On July 2 a team of seven will arrive in Kenya to accomplish the following objectives:
1. The team, lead by GR founder Rick Montgomery, will visit a girl's home in the Masai Mara to support an intiative that will protect hundreds of Masai pre-teens from female genital mutilation. Global Roots has been working with the son of a Masai chief who believes that it is time to end this barbaric custom. Rick's team will encourage the young women to stay the course because we believe that it is wrong for any man to cut out the clittoris of a young woman without her agreement. Global Roots is looking into a plan that will involve text books and free college to any young woman who breaks from the tradition. We understand that it can be a lonely path but we have learned that many tribes will welcome back an educated woman who earns a salary.
2. The team will also visit Mtito Andei where it will support Levi and the Matangini tribe in their efforts to create a tribal owned safari camp. The Global Roots funded camp, JipeMoyo.com, will bring in badly needed income to a tribe that is currently impoverished. The Global Roots team will teach tribal members how to greet and care for foreign tourists.
3. The team will also help our longtime partner Rosina develop better ways to foster out the 1,800 HIV orphans she has under her care. Interviews will be conducted with all players including the local nurse. Rick Montgomery, team leader, hopes to purchase a mini van for the nurse so that she can drive into the countryside to deliver food to children who must take powerful dosages of HIV medication. Many children die because they take HIV medication on empty stomaches.
4. The team will also look into the creation of an HIV information center in Mtito Andei. It has been demonstrated that such centers can educate local people on better ways to protect themselves against HIV.
Our second chicken egg farm is up and running next to our Matangini children's garden!
We learned that local parents are much more likely to send their children back to school when they know a well-balanced meal is there waiting for them.
Our new chicken egg farm is producing just enough chickens to feed local children who are suffering from the AIDs virus. It's very important that these children receive a proper meal before they undergo their daily doses of high-powered drugs. If they take these drugs on empty stomaches, they are much more likely to succumb to the virus.
Any new donation given to this program will go to purchasing more chickens so that all children who attend the Matangini and Matulani public schools will receive this badly needed protein.
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We are thrilled to announce that ground was broken on a community-owned safari ranch last June and two of the tents are completed. We launched this project because all of our poverty reduction work in the area (the building of a kitchen at the local school, the creation of a foster program for our hero Rosina, children's garden and chicken farm) pointed to one thing: there is no local economy! We are working with the tribal leader Leva to manage the camp in a proper manner (tourism professionals are volunteering their time). Leva and his tribe own this camp outright! No foreigner will ever make a single dollar here!
The camp gives us the opportunity to continue what we've already started. We are laying the foundation for a community center/vocational school next to the camp that will give young people more information about how AIDs is spread (this is one of Kenya's hot spots). Children will come to our center to learn English, computer and other skills that will help them climb out of a cycle of destruction that is prevalent in this part of Kenya. The school will also double as a foster care center.
In July we sent a nutritional team down to study the area. Suggestions have been made and we're now contacting several larger organizations for help. Our Director is meeting with the US Ambassador to UN projects in Rome this week.
One of our most recent volunteers, Maddie Carsman of Portland OR, returned home from her service trip to Kenya inspired to raise funds for a bore hole (well) that will benefit 1,800 HIV orphans Mtito. Maddie is just 17 and she has decided to put the onus of the project on her own shoulders! She is working directly with our Executive Director and local managers in Kenya.
The greenhouse we built for the children of Mtito Andei is already producing vegetables! See photo attachment.
Global Roots and our community partners in Mtito Andei have been engaged in planning and continuing our investments in this multi-faceted project which has grown to include sustainable nutrition for the children, especially those chronically ill and taking HIV medications, food education, the planned vocational training camp and a more focused child engagement program to deal with the trauma many of the children have suffered. We are planning a service project in July 2011 where Global Roots volunteers and the local community will work on construction and child nutrition including the creation of on-site gardens with state of the art greenhouses for our three local partners, Rosina and the Baraka Orphange, the Matangini and the Matulani school.
With the support of our committed and generous donor, we have purchased the first of three greenhouses which has been set up at the Baraka orphanage. Local Global Roots’ liaison, James Odaba is providing oversight and support for the greenhouse logistics.
Based on the needs we have observed in our prior service trips, we are also developing a nutrition program for the young AIDs patients in the community with a local nurse and will be working with the her and our service corp volunteers to fine-tune it this summer based on resources we have available at that time. We hope to have a Global Roots volunteer with expertise in this arena along on the service trip in July.
