Mentoring Families: World Water Day in Kenya

Mentoring Families: World Water Day in Kenya

World Water Day is an annual event on March 22nd, and this year, our team was in Kenya to install a Water Storage System at a school in a community called Nkareta, where we have worked for the past year and a half. Typically, when we install a Water Storage System, we will use a 3000 liter tank, but for the school, we opted for a 10,000 liter tank. Thanks to our Water Fundraiser on Facebook, we were able to raise the funds for it in time. The impact this will have on the school will be incredible, as rainwater will be stored in the upcoming rainy season.

 

In June 2018, we built and planted large Garden SaCs at the school, to provide vegetables and nutrition for the teachers and students. They have been eating from them, and harvesting since then. Without water to water the gardens during the dry season, it has been a challenge to keep them going, but they have managed. The Water Storage System will give them the additional water they need. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed! 

Since November 2017, we have installed four other Water Storage Systems, but they have all been at the homes of families that we are working with. We recently visited one of the families in Ntulele, and the tank has been wonderful for them, because when it rains, it provides water, and when it is dry, they can have water brought in and store it for longer for their family. Our goal is to continue providing water storage systems, hopefully 3-4 a year, for families. 

Our focus as an organization is to help families with economic development and self-reliance all over the world. Our projects are currently centered in Kenya, but our methods are duplicatable and can be implemented anywhere. 

We begin with teaching stewardship through gardening, which is a low-cost start up program that allows us to see if the family is willing to really work with us. The goal is to grow the garden for food, and sell the excess to help the family with additional supplies. We typically work with families who fall below the poverty line of living on less than $1.90/day. Through our training, we hope to bring them out of extreme poverty, and create sustainability. 

When a family shows good stewardship in growing the gardens, we provide them with a rooster and 5 chickens to start a small chicken breeding program. As an example, one family that we did this with grew their chickens to 40, and are now selling up to 35 eggs each day at 10 cents per egg. 

When a family can sell 35 eggs each day, they are now out of extreme poverty and above the poverty line, but we continue to expand with goats for milk as well as cows. 

While we continue to fundraise for these programs, we have launched a breeding program for chickens, goats and cows at the training center we built in Nkareta, Kenya. We started with 3 cows, 5 goats, and 50 chickens. We also have a community garden with 40 garden towers. 

We are now up to 6 cows, 20 goats, and 66 chickens. The money generated from this goes to help support the training center initiatives like fabric to sew school uniforms, and school fees for families. 

The Business Box for Families consists of gardens, chickens, goats, and cows, given to families along with mentoring and education on how to use the resources to generate the most income possible for their families. 

Serve Locally, Give Globally – Quarters for Kids

Serve Locally, Give Globally – Quarters for Kids

Serve Locally, Give Globally. In early April, Lori Hildebrand and I did an assembly at Rose Creek Elementary in Riverton, Utah, sharing with them our experiences in Kenya. Lori and her sons are joining 100 Humanitarians International for our June expedition to serve kids in Kenya, and wanted to do a fundraiser to help pay for school fees and trees that we are planting on our trip. Lori went to Kenya twice, in 2013 and 2014, and knew that when her sons, Max and Henry, were old enough, she would take them.

Lori approached her sons’ school, and asked if they would be willing to let us do an assembly, and then launch a Quarters for Kids in Kenya campaign for ten days. The school loved the idea, and set a goal to raise $1000, or 4 quarters per child.

The Rules:

  1. Go out into the neighborhood/community and ask people if they have any opportunities to do service in exchange for quarters. Projects could include weeding, lawn mowing, dusting, anything!
  2. Gather quarters and put them in your classroom “Quarters for Kenya Kids” box.
  3. Each day, the teacher turns the boxes into the office to be put in a bigger jar for counting.
  4. Do this for ten days, and then we count.

In ten days, Rose Creek Elementary kids were able to raise $1521.21! They beat their goal by $500. The best part? They want to make this an annual fundraiser and be a part of helping educate these kids in Kenya.

Quarters for Kids in Kenya

Where Do the Funds Go?

100 Humanitarians International is currently sponsoring 25 children in Kenya in school. Eleven are in Primary School, and this fundraiser will keep them all in school for the remainder of the year. $1000 will go towards those school fees. On our June expedition, we will be planting trees with children at schools as well, so the additional $500 will go towards purchasing trees for our team to plant, as part of a reforestation project that we are working on.

