Our first field day was a trip to Menno Kids Academy...a school in the slums of Nairobi...where we would be distributing blankets and school kits. What an eye-opener that was! In my home church a group of ladies meets every Tuesday to make blankets for MCC...completing hundreds of quilts every year. They are sent around the world to those in need. One container containing quilts from North America arrived in Kenya several months ago...and we had the privilege of helping to distribute the last of them.
The truck that showed up at the MCC office to transport the quilts to the school, was much smaller than what was expected. The driver said, "No problem". It seems where there is a will, there is a way...in Nairobi. The crated quilts arrived at the school as promised!
No sooner had the truckload of blankets arrived...than the students showed up to unload.
They made quick work of a truckload of blankets.
For the next few hours, we distributed blankets...beginning with the 'baby class' and upwards through the grades. A parent was required to be there in order for the child to receive a blanket...and they were. What joy to see those little ones hugging their blankets. If only the ladies back home could see what a sacrifice of love they really are involved in when they meet to make blankets.
Those in the higher grades waited patiently for their turn...peering in the windows to get a peek.
How disappointing for the last two classrooms to be told we had run out of blankets...and would have to return another day with theirs. The problem was that the last of the shipment of blankets had been distributed...and it would take time to bring more blankets from North America. The day before we left Kenya, the guys went to the MCC office to unpack a shipment of 'used computers' from Manitoba. It turned out that the computers were packaged in blankets...more than enough to fulfill our promise to the rest of the students. Shortly after we left, Ron and Martha were able to return to the school and give out the rest of the blankets.
Once the blankets were distributed, it was lunchtime. For many of these students, the only square meal they will have each day is the one they have at school. They had also prepared lunch for us. We had exactly what you see the children eating (beans and maize)...but with enough on each of our plates to feed an entire household. Out of their little...they are most generous!
Along with their one healthy meal each day...the students are provided with clean drinking water. We found tables of bottled water laid out in the sun...all part of a program to provide clean, healthy water for the students. Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is a simple procedure to disinfect drinking water. Clear plastic bottles are filled with contaminated water and exposed to the sun for 6 hours. During this time, the UV-radiation of the sun kills diarrhea generating pathogens...preventing illness and saving lives. So simple...yet so effective.
After lunch we visited the classrooms...with a school kit for each student.
It seemed the red bags were most sought after! How thrilling for them to have the basics...paper, pencils, erasers and a ruler. As for the large cardboard boxes that the kits were packaged in...the teachers wrestled to get their hands on those. Nothing goes to waste over there!
I'll take you to another school that MCC partners with...one we visited on another day trip.
Situated about 30 miles from the city of Nairobi...the Tumaini La Watoto Child Development Center is in an agricultural area and focuses on giving hope to children who are suffering because of HIV and poverty.
We arrived at lunchtime...and were greeted by the smiling faces of the students.
And for a delegation of friends from Canada...they all packed into their meeting room to give us an official welcome. Sitting three on a chair did not seem to be one bit of a problem over there! They sang a welcome song...they recited poems...and they made us feel ever so at home.
We traveled together with another couple visiting from Canada that week...Elvin and Jan from Alberta. Elvin came bearing gifts...Nike soccer balls, that proved to be a hit!
They have little. They make the most of what they have. They rely on God for His provision!
On another day...we will visit a few more of the projects that MCC is involved with. Today it was about schools and education; next time it will be about providing food and clean water. They do a good work over there!