Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The diapers arrive in Kenya

I just received word that my new charity, Mogra Children's Rescue has received the diapers and donations I just sent. Here's the story....
Me with the precious babies at Mogra Orphanage.
Two weeks ago, I joined my husband Ken on a business trip to Nairobi, Kenya; he was meeting with the phone company Airtel. Shortly after we arrived, we ran into some of his colleagues in the hotel lounge, where Ken brought up the idea that I was hoping to spend some time volunteering with a school or orphanage while there. Olga, an IBM expat from Columbia, living in Kenya, excitedly ran over to introduce me to her friend and neighbor Mark. Mark is an Australian expat working for Airtel. Mark had the perfect connection for me. It ends up that Airtel sponsors the food program at a school in the Mathare slum and Francis, Mark's partner, volunteers there. Olga was kind enough to include me in the dinner that night, so that Francis and I could meet and made a plan to go to Mogra school and orphanage the following day.

There was a traffic jam on the road which gave me time to take in the sights.

Francis and his driver David picked me up the next morning and we drove out to Mathare to visit the school Mogra Star Academy and then to the Mogra Orphange. There is so much to say about the meaningful experiences I had at the school; but for today, I will talk just about the orphanage visit. Which, by the way, Ken had lightheartedly had warned Francis against taking me to. He was afraid I would bring home a baby. He often reminds me that I can help more children if I don't adopt one. He knows how strong my maternal feelings can be.

As you can see from the pictures, I had a wonderful day with the babies. 

Francis prefers to work with teens and older children so it was a real gift to me, that he joined me in the nursery that day and then again, when I wanted to go back for a second day.

Before heading back to Mogra for the second visit, we stopped at a local store to buy diapers. Diapers are expensive in Kenya.  I don't know how the orphanage does it. It is funded only by the kindness of others. I made a mental note to get more diapers and baby clothes for Mogra when I got back to the US.

Poor Francis has to go shopping with me for diapers and wipes for the babies and sanitary pads for the teenage girls living at the orphanage, what a great guy!

David, Mark's driver put the boxes in the trunk. None of this would have been possible without him, and Francis and Mark! You guys all ROCK!

David even got in on the fun and played with the babies.

While at Mogra, I met Susan Armstrong, a nurse from the US embassy, who was teaching First Aid. I asked her is she had any ideas of how I could get donations back to Kenya from the US. She told me that her husband Russell, was in fact, going back to the US and may be able to help. When I got home I contacted Russell and we arranged a day to meet. Now that I had a deadline the wheels were set in motion.

I headed out to Costco to buy diapers. But first,  I stopped to drop off a thank you gift to the Keneficks, who had recently bought the wheelchair for a woman in Ghana. I was so excioted about my trip that I could not help but tell them all about the kids in Kenya. Judy then generously donated $100 to help buy the diapers, in her grandson Ian's name as part of his confirmation gift. This web of generosity is infectious. Not only, did they buy the wheelchair and donate the money but now they are helping the women in the wheelchair get physical therapy advice to help her transition to her new chair.
Diapers were a fraction of the cost at Costco than they were in Kenya. I tried to buy as much as I could while keeping the weight of my suitcase under 50 ponds per the airline specifications.

We keep old suitcases around just for this type of occasion. I filled as much as I could and even had a scinece poster left over to include from the last shipment to Ghana

 On Saturday morning Ken and I met Russell and his beautiful daughter at the Gaylord Hotel at The National Harbor. What a joy it was meeting this wonderful kind hearted family. They even helped nurse a baby from the orphanage back to health and are now in the process of adopting her.

 The girls who live at the children's home with the donations.

Here it is, our old suitcase full of diapers, back in the same room where I loved those sweet babies just two weeks ago. I love it when a plan comes together.

Look for a post to come about the new computer for the school!  Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible: the Armstrong family, Francis, David, Mark, Olga the Keneficks and my husband Ken.