2/07: Three of last year's medical student volunteers returned to Kenya, along with several other medical students. They continued community development work at EmBulBul, an impoverished village an hour's drive from Nairobi. We wish them godspeed! And...if you care to help with donations for meds and their expenses, please contact:
MED STUDENT VOLUNTEERS '07, POB 1724, NORTH RIVERSIDE IL 60546
3/07: Four other HARAMBEE volunteers were in Kenya for 3 1/2 weeks implementing the 2007 projects:
1) ORT education.
2006 was marked by joy...and tragic loss...for the Mukuru HARAMBEE women's craft group. Two new babies were born: Baby Lorna, and Baby Keen. The volunteer group enjoyed the babies very much, noted how happy and healthy they were. But shortly after our return we learned that Baby Lorna was dead. She had fallen ill with diarrhea, progressed to dysentery, and before she could be gotten to a hospital, became severely dehydrated and died. We are determined that Baby Lorna will not have died in vain. We scheduled visits to clinics in March and April to educate new mothers and pregnant women about the dangers of dehydration. We distributed oral rehydration kits and instruct the mothers in their use.
1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases. 90% are chldren under 5--almost all in developing countries.
Ultimately we do not wish the HARAMBEE women to be dependent on HARAMBEE for marketing their goods in the U.S. In an effort to help them be more independent, we taught them to make small novelty soaps to sell to safari lodges and gift shops.
3) CRITTERS FOR KENYA!
This has been a surprising and very enjoyable new project. In yet another initiative to stimulate local economy and provide a "hand up" for self-sufficiency, we have collected funds to purchase honeybees, milk goats, and chickens for villagers. We are partnering with Baraka Agricultural College (www.sustainableag.org) to provide the beehives, goats, and chickens, and to educate our friends in their proper care. We are working with local schools, clinics, and communities so that many will profit from this project: we don't give charity, we seek responsible partnership. The families who receive the animals will help provide clinics and schools with fresh milk and eggs. And...the firstborn goat or chicks must be given to another family. This project has been surprising because it was initiated only shortly before Christmas, and we hoped to obtain funds for 5 or 6 goats and a few chickens to begin a pilot project. However, all who heard about it loved the idea, and we received about $6,000 from those wo wished to participate. Fortunately, we have much help in Kenya. Our goal is to move ahead responsibly with sustainable projects.