Progress_Jan_2010

PROGRESS REPORT, January 2010

HARAMBEE

"All pull together"
nonprofit organization for Africa's HIV+ women

 K. Harrison, Founder (708) 983-4159

Dr. John McNulty & I set out for Zambia and Kenya on January 12 with an overnight stop in London, just enough time to visit Hampton Court, home of Henry VIII. We encountered the dear man strolling to the chapel for his 3rd…or maybe 4th… wedding.  Time didn’t permit us to stay for the party but with royalty like him there’s always another opportunity!  The agenda for this 3½ week Africa journey was heavily weighted with our AMEN academic & service project (Africa Medical Education Network), but we also spent time checking the animal projects, crafts, solar cookers, & the telemedicine clinic. Fr. Richard Chiyanjano, Office of Peace, Justice, & Development in eastern Zambia, took us to Mgabi village, where we were greeted with a ceremonial dance before looking at HARAMBEE’s sponsored co-op piggery.

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On the drive back we visited the 2nd piggery we’re helping to fund (below). (Aw, c’mon…buy a pig in  Zambia in your mother-in-law’s honor for her birthday!)  We also viewed damage done to the local church during a windstorm.  It is not HARAMBEE’s mission to help restore churches, but we were sad to see this damage & edified by the deep devotion of those who continue to attend Mass here.  And…should anyone out there have a special urge to help, HARAMBEE can send directed donations to Zambia for a specific need.  At this same site we saw—live and in action—the caterpillars which I vividly recall from a past trip when I

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New piggery
Damaged church
Fr. Richard at the altar
Homemade bass
Wow and UGH!

encountered them fried on my dinner plate.  Other Zambia stops of note:  Two hospitals where Stritch (Loyola) medical students will volunteer this summer.  I hope they are prepared;  it is painful to see children hospitalized for malnutrition, a beautiful new donated X-ray machine sitting unused because of no money to train a technician, & a premature baby outside an incubator due to lack of supplies/electricity.

 

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A common sight
Sr. Esperanza, love in brown skin & a veil.
Preemie, Lumezi Hospital
Happy Mom - her baby recovering from malaria
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There are now 2 countries where Heidi Horan’s crocheted tote bags from plastic will be legendary.  Want to buy one?  Write us.  We brought more crochet hooks & patterns to distribute.  Everyone loves the idea, helping our groups & the earth.  

HARAMBEE’s projects—made possible by your compassion & generosity—won’t bring large scale change.  HARAMBEE will never be the Red Cross and I will never be Bill Gates.  We won’t wipe out malaria or reverse a failing economy in any developing country.  But when I look at the chubby cheeks of a single child gaining weight from drinking rich goat milk everyday, I feel the touch of God.  One child, one goat, in a country far away & terribly different from our “normal” American life--yet in a world driven by electronics, consumed with large numbers, supersizing, & better living through must-have “stuff” there yet is value in living simply & in helping just one.  At the other end, there is value in the widow’s mite.  I love writing a thank you note to someone of small income who is moved to send a check for $5, all they can spare.  How great is that gift in the eyes of God!

Helping large numbers of people is important, and so are large dollar amounts.  But I have a great big hunch that God isn’t looking at statistics.

Goats:  In my heart of hearts, I enjoy our dairy goat work best.  To those of you who have donated one or more goats for families in Kenya:  I beg your patience for news & photos as we catch up on this program.  Widespread drought in Kenya slowed progress. It’s a bad idea to bring a high-priced animal to a home where there is no forage & almost no water. The drought has now eased & more goats are being purchased. We were SO lucky to arrive at Upendo Village in Naivasha on the same day as a lorry with five new goats!  John & I watched in fascination as they were ear-tagged, then we hopped in the truck to help deliver them.  Words can’t describe the joy of seeing their long awaited & life-giving arrival at their new homes.  This round we have goats named Carol, Helen, Anita, Celeste, Ronnie, Osama Junior, Smelly, & Ole. Stay tuned for more!

