Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back in touch for just a moment

So, no photo's got posted because the connection was so bad that I just had to leave town! Things not forgotten since then:

My last day in Cura - incredibly emotional as I feel I've adopted 50 children in my heart (not to mention the 200 of the children from the community school).

Visit to Kibera Slums and the Silver Womans Center: It was a very intimidating visit to the slums. We had to have residents tour us in order to ensure our complete safety.

Kibera Slums (you can read more about in online) is the host of 2 million people ( half the popluation of Nairobi). There is little water, little food, is unsanitary, and doesn't have the toilet capacity for the popluation. I can't even begin to describe the emotions I have when I think of the living conditions of the woman, children and men who live in this place. The smell of Kibera was of burnt corn, grease, urine, poo, garbage, raw meat, and sweat. I have never seen such a place in my life. I get teary eyed when I think of our visit. I'll share more with anyone who wants to hear the stories when I come home.

The woman of the Silver Woman's Center are woman of the slums who have contracted the HIV virus and have had children who now carry the disease. We visited their home and had the opportunity to buy some the the jewelry they are making to try and get out of the living situation in which they are currently living. Incredible woman who have more strength than I could ever imagine having in thier situations.

We flew to Malindi and had an amazing time there! Visited the Kabaki River, Mombasa, and let's not foget the Indian Ocean. My niece Evan said that we had to taste it to be sure it tasted as good as the Pacific and Atlantic... it sure does, SALTY, but much warmer! So many sotries in between, but this connection keeps cutting me off and I could losr this whole, entire, uninteresting blurb!

My notes from today in the Malindi airport:
-interesting faces
-kenyan candy counter - wondering if i shold buycandy for the kids
-impressed that the cooler of water bottles also has Tuskar beer available
- large white fans blowing overhead
-police officer pacing with his shotgun/AK47 by his side
-small planes landing outside
-stuffy atmosphere/thick air
-tired eyes
-some tourists/some natives
-croweded little room
-great breeze outside
love to people watch, but catch my self having a staring problem, so back to your book, lookie loo!

Tomorrow we head to Nanyuki for a tent safari! Lions, tigers, elephants, and lots of other wildlife outside our tent:))))) EEEEEK ! SO FUN! I can hardly wait to see what this is like! A tent in the middle of wildlife - how COOL! We'll be there Sunday, Monday, and half of Tuesday. We'll leave Nanyuki, head to Nairobi, and we'll begin our 26.75 hour adventure home! I'll be home Wednesday evening when I envision myself huggin, kissing, and loving all over my family!!!!! Loving every minute of where I am, but am soooo looking forward to being home! I have soooooo many pictures and stories to tell!

See you soon! SMOOCHES!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

OH DARN IT!@*&%R*&^#*&*#*&

I just spent about an hour updating the last two days which included my last and very emotional day in Cura and today which included an amazing visit to the Kitengela Glass museum and a wonderful lunch at the home of the Cura Founder, Evylyn Mungai Eldon and her husband Mike Eldon. Don't know what happened, but when I went to find photo's to post it deleted everything...... don't think I can duplicate what I wrote so I'll post a few photo's instead.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More visits to Cura

Over the last few wonderful days at the Cura community school and home (orphanange), we had the opportunity to visit the classroooms for reading sessions and then we facilitated physical education activities with equipment that was brought from the US. There were balls, hackey sacks, jump ropes, activity dice, and a parachute. All of the 200+ students were able to have a turn at all of these activities so they could learn how to use the equipment in our absence. The children were elated with excitement and the teachers seemed excited about the equipment as well.

I was using the activity dice with the students. They would come to an area of the playfield to meet me and I would review the instructions of how to play. There were two large fabric dice: one with numbers on it; the other had instructions of what activity they should do (ex: jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, one foot hop, etc...) The children would toss the two dice and we would do the activity as many times as the number dice landed on. It was sooo fun to teach them what a jumping jack was, how to do a sit up, how to do a push up! They were so excited to learn and then play the game! The smiles and giggles were never ending and, quite frankly, neither did I. On a side note - my abs are killing me, my triceps are yelling, and my hamstrings are reminding me of how I could probably be in better shape:) Once our visit to the school ended, we went to the home. I was able to meet the founder of the home and learn more about the accomplishments that have been made and the goals of the future. It's pretty amazing how this home is creating a self-sustaining community. They have chickens for eggs, hens for food, corn (maize), potatoes, kale, squash, bannanas, and bee farms. A cow was given to the home and it's the source of milk for all 50 children! Truly amazing.

