom whether Kaleche understood that the sponsorship was between $30-$60 PER MONTH, and she told me that yes, she did. WOW.  So now, of the 62 currently sponsored children that we have, 13 are locally sponsored, and 9 of those are through the Muli family. (Kaleche’s sister, Koki, is already sponsoring a child, Mwendwa Mwende). A huge round of applause please! I am not keeping track, but I think this must be our best month yet in terms of sponsorship.

A fresh list of children needing sponsorship has now been posted on the website. Kathy Kay wrote and asked if her class could fulfill a wish list from a raffle they were planning and now Syombua Mueni is a very happy girl.

Thank you all, for making this month another success.

Kay