Sunday, September 14, 2008

A quick update (that ended up being not so quick)

Things have started to slow down a little bit because Meghann has started school and the rainy season has prevented us from being as active as we'd like to be but we are still doing our best to get things done!

Kenya schools have started up again after the break between the second and third term and we were able to enroll ten of our sponsored children to start the term at a new school. Following enrollment, we brought them into downtown Nairobi to a uniform store and provided them with two full sets of school uniforms, two pairs of socks, two P.E. uniforms and a new pair of shoes. Even in the poorest parts of Kenya, you can find kids in uniform because of the importance placed on education and being able to afford a uniform is associated with wealth and success. So it was great to be able to get the kids uniforms and to ease the burden of affording education to their parents and families.

In addition to providing uniforms, we distributed backpacks provided by our donors and any needed school supplies. Of the ten kids that we enrolled for this term, five are children of HIV positive patients that participate in our Tumaini Health Outreach. They have been out of school because their parents have been too sick to work and unable to send them. Those that had been attending school were attending schools within the Kibera slum that had poor infrastructure and insufficient funding. They are all now attending Ayany Estate Primary School or Olympic Primary School, both government-run schools with permanent structures in Kibera.

We support about 20 children through the sponsorship program (although some are still without sponsors) and the rest will be starting the new school year at a new school in January.

For those of you that have sponsored a child, we are working on completing the welcome packets for each student and hope to send them out by the end of this week. We still have some students that are attending school but do not yet have specific sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring a child or finding more about the sponsorship program you can go here: http://www.uweza.org/sponsorship.

Last Saturday we had the chance to take our five soccer teams from Kibera (three Tunza teams and two Jamii teams) to the Kenya World Cup Qualifying Soccer match against Namibia. We loaded about 60 boys from the teams onto buses and traveled to the outskirts of Nairobi to the stadium that holds up to 60,000 people. Our seats were right next to the field and the boys had a great time cheering on the Kenyan national team to victory. The final score was 1-0 and Kenya is one step closer to qualifying for the World Cup. They really enjoyed the game and were so grateful to have the opportunity to go. It was good to get them out of Kibera for the day and see what the future may hold if they really build their soccer skills!

Its business as usual with the rest of our projects. Home visits with the Tumaini Health Outreach this week brought us to a 40 year-old man HIV positive man who is currently diagnosed with TB. He showed us skins lesions that had developed on his chest, arms, face and legs. He said that he had recently visited a doctor but the doctor said nothing about the lesions, despite the obviousness of the lesions on his face. We suspect that it is skin cancer, common in HIV positive patients and asked that he go to Ushirika, the clinic where our outreach is based, for a referral to a hospital where he can be treated, most likely with chemotherapy. We will be visiting him tomorrow to follow up. Another patient, a 30 year-old HIV-positive woman, is pregnant with her third child. She is past due and we are waiting in anticipation for the birth. Hopefully, she will be calling us when she goes into labor so that we can provide adequate hospital care to ensure that both the mother and the baby are safe and healthy during delivery. We're also still on the lookout for formula that can be donated to ensure that the positive status of the mother is not transmitted to the baby.

We have looked at several plots of land for our proposed pre-primary school in the past few weeks. There were two or three that we are interested in and would work out great for a potential school, so we're going to meet with the owners in the coming week to discuss how feasible it will be for us to make a purchase.

Time to run, we're going to spend the evening at Hekima Place celebrating the birthday of one of the girls. Thanks for reading and (we can never say it enough) your continued support.

Jen

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