Friday, December 26, 2008
Their house reminded me so much of Angel Cottage in Nairobi. It is a home that is incomplete. It has no roof. It cannot be lived in yet. Angel Cottage has been on my mind a lot recently and the need for completion was hammered home by an e-mail from Beatrice. Trying to be such a wonderful steward of money that has been donated, she has been purchasing items needed for construction as money comes in and at the best prices available. She was able to get a wonderful deal on some bags of cement that will be needed for the slab that will be the roof. The bags of cement are being stored. Her e-mail brought to our attention that if we store these for too much longer they will become unusable, as moisture will inevitably cause them to harden. It is very difficult to find a dry place to store these with the rainy seasons, and climate in that area. The thought of going backwards on this project was really devastating. We just can't go backwards.
Angel Cottage to me is an example of all that Angel Covers works towards. Yes, it will be a home for orphans and deaf children, but it is more than that. Right now there are deaf children that are being turned away because there isn't enough room in the current Angel Cottage. That means they also aren't in school at Humble Hearts because it is too far and too dangerous for them to walk on a daily basis. What it really means is they aren't in school at all, because there aren't other deaf schools that children from the slums of Nairobi can attend due to the costs. Instead they remain at home. They don't know sign language. Their families don't know sign language. They have no way to communicate to the world around them. Their families incomes are so small, that they most likely don't eat on a regular basis. In many cases they may be abused, as the families don't know how to communicate with them and get frustrated with these children they consider an embarrassment. This is not the way children are meant to grow up.
Angel Cottage would change all of that. It would mean a place to live where they are understood. A chance to learn how to communicate with the world around them. A chance to receive an education. A chance to have three meals a day, and a chance to be cared for medically with things that could normally not be afforded. It is the holistic program for children that Angel Covers strives to help create. But it has been slow. The poor economy here has not helped. My Christmas wish is that Angel Cottage will be completed in the first six months of 2009.
My jaw fell open two days before Christmas when I received news of a donation for Angel Cottage. It was a wonderful donation from a very kind individual that will allow the slab for the roof to be completed. Not going backwards on the project, but forward! It took me from feeling somewhat defeated to being excited and energized about it again.
I need your help. Spread the word. Donate a couple of dollars if you can. Make it your New Years resolution to help see this project completed.
Christmas day was wonderful. I enjoyed time with Kari and the kids. We gave each other wonderful things, but those items just don't fill the voids in life that we know about. This is my, not so secret anymore, Christmas wish! What is yours?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Given the recent concerns about Melamine in Chinese formula, we were so relieved to learn that none of the children in Huaibei developed kidney stones. Angel Covers only purchases Nestle’s formula, which has not been shown to have elevated Melamine levels. We are so thankful that the children of Huaibei have remained safe and healthy through this terrible scare.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thanks to everyone who talked to her through the online chat, took the time to meet her, have her in your homes, and show her this beautiful country of ours. She had a wonderful time, much was learned, and many new people learned how they too can help Humble Hearts.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Also, check out our Giving Works page on eBay. All of the items listed have a portion of the proceeds coming to Angel Covers. All funds raised will go to Angel Cottage.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
As you may know, the budget for Angel Cottage is approximately $90,000. To date $40,000 has been raised and the structure is being built as quickly as funds will allow. But while in Kenya, I learned many new things that have given me even more faith in this project.
Two years ago land was purchased for Angel Cottage. Soon after two additional plots of land were purchased for the future secondary school. We then decided to build Angel Cottage several stories high so that the new secondary school could occupy the second story, which will cost less to build than an entirely new building. Now the land is not only home to the developing Angel Cottage, but will also have lots of space for kids to play. In large part because of Beatrice's amazing work.
When construction began on Angel Cottage, local people in the area noticed this huge project and wanted to buy land close by. Seeing this opportunity, Beatrice contacted the land owner and convinced him to give Humble Hearts 4 additional plots of land for free. Not a marketing professional by trade, Beatrice convinced the land owner that by giving Humble Hearts the land he would be able to tell others what great work is happening there, which will increase the price the rest of the land can be sold for.
