Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Last Day in Kenya

Today is my last day in Kenya, and I assume my last blog. Yesterday was very interesting, we went to Dagoretti to drop some supplies off at the school. Dagoretti is a much larger school than Humble Hearts, yet in more need than Humble Hearts. We toured the school, and ate some roasted peanuts, hot chocolate, and bananas. Roasted peanuts in the United States are roasted and then packaged; but in Kenya, they are roasted and served warm. They are the best.

After leaving Dagoretti, we went to the Java Cafe and had some lunch. We then went over to the enormous Nakumatt (Kenyan Walmart, with way more in it: Appliances, furniture, etc.) and looked at mattresses for Humble Hearts. We bought 10 mattresses and packed them in the back of Beatrice's car. We had to fold down the back seat and sit on the back of the back seat with the mattresses in our backs.

We left the store at 5:00. This is very important to know about the car ride home. We got stuck in traffic on the way back. We finally got back to the house, and it was 8:01. This was the biggest traffic jam I had ever seen. People ran out of gas because they were just burning fuel when stopped behind cars.

Today, we went to another store and bought some more mattresses, seven to be exact. This was not quite enough to have to fold down the back seat, but the trunk was packed. The kids were so happy to have the new mattresses at the school. Along with mattresses, we also ordered four, triple bunk beds, so that all the kids would be off the floor.

We leave at around 10:30 Kenya time tonight, and I have learned a lot. I am really excited to get home to my friends and family.

-Jacob Fillmore

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Day in Kenya

After another couple of days in Kenya, lots has happened. Yesterday was picture day at Humble Hearts. We made all the kids name tags and took their pictures one by one by class. After all the kids in the school had their pictures taken, the kids went back to their classes.

A little while later kids started piling on the see-saw. I quickly went over to play with them. At one point we had 10 kids on the see-saw. I was operating the see-saw so that the kids would get their enjoyment out of it, and not just sit there.

Today, before we went to Humble Hearts, we went to a shop to see what it would cost to get some more beds for Humble Hearts. When we got to Humble Hearts, we had a lot to do. Right away, we went into the kitchen to start making popcorn for all the kids and staff. Along with popcorn, the kids were also getting soda, yogurt candies, and biscuits (cookies).

It was a lot of fun to put the popcorn in bags and put the biscuits in with them. After that, I went out and played a game of tag on the jungle gym. I was moving around so much on the metal bars that my hand got a blister. We then finally went to the field and started sports day. There was a sprint (which I came last in), a relay race, a volley ball game and a soccer game.

After all the sporting activities were through, we passed out the popcorn, soda, and candy. The kids were really happy to have all this, and it was a lot of fun, yet we are now all really tired.

-Jacob Fillmore

Monday, October 17, 2011

Working Hard at Humble Hearts

Monday in Nairobi was full of hard work. Ida and Jacob spent hours taking pictures of all the kids at the school, sponsored or not. Ida also interviewed all of the children who don't have sponsors and collected wonderful new social history information. So, if you know someone who is interested in sponsoring, we have 30 or so kids who need someone.

With only 120 kids at Humble Hearts now, passing out supplies takes much less time. Every child at the school received a water bottle, 3 pencils, a toothbrush and tooth paste. Markers, colored pencils, stickers, band aids, back packs, highlighters, more toothbrushes and toothpaste, even more pencils and pens, crayons, deodorant, and countless other things are all stored in the office and will be passed as as the children need them.

Recently, Raising Hope International donated funds for a playground to be built. Saying the kids love it, would be like saying the ocean is a puddle. :-) They are THRILLED and spend every moment possible on the swings, slide, seesaw, and jungle guy. A man was also hired to paint a mural on the wall next to the playground. The cheerful pictures next to the playground, and the equipment painted bright colors, creates a very happy place for the kids to play after a long day at school. Jacob spent a long time playing with the kids on the playground today.

Lots of time is being spent learning about possible income generating projects for Humble Hearts. Hours of brain-storming is leading great ideas and hoping in the next couple of days we'll have plans that will make a huge different to Humble Hearts.