Reforestation in Kenya

Would you like to host a “Serve Locally, Give Globally” fundraising campaign at your school? You can choose from a variety of projects:

  1. Reusable Feminine Hygiene Kits for Girls
  2. Educational School Fees ($150/year for Primary Students, $750/year for Secondary Students)
  3. Garden Boxes, Goats, Cows, Trees, and Clean Water for Families and Communities
  4. Building projects for Educational Centers that teach Self-reliance and economic development

Contact us for more information. info@100humanitarians.org

Manifest That!  The Underwear Story

Manifest That! The Underwear Story

Its funny how life is sometimes. You can be going along all hunky dory doing your thing and then you make one small decision and it changes your whole life. I met Heidi Totten in January of 2017 and began to learn all about her trips to Kenya and 100 humanitarians. We were talking one day in September and I was telling her how I like to sew and create my own patterns. She asked if I wanted to go to Kenya- if you’ve met Heidi, you know she does this all the time. I said yes, at some point, but what can I do now?

She asked me if I could make and underwear pattern.

….This is where everything in my life began to change….

I said yes.

An underwear pattern. How often do you think about underwear here in the United States? Maybe once a day, –you know to make sure you put on a clean pair. The point is we rarely think about it, its just part of all the other stuff we don’t really think about here. But that’s not the case in Kenya and other developing countries. There are people- Women and girls who don’t even know what underwear or panties are!

Talk about an eye opener for me. I will never be ungrateful for the things I have ever again.

Heidi told me Christine’s story, and she told me the story of these beautiful girls that missed school every month, had to sit on cardboard for a week and wait while they bled and life went by. These girls that are taught to get a boyfriend, so the boy can get them what they need (feminine hygiene products) to help them stop bleeding and/or sex and then pregnancy. These girls then end up dropping out of school, in early marriages with FGM, prostitution and being young mothers on the streets. For these girls, a pair of underwear is life changing.

Yes, I said yes!

I have sons,There’s like 3 styles of underwear for boys. That’s it 1, 2, 3. Style A,B, or C.

Then you look at girls and it’s like you need freaking library card catalog system just to find ONE style!

Hipster, boy shorts, granny, bikini, skimpy bikini, high cut, low cut, boxer cut, and who knows how many others! But wait there’s more then there’s like hipster style A, B and C…

Anyways musings of a pattern designer.

As I did my research, I started drawing up ideas for the pattern. Every time I finished a drawing I would here a voice in my head that said, “its to much, keep it simple.” I went through several drawings always making them more and more simple, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t right yet.

One day I was looking at pictures from 100 humanitarians past expeditions. I realized I needed to make this pattern in a way that it would not need anything extra but the fabric and thread.  Did you know most underwear styles here use elastic? I found out later, elastic is hard to find in Kenya.

I made the underwear pattern in eight sizes, with three pattern pieces, no extras. Fabric and thread. Simple.

Heidi and I met up and I gave her the pattern to take to Christine, who would be making underwear from the pattern, in Kenya.

Then she asks, “Can you make this pattern from a T-shirt?”

Yes, yes you can.

One pattern. 8 sizes and you can make it from a T-shirt. Simple.

By small and simple things great things can happen.

-Marissa Waldrop

 

Marissa Waldrop is a wife and Mother to 4 sons. She has always had a passion for creative expression and to inspire others to do their best. Marissa has a Bachelors of Science degree in Communication from Brigham Young Univ. Idaho, over 25 years of experience sewing and creating with fabric and other mediums, and over 5 years of experience as a leader in mentoring and coaching others to embrace creative expression and communication within themselves.

 

The Start of Self-Reliance

The Start of Self-Reliance

The jeeps rumbled up the mountain, winding on bumpy dirt roads. Out the windows were fields of green interrupted by rectangular dung huts baked hard in the African sun, several of them with brightly colored cloth drying on a fence.

Everything was so new to us. Life is slower there, taken at the same pace as the plants growing in the fields. As always in Suswa, every time we passed someone, they would smile and wave.

It was the Mau. We were on our way to church.

The church stands atop a green hill, surrounded by farms. The building itself is made of wood and corrugated metal. As we entered, we were met by hugs leaning to the left, then to the right, and greetings of “Supa oleng.” We were invited to sit in pastel plastic chairs, and services began in song. Immediately we are invited to take part in dancing with the congregation. Music is a universal language and soon we are a part of a writhing mass of worshipers. We learn the steps quickly and wind around the church.