Additionally, Beatrice has been working with businesses throughout Nairobi to get free and discounted building materials. More than $7,000 in materials have been donated and dozens of bags of concrete and rods of steel have been purchased at discounted prices. For instance, Beatrice has been able to purchase bags of concrete for 585 shillings rather than 780 shillings, saving approximately $3 US per bag of concrete. Higher quality steel was purchased for almost $15 per rod less because they were purchased from the factory, something everyone in Nairobi isn't able to do. Next month a bank is visiting Humble Hearts and Angel Cottage. Last Christmas this bank purchased gifts for all of the children. This year they are interested in helping with construction costs. Keep your fingers crossed that they will decide to become a sponsor of Angel Cottage.
Financial accountability is of utmost importance to all of us at Angel Covers. These examples show that making the most of the money provided is as important to Beatrice. She works every day to get the best price on materials and works to find companies or individuals willing to donate anything needed.
Please continue to spread the word about this worthwhile project. Your donation will go as far as possible...we are making sure of that in the US as well as in Kenya.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Beatrice told me last night that there are at least 7 kids who need glasses and an eye exam, there is at least 1 boy who has typhoid, and 2 deaf children who need hearing tests and aids. This of course doesn't include the children who have asthma or other respiratory problems. The good news is that children who have looked so sick in the past, now look great. Karen, Samson looks wonderful! He's still very small, about the size of a 9 year old and he's 15, but he's clearly much stronger. He's filled out, doesn't look sickly, and has put on enough weight to keep his pants up. :-) The milk and other nutrition he's getting is certainly working.
I learned so much about Angel Cottage and what Beatrice is doing here to make the construction go faster. I'll post more about this later, but know she's getting incredible donations from businesses here of materials and staff. She's amazing.
Later this week more posts will be coming about our trip. In the meantime, keep spreading the word about the needs. I've already seen donations for Angel Cottage and of band-aids. What a blessing!
Sunday has been spent purchasing items for our upcoming auction. That's always great fun because I know the items will bring such joy and needed help to our education programs. The auction is in November, and check the website for specific dates so you can mark your calender. The rest of the day will be filled with paperwork, and errands. Not much fun, but very needed.
I will not be able to post about Monday before I leave, as we leave Kenya at 9:50pm Monday night. Just know that many more posts will be coming when I return. There is so much to tell everyone...much more than I can get in any blog.
Thank you all for your support! You're changing the world.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The dedication of the teachers was obvious during the interviews. I had the privilege of interviewing 5 and all love their jobs. They are working for approximately $90 a month, compared to 4 or 5 times that in government schools. One of the deaf teachers was told her entire life by her father that she could not go to school because she was partially deaf. She would sneak out of the house to go to school and when caught, would be locked in. She convinced the neighbor child to rip his textbook in half and give her half his pencil so she could study. After being severely beaten by a teacher because she didn't understand what he was saying, so lost all hearing in her left ear and for years had puss coming out of the other ear. After not passing the national exams to attend college, she worked in the rural areas growing ground nuts to pay for another year of high school in order to fulfill her dream to be a teacher. Against all odds she eventually attended teaching college and is now working at Humble Hearts. We are BLESSED to have her.
These are just a few of the stories I learned yesterday. The dedication of these great people is beyond compare. I'll post more stories when I return, but know you are a part of great things.
The day was started by sorting the 3 huge suitcases full of school supplies, maps, pens, pencil sharpeners, stickers, toys, medicine, and countless other things we brought the kids. The teachers said over and over again it was like an early Christmas. The children had huge smiles on their faces and we were thrilled to be able to provide them with things they can't get in Kenya or cost too much to buy. The teachers were completely out of pens, and seeing their faces light up because of something so simple was great. We also recorded the heights and weights of all of the kids in school.
One thing we learned is still needed are bandaids. So, if any of you would like to purchase a box and send it to Humble Hearts by yourself, or send it to Angel Covers and we'll mail it for you, that would be great. All sizes are needed.
