December 2006 Newsletter
Our First Birthday!
Joining Hearts and Hands has now been in existence for one year. It is hard to believe that time is passing us so quickly. There is so much to do in Africa and so little time! In the past year, Joanne has been to Kenya three times and Bill has been twice. Also, they traveled to India twice in that time, once accompanying Dave Paddock, Fairport High School Principal and 25 FHS students. The Kenyan mission is progressing steadily and it is apparent that there is no lack of need in any area where we are working. Joining Hearts and Hands is now working in the Western Province in addition to the Maseno area. In addition to replacing classrooms, latrines, kitchens and wells, we are embarking on providing health clinics for all children in our three schools. Most (if not all) of the children in Mbaka Oromo were born at home by a midwife. The inability to give birth at a clinic or hospital has prevented babies from receiving critically necessary vaccinations and medications. Our health clinics will screen children for all typical diseases (including HIV/AIDS) and determine which vaccines and medicines they require.
We are also supporting self-supporting micro-industries. Self-sustainability is key to our work. We have put a substantial effort into solar cookers, which save one ton of firewood per unit per year. Not only is this an industry that operates in Kenya, thus good for the economy, but the product reduces pollution, saves trees and most importantly improves the health of Kenyans by getting them out of non-vented kitchens with open fires. Joining Hearts and Hands is also supporting vocational education through the Rotary Polytechnic Institute of Kisumu and the self-sustaining orphan feeding program run by the Kisumu Kiwanis.
One of Joanne’s special projects involves the schools for the blind. We visited two such schools in November. Thanks to BOCES #1 in Fairport, we were able to deliver two suitcases full of Braille materials. One of the schools in Kisumu is in miserable condition. We hope to put a group of volunteers together early next year to put some “elbow grease” into this institution.
We hope that you find this newsletter informative and that you agree that there is much to do in Kenya for those less fortunate than we.
Thanks for your continued support. Without your help, we would not exist.
~~Bill and Joanne Cala