Trip Summary | June 2012

Trip Summary | 2012


June trip a great success

John Willingham led a group of seven volunteers on a two-week trip to Kenya this June. The group visited the communities supported by Hearts for Kenya and found a lot to celebrate.

Some of the highlights:
-25 new farmers from three different communities
-Continued success of the school meal program
-Improvements to the preschool at Amani
-Medical attention for nearly 500 patients

New farmers in the co-op
With the 25 farmers who recently joined the co-op, total membership now stands at 150 farmers – halfway to the ultimate goal of 300 farmers. What’s more, these new farmers come from three different communities, expanding the reach of the co-op and bringing strength in diversity. Since its start, John has emphasized that for the co-op to be successful it would have to branch out and involve other communities. During the trip, John met with the new farmers and explained the ins-and-outs of membership and operation. The farms have suffered an overabundance of rain this season but farmers still expect to harvest a near-average crop.

Successful school meal program
The school meal program initiated by Hearts for Kenya continues to be a tremendous success, providing a daily meal to more than 8,000 children in 20 different schools. This is often the only meal these children will have each day.

In the program, the top two grades in each school learn the basics of farming as part of their curriculum. They are given a plot of land and receive a grade on how well they cultivate it, taking responsibility for planting the seed, fertilizing it, watering and weeding the plot and finally harvesting the crop.

The harvest of corn, bean, peanuts and sorghum is then ground into a mixture used to make a porridge. Ideally, milk is used to add fat to the children’s diet, but due to its limited availability, water is more often used.

This program not only provides a protein-rich meal to thousands of children, but it also gives the older students a valuable skill that they can use to support themselves in an agricultural economy such as Kenya’s. This is a crucial step in breaking the cycle of poverty that haunts their communities. The sewing and carpentry programs at Amani are similar in this respect.

Improvements at the preschool
The group helped to put a new sheet metal roof on the preschool at Amani, which houses 60 children. The building also got a fresh coat of paint inside and out, including brightly painted letters, shapes and numbers on the classroom walls. The volunteers let the preschoolers add their handprints to the walls, then wrote each child’s name next to their handprint. The group also repaired the swing set on the grounds and installed an additional swing.

Medical aid in three communities
This was Dr. Barbara Kamer-Thompson’s first time traveling with the group. Over three days, she saw nearly 500 patients at clinics in Amani, Ruga and Agawo, treating many cases of wounds and malaria and deworming small children. Sadly, Dr. Kamer-Thompson also saw several cases of AIDS and tuberculosis, for which she could not provide much care given the scarcity of resources. As a whole, the group was able to bring more than 350 pounds of supplies, the majority of which were medical. School supplies and soccer balls made up the rest.

Exciting new development on the horizon

We will soon be revealing details of an exciting new development at Amani. We’ll need your help in spreading the word and raising the additional funds to complete the project. Look for a special email to come soon.

Thank You,
John Willingham


Previous Trips: 2011 | 2010 | 2009

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