When the song was over, we sat in our chairs again, a part of something new and different, but ancient. We were introduced one by one and sang for the congregation.

After services, Pastor Ben invited us to walk to the home of a woman with three children. “She has been ill,” he tells us. “She wasn’t at church today.”

We met Emily and her three children outside her dung hut, surrounded by fields of corn. The roof of her home was a sheet of clear plastic held in place by stones and logs. Her children’s faces were surrounded by flies. The children without shoes. Emily with a slight limp.

The depth of what we are trying to do struck us. After the upbeat, faith filled church service, this was a crash back to reality. I think the whole team had the same question, “What are we going to do for this family? How can we teach self-reliance in the face of such poverty?”

We asked Emily if we could enter her home. Three of us stepped into the shadows and had to turn on the flashlights of our phones to see. Smoke hung in the air from the cooking fire in the tiny kitchen. It nearly choked us. Everything was a deep black color from the soot. There was no ventilation.

Heidi turned to me, “Living like this is as bad as smoking.”

Through interpretation from Pastor Ben and Moses, we learned that Emily has access to water. She has experience growing corn, and can use that experience to grow other vegetables. Our decision was that a garden box would be a good start for her.

The weight of this work seems too much to bear sometimes. Self-reliance and success seems so far away for some of the families. So much needs to be done and all we can do is a small part. Our efforts are a drop in the bucket of the need we see as we travel up and down the rough roads of Kenya.

The walk back to the jeeps was far quieter than it had been on the way to Emily’s. All of us lost in the vastness of need.

In my two trips to Kenya, I have learned much about the power of “the start.” I’ve learned to have faith in the waiting and watching of these families. Emily will get a garden box. And like the planting of a seed, through the garden box, we will watch her begin to grow what she can.

Chapati and Cultural Immersion

Chapati and Cultural Immersion

After finishing up the garden at Joyce’s house she invited us to learn how to make chapati, something sort of like naan bread. This was just one of the experiences of cultural immersion on the November Trip.

She pulled a table out into her yard and gathered all the ingredients flour, water, salt and oil. Then, started a fire in a small stove to heat a pan.

She showed us how to make the dough, stirring it with her hands. Muneria came to help as well.

Like mothers all over the world, she reminded her child to wash his hands before preparing food, which he did in a large blue bowl sitting next to the table. A special plate served as a platform to roll the chapati into perfect circles. He worked quickly, handing the rolled out flat bread to his mother who cooked them. She turned them with her bare hands, using no instrument to protect them from the heat.

Muneria then offered us a chance to roll out the chapati. We took turns, none of ours turning out as round as his. We laughed, feeling the warmth of home with this family who lives a different culture half a world away.

Sarah’s turn came up. She rolled the dough one way getting it stuck to the plate and stretching the dough as she freed it. She used more flour and rolled it some more. “That’s too big.” Joyce laughed, handing her more dough. “Try again.”

She started again, this time paying careful attention to the size, but not the shape. When she finished, it looked like a map of the United States. She handed it to Joyce with a shrug. Joyce shook her head and it was put onto the pan with a little oil to cook.

When David was finished with the water storage system, he came around the house to join us. We invited him to take his turn rolling chapati.

“Fine.” He said. “But mine is going to be round. Not corner, corner, corner, like Sarah’s.” This was met with kind hearted laughter from our group. Joyce pointed to the bowl of wash water. He obeyed.

Then, while rolling out the dough, David told us about how there are times in their culture when men and women separate and make their own food. He showed us how to roll it out to make it round. “See? Like this. You roll, and then turn it.” He pat the dough down. “Roll. And then turn again.”

He handed the dough to Joyce who watched us all with love, curiosity, and a little disbelief at how nutty this group of Americans is.

We dined together on our unifying chapati, rice, and carrots. It was the end of a full day of work, service, mentoring, and unconditional love.

When I say we experience cultural immersion, these are the types of things I am talking about. We get to be in the homes of the families. We learn from them and love them. We put our hands in their soil, climb onto their roof to put up rain gutters, collect water in rivers, dine with them, and hear their stories from their own lips.

By the time we leave, we have a new name, an expanded family, people who pray for us, and a home to come to when we return.

If you would like to join us for an expedition, learn more here.