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“Our hearts are forever in Kenya” — The 2014 Kenya Experience

FIRST ENTRY:

Jambo rafikis! (Hello f Kenya 2014 riends!)  We made it to Kajuki safe and sound!  When we first pulled into the village the kids were singing and crowding our buses. The best feeling in the world was looking out the bus window and seeing the kids were chasing us. When we got off the bus they were all immediately surrounding and clinging to us. I think everyone’s heart skipped a beat. We are literally living among the people here in Kajuki. Our dorm is in the heart of the village’s school, St. Peter’s. We are awakened every morning by the songs of the school children here.

Many of us attended mass. It was a very moving experience to be a part of the continual singing and clapping at the little church here in Kaujuki. The day consisted of a lot of committee work, some of our first construction projects, and of course, playing with the kids here. Just being around the kids has been a very eye opening and humbling experience already.

Highlights and funny experiences:

  • There seems to be an abundance of frogs coming out of the shower drain and big spiders in the bathroom- including a variety of oversized plastic ones that some mischievous boys on the team brought from home.  After quite a scare about bed bugs, Justin ensured us that there we were all completely safe in our beds.
  • One of the children asked if we glow in the dark.
  • A little Kenyan baby saw JJ at the school here and immediately started screaming. After the baby was finally consoled by its mother, we were informed that the child had never seen a white person before.
  • I think I speak for every girl here when I say my hair has never had this much attention. It is constantly being pulled at, braided, and touched.

Committee updates:photo 1

  • The school dorm we are building here is starting to come along. The foundation is almost completely laid now after hours and hours of hauling wheelbarrows full of rocks and sand.
  • Vocational committee is finally beginning to understand how to use the sewing machines here. The women we are “teaching” seem to know a lot more about sewing than we do, but we are providing them with essential supplies and knowledge to start a small business.
  • Micro committee’s chicken coop is coming along slowly but surely. We are learning to adapt to the plans and pace of the Kenyan way as we work on the coop. Their ways are different and they aren’t afraid of hard work.
  • Education in the schools around here seems to be well on its way. The English lessons have all been pretty successful and the Youthlincers have had great experiences teaching the kids.
  • Health committee has already done health assessments in the village and had an amazing women’s health fair. The women here seem to relish any information we can give them on personal health. They were so pleased that they concluded the fair with enchanting singing and dancing and a beautiful blessing upon the team members at the health fair.
  • Cultural committee did a great job preparing the opening ceremonies and have been great about providing games and entertainment for the kids.

Though we’ve only just begun the people here have captured our hearts. Britnie and Justin are going to have to do careful headcounts as we leave the village because most of us can’t imagine leaving.

SECOND ENTRY:10385401_10203448476245141_747632839858623460_n

Our vocational committee has been working hard with the women. They are busy sewing headbands, bags, dresses, skirts, aprons, etc. The women are preparing to sell what they have made at a boutique here in Kajuki in just a few days, and we will get to buy from them! The money they make will provide a start up loan for the women to start a business and continue making and selling their products.

Our microenterprise committee’s chicken coup is coming along nicely. It has been quite the experience constructing the “Kenyan way”, but it has been fun! The coup is going to be finished in just a few days and then we will be able to go purchase some chickens! We have also been working hard on teaching the high school children lessons on the 4 P’s of business (product, price, promotion & placement), chicken care, and book keeping. They are the ones that will be taking care of the chicken coup when we are finished here and they are ready for the responsibility! They are so eager to learn and absorb all of the information we can give them, plus they are so funny! The great thing about the coop is that once it is up and running and the chickens are reproducing, not only will the school benefit from the eggs and meet but they will also give flocks of chickens to families who will then pass along offspring to other families. Thus our chicken pass along project will be sustainable and the good will keep on going!!

Our health committee has been busy teaching loads of lessons all over our little village. They have been busy taking health assessments and providing the people here with the proper knowledge and materials to take care of their families. Their latest lesson was on Maturation. It went really well! They are also putting on two more women’s health fairs in the community.

Our education committee has been busy! Our English caKenya-- Crutchesmp is going well — the kids are loving all the attention and learning, and the teachers are loving it equally as much! Everyone has been participating in the camp and it has been a great way to get to know the students and make connections with them.

Our cultural committee has been heading up cultural conversations and it is a lot of student’s favorite activity! It is an awesome experience getting to visit homes of the villagers and getting to know the people and talking to them about their lifestyles and culture. They are so different from us, yet we have so much in common. It is incredibly humbling to see how simply they leave and how happy they are. Also the committee has been preparing for closing ceremonies and we have quite the show planned! It will be great!

Finally, the dorm for the disabled children is going great. The workers are so much fun to work with and they constantly push us to our limits! The dorm is progressing gradually, but it is looking great. Everyone who has participated has come home tired, sore, and dirty. The girls are most definitely out working the guys, but we will keep that our little secret and let them think differently.

All in all everyone seems to be doing great and loving the experience!  We can’t wait for what else lies in store!

THIRD ENTRY:

The vocational committee helped their group of women make over 100 headbands, 50 bags, and 25 aprons. The women have a bright future with their new co-op called Gatumi Kajuki. It was such a pleasure to work with and help these women excel in sewing and provide them with the materials they need to start a small sewing business that is sure to expand.

The microenterprise committee successfully finished the chicken coup! The chickens will be coming in a few weeks to occupy their new accommodations and the secondary students are excited to carry on the responsibility of taking care of them! The students have learned so much and are ready to raise some chickens! The poultry house is the first of its kind in the area of Kajuki and we are excited to see the good of the coop spread out into the community.

Our community health committee had a third and final successful woman’s health fair because the first and second were such a success! The women here in Kajuki love to learn about health and are so excited to apply all of their new knowledge. All in all everything went smoothly and the people have progressed!

The final days of English camp went well and the students were continually excited to learn. We had a graduation ceremony to acknowledge the children’s progress and they were happy to receive official certificates of graduation.

The cultural committee has continued to work on closing ceremonies and the events for our final day with the children. They have been hard at work crafting and creating fun and meaningful games and activities for the kids and youthlincers to participate in.

We can’t believe our time here is nearly up. The trip has flown by. Not only have we met amazing people here in Kajuki but our mentors have been amazing, our alums are invaluable, and our team members who began as strangers are now friends that we will never forget!

FINAL ENTRY:

The women from Gatumi Kajuki and the vocational committee set up a boutique for the women to sell the products they have made in the last week of classes. The boutique was a huge success! Gatumi Kajuki sold tons and tons of their incredible items and made over $750. They will use this money to buy more sewing machines to keep their business moving forward and growing.

The cultural committee put on quite a show! The kids had a blast with face painting, popping balloons, painting nails, jump rope, tug-of-war, bubbles, duck-duck-goose, slack lining, making masks, and playing with each other.

The school children of Kajuki sang and danced their hearts out. We actually had quite a few songs and dances planned ourselves this time around. It was such a neat experience to be able to appreciate each other’s cultures. We are going to miss the people so much and although the ceremony was a sad and heartbreaking experience, thinking of saying goodbye, it was also a great celebration of our time here! We can’t wait to come back to Kajuki! 🙂 Soon we will be heading to Sweet Waters for safari, an amazing culmination to a life changing trip. Our hearts are forever in Kenya!

Youthlinc

Youthlinc is a Utah-based 501c-3 nonprofit dedicated to creating lifetime humanitarians through local and international service. Learn more about our programs by visiting our website: www.youthlinc.org.

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