Welcome, and thank you for joining us on this journey to Kenya. The Seeds of Grace team will be in Meru partnering with the Miriam Kanana Mubichi Foundation (MKMF) and PEMA. Grace United Methodist Church representatives will spend a week in Maua at the Maua Methodist Hospital. Don't just follow along - please participate! Post us notes and we will do our best to keep you engaged while we are there. Together we create a nurturing environment of hope and opportunity for orphans and families with vulnerable children due to poverty and disease.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hello from the Grace UMC team.  We had a great week in Maua, but we were unable to post on the blog while we were there.  Our team spent the week at Maua Methodist Hospital.  On Monday Jan and I (the nurses) spent the day at an AIDS clinic out in the community.  We had a very busy day and saw many patients.  Gennet, Mary Lou, Bob and Dale were able to see the house that the Grace team built the last time they were in Kenya.  They also toured a farm and a school.  On Tuesday Jan and I worked on the pediatric unit of Maua methodist hospital.  It was a difficult day for us because we saw so many children that are suffering.  The rest of the week the whole Grace team spent time painting the apartments that are available for the visiting staff and doing inventory of the supplies that we brought to the hospital. 

While at the hospital, we had several kids that followed us around.  They were patients of the hospital.  These children waited for us to come everyday.  They were very sweet and smiled a giggled at us all the time.  They also loved to have their picture taken.  We will miss seeing their smiling faces everyday.

On Friday we met up with the Seeds of Grace team in Meru.  We are all staying at the bio-intensive farm and it is a beautiful place.  Today we all worked at a clinic.  I think we treated around 2,500 patients.  It was very chaotic, but is the only way most of the people for Meru get any medical care. 

We are all doing well and having a great time in Kenya.  I hope everyone is doing well at home.  Mom, Dad, Nate, Laura, and Carly, I miss you all and hope you are doing well.  Give my puppy dog a kiss for me :-)


The Hammer

One of the many nicknames I've been given on this trip is The Hammer (my Aunt Barb would be proud)-mainly because yesterday I was keeping our group in line and on schedule because I didn't want to be late for the festivities.  The festivities being the dedication of the Kaaga Primary School.  We have been here, there and everywhere this week seeing and doing so many different meaningful things, but the Kaaga School was the place that made me so excited everytime I thought about going back. 

We spent time each day this week at Kaaga- sanding and painting new doors for the latrines, pouring concrete, fixing a roof, painting murals and getting to know these kids.  I don't have children of my own, but now think of these kids as mine.  They are in my mind, heart and blood.

Yesterday at 3pm we sat down in a field behind their school under beautiful trees and had a dedication ceremony...and a full on cry for me.  It started with the choir singing which three of the kids I have become attached to, Brian, Doris and Joyce,were members of (which I didn't know).  They sang beautiful songs and danced like kids should.  And at one point I got to join them (Brian came over and pulled me from my seat).  And during one song they sang directly to me- as in my name was in the song.  I kept looking to the sky and wondering how in the world I was lucky enough to be sitting where I was sitting and getting to experience what I was experiencing.

I wear a bracelet that says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  As I was sitting in the field after the ceremony with about 10 of the kids, one asked me what my bracelet said.  I told them and then tried to explain it in a way a 10 year old would understand.  I just said that if you see something that is wrong, you shouldn't wait for someone else to fix it, you should try to help. One of them looked at me and said, "Like you are?"  I was speechless...and it hit me that although these kids are young, they understand that we have come along way to see them and help them live their best lives.

I can breath Africa.
Shannon for Seeds of Grace

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Seriously - we need some tech help!

Hi!  we are back at Fridah's office after 9 pm for faster internet time - still only able to upload one pic at a time.  At least you know we are happy, safe and sound!  We meet up with the Grace UMC group tomorrow evening.

This afternoon we presented the HIV+ women of PEMA with your bead and quilting materials.  They are very grateful.  Can you believe they can make a necklace in about 10 minutes?  It took me 30 minutes to strand seed beads on a 9 inch string one time just to see what it was like (and that doesn't include trying to get the string through the eye of the needle!  They are fast and do excellent work.  And YES, we are bringing back more styles of bracelets and necklaces.

We listened to their stories and documented them on film.  They "positively live" as they say.  Being part of the PEMA group has helped them tremendously for they are there for each other, feel loved and have purpose.  Each of you who has a piece of jewelry has made a direct impact on the lives of these women and their children.  We are very humbled to be your hands for shaking and your ears for listening.  They know your hearts and eyes are open and compassionate.

We had dinner with Yema and Lahi Luhahi, our Methodist missionaries who work at the Kenya Methodist University (KEMU).  We have been spoiled with delicious meals at friends' homes.  And there are a few other foods we aren't too sure about, but we are all troopers and grin and bear it!

Love to all.  Can't beleive we have been here a week already.  Each day is a grand adventure.

Fridah, Shannon and Julie planning the day at Kaaga Primary School

Shannon with a frindly chameleon at Kaaga Primary School

Mark with children at Kaaga Primary School in Meru

Parent Cooperation with landscaping help at Kaaga Primary School