We are pleased that we were able to procure the pro bono services of a talented international landscape architect who visited the area at our request this spring and has drafted plans for five bandas for the Matangini tribe that will stand beside our vocational school.
We are excited about the collaborative work that is beginning to bring the necessary resources to bear on the challenging social and environmental challenges in Mtito Andei. The community has determined what they believe will create a more positive and sustainable future for their children and Global Roots, with your support, is committed to working with them to realize their vision.
Global Roots in Kenya, December 2nd to 20th , 2010
Travis Gearhart, Global Roots
The goal of this trip was to lay the legal and administrative groundwork for the construction of our vocational facility that is planned to begin in February. Though the trip was short, it was essential for the purpose of strengthening our relationships with our local partners. It was an extremely successful bonding experience for all parties.
I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on the morning of December 4th after 27 hours of travel. That same day after checking into my hotel, I went out to meet James Odaba, a native Kenyan who is an expert in agriculture and solar technologies, and George Karicha -- a young, idealistic and up-and-coming politician. Both of these young men are important components of Global Roots’ operations in Kenya and contribute to our efforts in many ways. In our preliminary meeting, we confirmed the schedule for the next week, arranged for James and my departure south to Mtito Andei on the 8th, and got re-acquainted with one another.
My first four days in Kenya were spent meeting various political and legal figures. These meetings were essential to ensure that Global Roots has a sound legal and political foundation and support for the project we launched last year: a vocational school and community-led tourism center outside of Mtito Andei. I met with three lawyers on the 6th of December alone. Each provided us with invaluable information about how to protect and best move forward with our projects. One lawyer in particular, pledged his support to travel with us to Mtito Andei when we return in February to personally oversee and draft all legal agreements free of charge. These are the sort of people that Global Roots seeks to work with worldwide. I felt privileged to have been able to make his acquaintance.
On December 8th, James Odaba and I made the four hour trip south to Mtito Andei on the single road connecting Kenya’s capital with one of the most important trade hubs in East Africa; Mombasa. We chatted and listened to a mix of traditional Swahili and Western Hip Hop music to pass the time. When we arrived in Mtito Andei, we dropped off our luggage then went to say hello to Rosina, the woman who runs a local network of foster care for HIV/AIDs orphans. Rosina has been the recipient of Global Roots’ aid for many years and she is one of our most trusted global partners. Rosina’s children’s shelter, library and office were all built by Global Roots’ volunteer work crews last June and July and they all looked beautiful! The work we did had even allowed her to expand into raising poultry to provide sustenance and money for the orphans’ well-being. She was very thankful. Before my return to Nairobi, Rosina asked for Global Roots support in paying for the connection of electricity to the Library and Children’s shelter. I immediately contacted Global Roots’ headquarters in the States we received immediate funding. Rosina’s children’s shelter now has electricity!
The focus of my stay in Mtito Andei, however, was to work with Leva Wabua, or as he is more commonly called: “Chairman” or “Chairman Leva”. This man has organized a small CBO or community-based organization and aims to start a tourist camp and vocational school on his land in order to provide jobs and education to the youth unable to attend university. He carries himself with an ageless youth and is always quick to smile. Our primary goals were to confirm the status of the plot of land, have it surveyed, and re-confirm previous agreements made by Chairman Leva with his heirs, wife, the entire committee of his CBO, the local chief, and district officer. This is to prevent any complications due to unforeseeable events in the future. There were no complications and everyone was very eager and willing to give their help to this project. We arranged for a surveyor to come and along with Leva’s sons, we all went out in the thick of the bush to take the measurements. This land is adjacent to the Tsavo West National Park. Wildlife was all around us as we worked, even once we had to holler and throw stones to chase away several cape buffalo that were grazing nearby. Several days later, right before I departed to return to Nairobi, Leva called me urgently out to his land for there was a small herd to of elephants passing nearby that he wanted me to see. What a way to end a successful stay in Mtito Andei! I returned to Nairobi with all of our partners on board, ready, and in agreement. We also carried the accurate blueprints of the land for our volunteer architects Ben Wood and Dwight Law.
Back in Nairobi, I coordinated with George and James to prepare for Global Roots’ return to Kenya in February. I also met with several of the lawyers once more and discussed how things went and our future plans. Overall, it was a very successful and productive trip that has allowed Global Roots to solidify a strong base from which to we will move forward to begin construction of the Kimer-Kamba Vocational School in February.
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