The last blog ended on Monday night, at the beginning of our trip, before anything had really started. It is now Saturday, almost the end of our trip, so I will attempt to fill you in on what each committee has done throughout the week.
Education committee put on an awesome English Camp from Monday to Friday. Each Youthlinc member taught 4-6 classes throughout the week. We taught the Ntumbara kids everything from First Aid, to butterflies, and even about snow here in Utah. Maddie and Megan taught the kids music lessons each day. We brought them plenty of ukulele’s as instruments. We used part of our funds to send the school to a music contest! The music contest is equivalent to a High School State Championship. We were so happy to hear that Ntumbara took 1st place!! Mrs. Tom, the principal was so happy to tell all of us, and the kids were extremely excited. On Friday, the education committee put on a graduation celebration. They let the kids decorate backpacks, and play games with the supplies we all donated. English Camp was a huge success!
The Vocational committee has been teaching some of the women from the village how to knit hats, scarves, and hot pads. They also sewed pillowcase dresses, and even a few skirts. They have been working so hard all week. Today, on Saturday, all of the women put on a Boutique. They brought everything up to the dining hall and sold a lot of the items they made. All the money they made from the boutique is profit for them, because all of their primary materials were donated by Youthlinc. The boutique helps the women make enough money to have start up capital to buy more supplies, and be able to start their business.
The Community Health Committee has been able to put on three health fairs. The first one was a women’s health fair in Kathwana. We had about 50 women. We were able to teach them six different lessons: How to clean water, basic hygiene, how to clean your teeth, basic first aid, prenatal care, and the effects from smoking. Our second women’s health fair had about 80 women. This one was so big, and the women were so happy to see us. Our final health fair was a men’s fair. We had about 20 men come, and it was very interactive and really enjoyable. The health committee was really pleased with the turn out of the heath fairs this year. We were also very happy to be able to supply around 300 hygiene kits which were given out to everyone that attended the health fairs as well as to the families we visited during home visits.
The Cultural Committee has now put on two fun fairs. The first one was at the Kathwana School. It was extremely successful. They painted nails, played volleyball, and blew bubbles. They put on a second health fair at St. Peters, the place where we are staying. The kids at St. Peter’s get to see us a few times a day, and know all of our names, so this fun fair was especially wonderful. The committee also set up our Cultural Conversations/Home Visits. We were all able to go on Home Visits at least once. We go in groups of 3 to 5, along with with a translator, to the homes of the families that live around the schools. We are able to sit with them and ask them questions about how they live. It is a great way to understand their culture, and let them understand ours too. The Cultural Committee is also painting a mural at one of the schools. We are doing it at the Ntumbara school, a place where we have spent a lot of our time. It has been really cool to see all of the different murals left here from prior Youthlinc teams. The Cultural Committee also has a big day on Monday. They are putting on a fun fair at Ntumbara in the morning, and we have closing ceremonies in the evening, just before we leave on Tuesday.
The Business Committee has been able to teach lessons throughout the week. They had a group of 11 men who formed co-op businesses last year that they continued to work with this year. They also taught to the vocational ladies business elements that will help them to start a business from the skills that the vocational team has taught them. They were also able to teach two of the teachers from Ntumbara how to run a successful business with a chicken coop.
We’ve been doing a lot of committee work, but we all also have been able to take a few turns doing construction. We have had a few different projects going on. We have helped build a kitchen at the Kathwana School. We helped clear out one of the fallen walls at the Ntumbara school. We built another school room at the Ntumbara site as well. We have also helped set up a chicken coop at the Ntumbara school. Some of the teachers wanted to begin a business, and we decided to help.
Overall we have had an extremely successful week here, and we will be sad to leave on Tuesday morning. Luckily, we still have two full days left, with jam packed schedules. We have had some wonderful moments here, from attending mass all over the city, to making friends at each school, mixing cement, teaching children, and getting to open the letters our parents have written for all of us. We have laughed and we have cried, but as I sit here writing this blog to all of you, my team around me is discussing how great Youthlinc is as an organization, and what a difference we are all able to make each day we are here. I know that each of us here wants to thank everyone back home for letting us come to Kenya, and helping us make the differences we are enacting here. As much as we all want to stay, we cannot wait to be able to come home see all of you and tell you our amazing stories!