Archive for the Category ◊ Kenya ◊

27 Jun 2009 Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | 3 Comments

We were so excited to arrive in Kenya and meet the children at the Galilee Primary School and Lorna Waddington High School, who had received the first distribution of mosquito nets. The schools are located in the Kayole-Soweto slum area of Nairobi, Kenya. Over 1700 students attend school on the campus. Many of these children are orphans, all live in poverty.

Upon arriving we were greeted by the school’s director, Fanuel Okwaro. He took us around to every classroom where we were introduced to the teachers and welcomed by the students (classes start at “Baby Class” level pre-K3, moving into Nursery School, then Pre-Unit, like our kindergarten in the US, and then grades one, two, and so forth through 8th grade. Students then take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam to determine if they are eligible to attend high school, which goes from Form 1 through Form 4) . Each class had a poem or song that they performed, it was awesome! While touring the school we also got to see the kitchen which is located where the Galilee Primary school started in 1997, in a simple building with two small rooms and dirt floors. At lunchtime we went to the library, which also doubles as the teachers lounge, where we met the principal & several more teachers. Thanks to the organization Feed The Children, a hot lunch is provided to students every day school is in session (Monday thru Saturday). Lunch consists of beans & rice or beans & maize…for many children this may be the only meal they get that day.

We spent the afternoon typing exams on 2 of the schools 3 computers. They only had hard copies of most of the exams which makes it very difficult to update and/or make changes…with the exams saved into the computers teachers can modify the tests as they see fit. At the end of the day we got to play with the children and then Fanuel gave us a ride back to the Rusam Guesthouse, where we had dinner & passed out early.

On our 2nd day we headed to downtown Nairobi with Duncan (Fanuel’s assistant) to do some shopping for the school. In addition to the mosquito nets we purchased (thanks to the donations from our friends and families) we also bought school supplies. Notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, crayons for the little ones and many other necessary supplies…we even got a few fun items! Two new soccer balls and a table tennis set. Back at the school we spent the rest of the day inputing more exam data into the computers. In the late afternoon when the children were out of class we went out into the dirt courtyard in the center of the school to teach the kids how to play ping pong. We borrowed 2 square tables from the classrooms and as we were setting up the net, a crowd of children quickly gathered around. Sherri & I demonstrated (as best we could) how to rally the ball back and forth. The kids were gathered so tightly around us that someone always caught the ball if we happened to miss it. We took turns rallying with the children trying to give each of them a turn. Once they had the basic concept down we stepped aside…even some of the teachers got involved and the older kids tried to explain the rules to the younger ones, who were much more interested in just hitting the ball back and forth.  It was so much fun…by the end of the day our cheeks hurt from smiling!

That evening we were invited to one of the classrooms to watch the choir practice. They put on a full performance including song, poetry and dance. They really have some talented students and they will be competing against other schools later this year.

We really enjoyed our time at the school! We especially loved the time we got to spend with the children playing games and taking pictures! The kids loved seeing themselves on our digital cameras…we’d snap a couple pictures and then show it to them and they would just laugh and laugh!

We also taught some of the children to play Bocce Ball thanks to Jeff Kelley and our friends at Sanuk who gave us a soft bocce ball set to take with us on our trip…we left it at the school for the kids!

The children in the orphanage had already received nets from a shipment sent earlier in the year. From wear and tear, some of the nets had small holes in them which could allow the mosquitos to get in, so we spent one afternoon sewing these holes so that the children would still be protected.

Thanks to our friends, family and Netting Nations that helped make this part of our world trip one of the most amazing experiences!!!

26 Jun 2009 Watoto Centre School – Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | One Comment

Watoto Centre School was the 5th school we went to and was located next door to the Galilee school.  This was the largest school we visited, with over 1,200 students and 120 orphans at their 3 orphanages.  The orphanages were actually quite nice with cheerful drawings painted on the walls.  The last one we went to even had a garden and a cute kitchen.  We helped the children put the nets on their beds, which was a lot of fun and kind of reminded me of how we used to build forts with sheets and blankets when we were little.

It was such an awesome day!  We felt like we had seen thousands of children (which we had).  We are so thankful that we were able to have this wonderful experience and help all of these children.  We’ll definitely never forget it!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who helped make this possible.  For anyone who is looking to help, there are still many children who need nets! Visit the Netting Nations website to find out what you can do to help!

26 Jun 2009 Candle Light School – Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | 2 Comments

The 4th school we went to was the Candle Light school, which was run by Pastor Afwai and had about 300 students and 42 orphans.  When we arrived at the school we met Afwai in his office, which is also the sewing room.  A little boy was working diligently on a sewing machine making a beautiful hand bag.  The school teaches the children how to sew, so that they acquire a useful skill and then they also sell the items the children make to raise funds for the school.  Rana bought an apron and I bought the hand bag that the little boy had just finished making.  This school was the smallest one we went to and was located in the heart of the slums.  Since we still had to make it to the 5th school, we took a quick tour of the campus, met some of the students and then gave Pastor Afwai 42 nets for all of the orphans.

