I visited Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya a couple of weeks ago in order to see how our programs are doing and how the kids are growing. I wanted to make sure that the food, medicine and medical supplies we sent were being used wisely and that our kids are benefitting. I went laden down with gifts - Nike soccer balls, dry whole milk for babies, breathing equipment for neonatal care, seeds for orphan families to plant gardens, medical scrubs for doctors in our partner hospitals, surge protectors to keep equipment from being zapped during electrical issues in Zimbabwe, etc. All these things were to help the programs grow and for the kids benefit.
It was exciting distributing these items, as you can imagine. But more exciting was to see the kids doing well. To hug and be hugged back. To see these huge smiles when they were told that we represented the organization which sends them the medicine and food that keeps them well. It was humbling to be hugged by mothers who simply said "thank you" over and over again, knowing that they and their babies would be dead had they not received the medicine we send. It was incredible to be greeted to a hospital with all the widows of the village singing a welcome song. And, it was downright FUN to spend a day with kids during a "kids day" in Mombasa, Kenya - clowns, games, music, contests, and food were part of the day and my travel mate kept saying, "I can't believe these children are sick. I can't believe they came to this clinic mostly dead - LOOK at them! They are fine!".
Yes, they are fine. And it is because of you that they are fine. You guys, though your generosity, large and small, but all equally important, have given these kids life.
I am attaching a short video below for you to see what you and Nike have been doing in Africa these days. Check it out. Smile - you did it!
Well, going back to Zimbabwe was great! Not only did we get a chance to meet with the ZOE staff whom we support, but we got to meet with beneficiaries. These are the folks who receive the food you've made possible through your donations. They are an incredibly grateful group of folks who just are excited about life and the possibilities they have, now that they have hope.
While in Bulawayo, we met with a potential local donor of food (I hope it works out!) and we also purchased livestock (goats and chickens) for orphan families on behalf of the Canadian Foundation for Children with AIDS (sister organization). These families are eligible for help if they are a child headed household, a family with one parent who passed away and the other who is sick, or a family that is cared for by an elderly person -relative or not.
Between the food you give these kids and the livestock they receive, they are truly on the path to self-reliance. The food is used to give the animals a chance to reproduce and produce so the kids can have eggs and milk to balance out the porridge AFCA provides. Manure is used for gardens. How cool is that?
Thanks for all you do, friends.
Check out the video - i linked it so you can see what we did.
It is truly amazing what a small group of dedicated people can do when they care and decide to go all out and out to help others! Nike employees have blown us away with their generosity of time, talent and donations. So far, this group has allowed us to help quite a few children through their kindness.
With the money raised by this team so far, we have sent to our partners in Uganda anti-retroviral medicine to support 272 children for 6 months, antibiotics to support 1,235 children for 6 months and 2 containers of nutritional support to feed 250 children 2 meals per day in Kenya and to support 6000 people through a program known as "Nutrition by Prescription". Oh, and did i mention that they also donated 48 soccer balls for HIV+ children?
Yes, these folks are going to have an amazing time in Tanzania, climbing Kilimanjaro. And, yes, they will enjoy a bit of time in the wonderful continent of Africa. But, more importantly, they are saving lives. Many lives. And, there just aren't enough words to thank them for that.