Blanket the world with love!

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
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Trip End Jul 23, 2010


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Where I stayed
Hezekiah's House, Thika City, Happy Valley

Flag of Kenya  , Nairobi Area,
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Blog, Saturday, July 17, Sabrina's Gold Award work!

Gonna’ let Sabrina do this one! This was why she had come along.  Background:  Sabrina and her mother had come to a Partnership Committee meeting with the request that we deliver some blankets for her to an orphanage in Thika, Kenya.  She had undertaking the project for her Girl Scout Gold Award.  We convinced her that she would do better to bring the money and purchase the blankets in Kenya rather than buy them in the states and either pay to get them over in a container or load them into our suitcases!

So, here’s her take on the day!

Our day began in the morning when Hezekiah picked us up from the guest house. We headed to his house to drop off our stuff and get the other car because it was larger and could fit more blankets in the back. Our first stop was the blanket factory. There were many different types of blankets to choose from, so we had someone help us pick out the best one for the purpose of giving them to children in an orphanage. Once we selected the right blanket we had to figure out how many I could purchase with the $ 1,200 that I had raised. My goal and plan in America was to purchase 100 blankets, so when I was told that I could purchase 440 blankets I was completely shocked. After handing over the money to the factory they began bringing out large bags containing 25 blankets each. In the end I had 17 of these bags plus one more with 15 blankets. When we tried loading the car, even the larger car that we brought was not big enough, it could only hold 5 bags of blankets, which would mean at least 4 trips back and forth between the factory and the orphanage.  We thought about how to transport the blankets without making so many trips and decided that we needed to rent a truck. We waited for the truck for a little while and sat in amazement with how many blankets we had purchased. When the truck arrived the blankets were loaded into the back and had to be tied on because they were stacked so high. Once the truck was ready and loaded we headed to the orphanage. As we pulled into the orphanage the boys all came running to the driveway and were ready and willing to help unload and carry the blankets to the building. It was amazing to see the happiness in each boy’s face as even the smallest of them attempted to pick up and carry a bag of blankets without help. Along with all of the boys, we were also greeted by Eleanor, the volunteer director of Action for Children in Conflict, with whom I have been communicating over the past couple years about my project.

When all the blankets were unloaded we sat in a circle with Eleanor the boys and we all introduced ourselves. I explained my project to them and how I came to choose Action for Children in Conflict to be the center where the blankets would be donated. After the introductions were over we allowed the boys to ask us any questions that they had. One of the boys, who is very active in his scouting, asked me to each them a song that I had learned in girl scouts, so I tried to teach them The Littlest Worm. After I taught them a song they had a few songs that they wanted to sing to welcome us and thank us for coming and visiting them. All of the boys were very appreciative and thankful for the gift that I gave them and for us coming to visit. When we were through with the circle, a few of the boys gave us a tour of the orphanage, from the goat pen, which they were very proud of, to the staff room, classrooms, and dormitories. After the tour we said goodbye to all of the boys and headed out to complete the rest of our day.   One of their classrooms was on the porch because the landlord (they rent property from the owner of the huge estate!) had not paid the electric bill and the electricity had been cut off.  They did add some solar electricity for supplementing the electrical system, too, and had the solar box locked for its protection. also had a concern with the landlord, and therefore had not taken over and used a room newly built, because she felt the room was not built well and the center would be blamed for damage somehow!

The experience of purchasing and personally delivering the blankets was very fulfilling. It was wonderful to be able to see the joy that it brought to each and every child, and to see how appreciative each boy was when they found out that one of the blankets in those bags would be theirs to keep. It is a very good feeling to finally be done with this project that has been going on for 2 years now, and it is an even better feeling to know that I more than quadrupled my goal, providing that many more children warmth and comfort.

[Don:  my part to finish!]

After the delivery of the blankets and the reception and tour of the Center, we had to find a cyber café in Thika Town to make copies of my sermon for the next day, so that the translator could have a copy from which to translate my English into Kiswahili (much better attended than the first service, English, since more of the members are comfortable with their national language than with the English, which is the language of business and education.

Ann had stayed home during the outings to purchase the blankets and deliver them, enjoying a rich encounter with Hezekiah’s wife Catherine, who is a stay-at-home mother with a business of raising chickens, selling eggs and no longer laying hens, a few zero-grazing goats and a small plot for vegetables and corn, a couple of paw paw trees, and raising three children.
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