The afternoon was spent at the Dagoetti School. This is a school of approximately 590 children with very little outside financial support. Another suitcase full of items was given to them and they were equally pleased. Angel Covers has started chicken projects and purchased cows for the school, which were feeding 300 of the children 3 days a week. However, with the recent post election violence, the cows were stolen and most of the chickens have died due to disease because vaccines had to be missed because of the turmoil. The stories the men tell of tribal members hiding in the woods to burn houses, churches, and kill individuals just for the sake of killing are simply beyond anything I've ever heard before. The teachers are grateful to be alive for sure. The cow shed and the chicken coops remain, but funds are not available or another cow and there are only funds for 100 chicken, rather than the 500 they previously had. If you would like to help with this great need, please go to the donation page Textbooks and funds for teacher's salaries are also needed.
After visiting Dagoretti, we went shopping! It became clear that the children of Angel Cottage are in great need of boots for the rainy season. We were able to give each of them a new backpack yesterday morning, along with many of the secondary kids. So, the evening was spent buying rain boots, more backpacks, toys, and sanitary pads for the older girls. Many of you have asked me how much those are. Right now the cost is 70 or 75 shillings depending on what is purchased and the exchange rate is 68 shillings per dollar. So, for just over 1 dollar a girl can stay in school each month.
Tomorrow will be spent gathering bios and photos of children who still need sponsors, interviewing teachers, sorting textbooks, and taking pictures of sponsored children. Even though school started for the term on Monday, not all of the children have reported. We are hoping they will all report by Monday of next week so we can get pictures of everyone.
Internet is spotty at best, but feel free to email any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to hear from you!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
being made of concrete in order to provide greater security and will not only house the cow, but will also house the chickens and have a room for the caretaker to live it. The construction of the shed is next to a new garden. Frequently Angel Covers is given funds that can be used for anything Humble Hearts needs. Being a forward thinker, Beatrice has leased land for a garden and has planted kale and spinach for the children of Humble Hearts. Although the plants are small now, it's clear that this garden will produce a lot of food for the children.
Angel Cottage construction is truly amazing. Much bigger than it seems on paper, Angel Cottage will be a wonderful home for at least 80 children. Walls are up and the next step is to put the 'slab' or roof on the top. Angel Cottage is being built in a manner that 3 additional stories can be built on top to house even more children. Beatrice has already started mapping out where all of the names will go on the bricks and it's going to be lovely. All of the names will be located next to the play area for the children so they always see each name as they are outside playing. Please tell all your family and friends about this great opportunity. each brick can be purchased for a minimum donation of $10 to Angel Covers and will completely change a life.
Paying for Angel Cottage has to be a top priority. 36 children are currently crammed in 2 rooms and Beatrice knows of at least another 20 who need a home. The day the new Angel Cottage opens, at least 56 children will move in. we will soon be sending out a newsletter telling you how you can help this exceptional cause.
Today we will organize all of the supplies we bought and go to the Dagoretti school, where we have started chicken and cow projects.
Please spread the word to everyone you know. Your efforts are changing lives!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Yesterday was wonderful. After exchanging money, we shopped for all of the food for the staff appreciation party. And what a fun party that was. Way too much food was made, and of course we just had to eat it all. The staff of Humble Hearts are all wonderful. They love the kids and they love their jobs, despite the fact that they are under paid and working in less that optimal conditions. We give them gifts of hand made wooden pens and they couldn't have loved them more. Everyone was so grateful and I was quick to tell them that without all of them working hard for the kids, the school would be nothing. The evening ended well after dark after lots of singing and dancing. It couldn't have been more perfect.
Today we will be buying textbooks for the school (we ran out of time yesterday), visiting the Angel Cottage construction, and sorting through all of the school supplies we brought. I walked around HH yesterday and realized how much things have changed in the past 2 years since I was last here. The water tank purchased 2 years ago is invaluable. The garden planted by a wonderful group from Oregon make everything look so fresh, and the concrete on the floors of some of the classrooms make it possible for the children to learn without sinking into the mud.
There is still lots of work to do though. 7 1/2 classrooms still need concrete on the floors, roofs need to be fixed, and there are never enough textbooks, desks, or supplies. Please spread the word as much as you can about these great kids, staff, and needs. Everyone who talks about this school to others is helping is a huge way. Once again these children have stolen our hearts and I hope they will steal yours too.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Our nutrition facilitator in China, Cindy, just visited Huaibei and sent some of the best pictures. The baby on the right is called “laughing Buddha” by the orphanage staff. How adorable is that?! You can see why too. She looks so happy.