I had a very amazing group time with some of the children of the home that lasted a long time, but that I didn't ever want to end. We sat on the ground together on the red soil dusted with grass. The kids were putting their fingers through my hair, rubbing my arms, touching my face, holding my hands, making as much contact as possible as we talked. They wanted to know about airplanes and how the toilet could possibly work, they wanted to know if I had stars where I lived, they wanted to know about my family, so I showed them photo's from my journal! They absolutely loved seeing the photos. They wanted to know where Washington was so I made a map out of sticks and showed them where I lived. They were so interested in everything! I had several little girls tell me they loved me and I could help but say "I love you too!, I'm so lucky to be here with you". To drive away from those children breaks your heart. It doesn't break your heart because they are in a bad place, but because you see the desire they have to make a close connection with you - to feel a bond. What they may not know is that all they have to do is look at you and we're hooked:) There is a little girl who greets and hugs me consistantly and her name is Minette - yes, sounds like Linette! We have fun sharing our names to eachother:)

Today was our last visit to the school so they sent us farewell with a musical performance that was wonderful, bright and full of energy and pride for thier culture! Evan took video while I photographed, so I have a copy to see again and again.

More of today, but less wordy: Banana farm visit, bee farm visit. We took an inventory of things needed for the home kitchen and went and bought almost everything on the list - plates, spoons, cooking pots, pitchers, and lots, lots, more. Sadly, the biggest and most immediate need is mattresses for the wooden cots that the children sleep on (on which they sleep). Hopfully, we can manage to do something to help fund that necessity in the future!! So much more to say, so many adjectives to be used! I could spend all day sharing what an amazing trip this is for me:)

I know this is really long, but there's so much to say, all the time, and at this moment, I have the time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Day at the Cura Orphanage and community school

We left the hotel fairly early this morning and headed out to the "DEPOT". The depot stands for Dan Eldon Place of Tomorrow which was created in honor of Dan Eldon who was a traveling friend of Ryan and Haydens during their travels to Kenya in the early 90's. Dan was a journalist and was killed in Somalia in 1993. There is a great website that can detail the purpose of this depot and how Dan's life inspired it's beginning ( We met there to not only be introduced to the place, but to meet one of the Board members of Cura. We left the Depot and head to Cura. It is this trip that I saw some of the raw poverty of this country. I stared out the window the entire time and took photo after photo trying to capture the feel of this trip to Cura. As we turned onto the final dirt road up to the Cura villiage, I felt the tears coming to my eyes. Not tears of sadness, but of excitement, of the unknown, of the pure fact that I am a part of a group who is trying to help this very small group of 50 orphans and 200 students who have so little. When we pulled into the open field to park, I could hear the children playing on the playground and before we knew it, little faces were peeking through the hedges wanting to see us. I don't know who wanted to see who most!!! We were introduced to all of the faculty and board members and had a meeting about our purpose there. Once the meetings were over, we were given a tour of the classrooms. The children were all dressed in blue, with big anxious eyes staring at us as we were staring at them. We were introduced to the students and they welcomed us in unison. Once we were introduced to all 8 classrooms, it was lunch time for the kids and the just culdn't wait to get close, hold your hand, ask your name and share their own. We all wanted to be close to eachother, to watch eachother, and to explore eachothers each and every move. We were strangers with a sudden feeling of family. This was an amazing experience - tears come to my eyes because my heart is so big and full for these kiddos. A small group of kids followed us and I took the liberty to ask if I could photograph them - here they are:)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun today, Cura Tomorrow!

What a fun day! We woke and got on the treadmil then had some breakfast before we went on for a day in Nakumatt which is an outdoor mall. We were able to meet some of Hayden's good friends and visited with them today as well.

I wasn't feeling all that swell today and even debated going back to the hotel. But instead, I stuck it out and had a big bowl of African veggie rice and a large bottle of water. Feeling quite a bit better now.

We went to a resturaunt called Carnivore for dinner. You must be asking, why, Linette, what did you have for dinner? Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, Kenyan sausage (?), alligator, ostrich sausage, potato soup and dessert. IN-DI-Ges_TION!!!!

Tomorrow is the biggest event of them all. I get to finally go to the Cura Orphanage and meet all of the wonderful children that I've been hearing about! I can hardly wait!! I'll have many pictures to post tomorrow!!

I also got to talk to my amazing family tonight! Happy 14th Anniversary Ryan, xoxo! I love you McKenna and Parker! Perfect ending to a great day! Good night:)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Photo's of the Day

This does not say Rhino crossing, your eyes are correct, WINO Xing. Although very little wine has been had, I though this sign was hilarious. The day was fantastic! The elephant orphanage was delightful, the Giraffe Center was full of fun loving kisses, and the Karen Blixen museum was very interesting. Nairobi is a very busy town, full of people and cars and public transportation. There are private guards throughout town that carry AK47s and they are there for everyone's protection. It's very bazaar to see this type of public protection. Thought to take a photo of this, but was advised not to.
The giraffe centre was really fun. Not only did we get to learn about this awkward animal, but we got to be up close and personal. My niece and I both got big kisses, notfrom anyone but the girraffe! Photo's will come as I learn how to post more photo's.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

We're here!

Whew! What a long journey to get here, but we are finally here. Today we will visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Giraffe Centre, and Karen Blixen Museum. It's beauttiful this morning with a bit of a cool breeze. Evan and I woke up pretty early this morning, so we're going to go get some breakfast before we start our day! I'll post some photo's tonight.