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New and wonderful: When you educate a girl, you educate a family.   Yet in villages throughout the developing world, far fewer girls attend school than boys. In Kaluoki Village, home of our school porridge program, the teachers & mothers asked us to help solve the problem of girls leaving school when they begin menstruating.   Without pads, the girls stay home one week every month.  Soon they fall behind,  easily succumbing to pressures to leave school.  And would you believe that $8 is enough to supply a girl with sanitary pads for an entire year?!  So this is what we did with some of your donations:  We formed a girls-only club, a “secret society” in which girls support each other to do well in school & stay away from bad influences (older boys & drugs).  They signed a contract to remain in school til the end of the year and in return we supplied new underpants, bar soap, & pads.  It was a fun & exciting time, & I asked John to give them some fatherly advice & encouragement, which they loved.  Really good news is that I met with Bethar Kokach, head of a group in Nairobi that does the same work with adolescent girls. She agreed to  follow up with the girls & teachers & also to talk with the boys about mature behavior—an important detail I’d overlooked.  So Bethar will help us & we will help her.  If this project sparks your interest, send HARAMBEE a check for $8 and we’ll send you a coupon showing you’ve donated 600 Kenya shillings for SaniBank, helping a Kenyan girl in this very personal way.  Also in Kaluoki, our chicken project continues to expand.  We had yet another ceremony where those provided with a pair chickens in August shared chicks from their new flocks to more members recruited for the co-op.  And I still don’t like chickens.

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Adolescent girls in our new club at Kaluoki Village
Primary school kids, most without shoes

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Birth of telemedicine: John & Fr. Richard, satellite dish in Zambia, our 1st experiment.
Meeting with AMEN students at Kenyatta University
Steve and Samuel, scholarship hopefuls. Both are excellent students. Neither has meas for a higher education. In Kenya there are not education loans, few scholarships.

John & I focused on moving the AMEN project along, meeting with more administrators & networking for help.  We had an interview with the Social Responsibility Officer of Microsoft Corp. in Nairobi.  Please say a prayer that our grant application meets with his favor.  This project, partnering U.S. & African med students for education, service, & health care in the context of community development, has potential to promote social justice and influence untold numbers of deserving Africans. Medical training in Kenya costs about $1,000 per year. HARAMBEE, as partner in AMEN, will provide scholarships for qualified students who otherwise would never have an opportunity for education…or for service.  To pay back, students will contract to serve in their home areas after graduation for a specified length of time.  It’s important to identify these students early on, so we met with Fr. Terry Charlton, director of St. Aloysius Gonzaga high school in Kibera slum & with Sr. Florence Muia in Upendo Village.  We spoke with scholarship candidates & were impressed with their hard work, ambition, & hope in the face of overwhelming odds.  Please help us in our “GROW A DOC” program, which we see as a wise investment in our world’s future. A donation of $5 or more will get you a charming gift card for birthday, anniversary, Easter, Mother’s Day, or another occasion.  We will tailor a gift card for any need you have.

And…of course we still have gift cards for chickens ($15/pair), pigs ($50), dairy goats ($150), solar cookers ($35), reforestation , and beehives.  You have funded dozens of goats (shared with the community each time they kid—usually twins), hundreds of chickens,  a dozen pigs, about 400 solar cookers, lots of trees, lots of beehives, and lots of training at Baraka Agricultural College.  Thank you!          

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Got milk?
Dorcas, nutritionist & cousin of our board member Fr. George Omwando. She does great work in Kibera, largest slum in Africa.
A grim reminder: HIV still prevalent, deaths common, money for funerals scarce.

When needs are great and children are at risk, an immediate impulse is to pull out your wallet or checkbook.  Sometimes this is appropriate & saves lives.  However, HARAMBEE tries hard to avoid practices that foster a culture of dependency.  We want to give a hand up, not just a handout.

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Uh oh - runaway
Ignominy - Keen decked (again) by a confused (or vengeful)goat
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With love and gratitude,
Keen

HARAMBEE
POB 1724 North Riverside, IL 60546

Keen

  

 

      There is no more “them” and “us.”  We’re all in the human family;  it’s all “US.”