Thanks to all of your support, the babies continue to look great. The orphanage continues to use the cleft bottles we sent, which is obvious from the pictures of the babies with cleft lips. They are looking great. Not too skinny at all. And 2 will be having surgery soon! That's a huge blessing because they wouldn't be able to have surgery if they didn't weigh enough.
We are going to send more formula and rice cereal this month. Cindy said the orphanage was clean and neat and that the aunties take very good care of the babies. Many of the younger children are attending kindergarten outside of the orphanage during the day, which is wonderful. We will be purchasing formula that is good for the toddlers too (Neslac) because there aren't as many infants right now. This formula is also especially good for the babies with medical needs and was purchased in April 2008 with great success. The kids love the taste and it’s full of great nutritional benefits for all of the kids. We will also continue to provide more than 200 bags of rice cereal each month.
In February we were able to purchase heater/ air-conditioning units that are getting a lot of use right now. This area of China is not only very hot in the summer, but also very humid. These air-conditioners are preventing heat sores and sleepless nights.
The support of so many is making this program invaluable. Children are not only happier, but they are healthier, and are able to have surgery if needed because they are strong. If you would like to be a part of this life-changing program, please email me at email@example.com Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve done for these children. You are making it possible for them to have a full life.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
“When I couldn’t attend school due to my financial difficulties, you, though located so far away, extended a pair of helping and warm hands to me and pulled me out of my difficulties. In my heart, I truly feel happiness. Due to my family’s financial difficulties, I almost had to quit school. It was you that provided me this opportunity to continue studying
Many of the students wrote about the struggles their families face. Most of the girls come from very small, remote villages with little economic opportunity. Their families are struggling to make ends meet with an average income of only $98 a year.
“My family’s financial situation is very bad. Both my father and mother are working. It’s very difficult for us to pass the days. My parents were willing to continue supporting me only because I studied well. Otherwise, I would have been married out very early. It was at this time that you, like a deity, appeared in my life. Only because of your help was I able to regain brightness in my life.” ~ZhaXi
“Everyone in my family is a farmer. Our financial situation isn’t too good. My mom is disabled. We rely on the Chinese caterpillar fungus that my mother and brother dig up and sell in order to pay for our living expenses. My parents have worked hard and been through many difficulties.”~DuoJi
“I will use what you’ve shown me with your selfless and love-filled contribution to go help and protect other people.” ~SangJi
"I admire the size of your heart. You have inspired me to study hard so I can help someone as you have helped me. I wish you all of the health and prosperity in the world." ~LiMao
To all our wonderful Mama’s Wish sponsors we send,"Ten Thousands and Thousands of thanks to you." Your gift truly is making dreams come true for these amazing young women.
2008-09 Mama’s Wish Sponsorship
Mama’s Wish is currently looking for a few new sponsors for the upcoming 2008-09 school year. Sponsorships for a student to attend high school are just $10 per month. A one year sponsorship covers education fees, with some left over to help support living expenses. As a sponsor you will receive education reports with photos of your student, and you will have the opportunity to send and receive correspondence.
We also have several college students who are in need of sponsorship help for the upcoming school year. These amazing young women have beaten all the odds, passed the entrance exams, and are now attending University. With our help these bright women are on their way to fulfilling their dreams of becoming doctors, teachers, and community leaders. College sponsorships start at $35 a month.
You can learn more about the Mama’s Wish Education program by visiting our website http://www.angelcovers.org/mamawish.html
Photos of the students currently needing sponsorship can be found here: http://www.angelcovers.org/mamawishsponsorship.html
If you are interested in sponsoring a student or have questions about the Mama’s Wish program please contact Karen@angelcovers.org
Karen MacNair- Mama’s Wish Sponsorship Coordinator
Monday, June 23, 2008
Because of a partnership between the Chapman’s and Dr. Joyce and Robin Hill, this 60,000 sq ft facility will care for 128 medically fragile infants and toddlers . One hundred baby bouncers are needed for SHHH in order to help provide these babies with the best care possible.
Maria was a beautiful little girl with a huge smile and contagious laugh. Please help us spread her joy for life to the children of SHHH. Only $10 purchases one of these bouncers and will bring countless hours of happiness to these needy children. http://www.angelcovers.org/chapman.html