Tomorrow will be another day with lots of works, so stay tuned!

ps. Apparently in the 1st blog about this trip I said that we arrived on the 22nd. Of course that's not right, since it's not even the 22nd yet. We arrived on the 12th (after leaving Denver on the 11th) and will arrive home on the 21st. Clearly jet-lag has set it. :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kenya, from Jacob's perspective

My 13 yr. old son is with me in Kenya on this trip. here's a blog from his perspective.

During my time in Kenya so far, lots has happened. We first went to the textbook store, to purchase all the textbooks that Humble Hearts needs. There were three big boxes of textbooks to give to the school. We then went to the school (Humble Hearts) and got to work right away. We unloaded all six suitcases that had been brought with us, and distributed: toothbrushes and toothpaste, pencils, pens, waterbottles, and vitamins to the children.

It was amazing to see how excited a child can get over a pencil, in the US, we look at a pencil as a object of no signifigance, and shrug when someone offers one to us. Yet in Kenya, the kids faces light up with the brightest smile when they recieve one.

At Humble Hearts, a man is painting a mural on the wall, it is a very nice painting, of the alphabet and most of the sign languare alphabet (not all leters are there), and two dolphins swimming in a circle. Along with painting the wall, he also painted the new playground equipment. The playground equipment is very simple, all metal swings, a slide, and a see saw (which in my opinion, is built better than some cars).

Today we went to the market downtown, where everyone has there things laid out on a blanket on the ground. there are no set prices for things, so you barter for the thing you want. The person selling the item, usually tells you the price is double or more than what it should be, So when i wanted to buy this colorful hippo, they told me it was 500 shillings (about $5).
i said i would pay 250 shillings, and after a minute or two, they let me have it for 250 shillings. The problem was, i did my math wrong, and thought they gave me 50 shillings extra in change, yet they shorted me 50 shillings, so I really paid 300 shillings. :(

Even though I have not been here very long, i am really glad I am here to help out.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Kenya and Humble Hearts

It's been WAY TOO LONG since anyone at Angel Covers has posted a blog. Fortunately, what that means is that we've been crazy busy with so many wonderful things going on. We were thrilled to find out that we made it to the top 10 of the Gildan competition, The Mama's Wish girls have started back to school (we have 10 high school girls who need sponsors if you're interested), a new website is being built, we have a new Nutrition Director, and our Executive Director (that's me) and Humble Hearts Sponsorship coordinator (Ida) are in Kenya. While that sounds like a lot, I know I've missed listing many things.

Having arrived in Kenya the night of October 22, we have been extremely busy getting reacquainted with everyone at the school. We are starting to cross things off our to-do list, and Ida is quickly learning how the school runs on a daily basis. Yesterday we spent time buying more than $1,000 worth of text books and Bibles to support the curriculum. We were thrilled to learn that currently, every primary student has a set of textbooks all his/her own and the secondary students have one set for every 2 students. These statistics are a rarity for Kenya, where frequently there are only enough books for every 4 or 5 students to have a set. We've put Jacob (my 13 yr. old son who also came) to work making sure all of the new books have the Humble Hearts' stamp and a book number in case they are lost.

We learned yesterday that there is a severe bed shortage. Many of the older primary and secondary students are sharing a bed, as are quite a few of the boys. Unfortunately, we also learned that the price of new, steel, beds like we had made last year has drastically gone up. Three-teerd bunk beds like those purchase last year have gone up from approximately $150 to $250 as the cost of steel has sky rocketed. We will be exploring options this weekend and hope to at least help this problem. I know I wouldn't want my children sleeping on the cold concrete with a very thin mattress as many of these kids are doing.

Much of today (Friday) was spent with approximately 15 students creating beautiful art work for the upcoming holiday cards. They have created amazing pictures of birds, animals, flowers, and holiday scenes. Soon you will find these pictures on our website so stay tuned!

We have a very busy week ahead of us, so stay tuned. I will do my best to post an update every day.

Kari Fillmore
Executive Director