26 Jun 2009 Boston School – Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | One Comment

The 3rd school we went to was the Boston School, where Fanuel’s brother was the director.  There are 323 students from preschool to eighth grade.  Those who finished the eighth grade then moved on to Fanuel’s school.  After visiting the classrooms, we handed out nets to some of the students and then got together for a big group photo.

26 Jun 2009 Humble Hearts School – Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | One Comment

The second school we went to was the Humble Hearts school.  The school was started in 2004 and there are 350 students total, of which 40 are deaf.  This is one of the only schools in Nairobi that teach the deaf and they teach all their students sign language.  They also teach the parents sign language once a month and on Thursdays the entire school uses sign language to communicate.  This was one of our favorite schools as the children gave us a very warm welcome.  As our car pulled up to the school, we were rushed by a sea of adorable children wearing purple uniforms.  When we got out of the car they swarmed around us laughing and smiling and reaching out to hold our hand and give us high fives.  The were so cute and happy, we loved it!

After touring the school, Beatrice, the Director of the school, took us to her parents house where there was temporary housing behind their house, where 35 deaf students who were orphans lived.  We gave her nets for the 20 beds, as most of the children had to share a bed.

26 Jun 2009 Brightstar School – Nairobi, Africa
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | Leave a Comment

The first school we went to and distributed the mosquito nets was the Brightstar school.  We were so excited to meet the children. The Director of the school, Andrah, and his wife, Jacqueline, were very welcoming and appreciative that we were bringing them nets. They explained to us that having malaria nets was a luxury that they could not afford but really needed.

At the school there was approximately 500 students with about 90 orphans living on campus.  Andrah and Jacqueline showed us around the school and introduced us to each classroom. When we entered each classroom the students would stand up and greet us and recite a poem or song for us. They were all so adorable and incredibly sweet that it made me wish we could do more for them.

After the tour of the school we went to both the boys and the girls dorm rooms and handed out the malaria nets.  The children were so excited and immediately tore open the bags and began to put the nets over their beds.  The boys even made up a song on the spot, which went something like this “we are so happy, we are so happy, we are so happy today.  No more mosquito bites, no more mosquito bites, no more mosquito bites today”.  It was so cute and we were very touched!  Unfortunately, we were only able to give out nets to all of the orphans who lived at the school, but the other 400 students still need nets. It was hard to realize that we were only making a small dent in the problem, but every bit does help! If you would like to purchase malaria nets for these adorable children, please go to Netting Nations

25 Apr 2009 World Malaria Day – April 25
 |  Category: Kenya, Pre-Trip Prep, Volunteer  | Tags:  | One Comment

Today is World Malaria Day, which is a day that is set aside to raise awareness of what a huge problem Malaria has become.  Malaria is a disease that kills nearly 1 million people every year. Eighty six percent of malaria cases occur in Africa, but it also remains a global problem that affects countries in large parts of Asia and Latin America. This mosquito-born disease is preventable, yet every 30 seconds one child dies from it.  Celebrities such as Oprah and Ashton Kutcher have also been working on raising awareness on this serious issue.  We can all do our part to help.   Before leaving on our world tour, Rana and I threw an event to raise funds to purchase nets through the non-profit organization, Netting Nations.  We will be arriving in Nairobi, Kenya in June to distribute these nets to the children who so desperately need them. We thank all of our friends an family who donated funds.  If you would like to donate you can do so by going to www.nettingnations.org or by clicking on the “Donations” tab above.

31 Mar 2009 Netting Nation’s Net Distribution to Nairobi, Kenya
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | Tags:  | Leave a Comment
Netting Nations’s extends a “special” thank you to Laurie Lathem, Morgan Robinson, Ariela Anelli and the rest of the CSULA students, in addition to Rana Townend, Sherri Vann, Monet Quick, (donations from the Net-a-Fit benefit) and everyone else who contributed to this latest distribution of 700 nets to the “Kenya’s Kids in Need” organization! As you can see from the pictures, the children are very appreciative of the nets they just received and will sleep better at night knowing they are protected.

Netting Nations has many more projects to tackle.

Mosquito nets are the most cost-effective method of preventing the spread of malaria and saving lives. For every 30 nets distributed, one less life is lost to this deadly but preventable disease.

Please visit www.nettingnations.org to contribute!

Thank you,

The Netting Nations Team

22 Feb 2009 Net-A-Fit: A Benefit to Save Lives

On Februrary 22nd at The CAMP in Costa Mesa, CA the night before we were set to leave on our worldwide adventure, we hosted a benefit aptly named “Net-A-Fit”, to raise awareness and money for Netting Nations, a non-profit organization that provides insecticide treated mosquito nets that prevent malaria and save lives.  The money raised at this event will buy nets that we will personally distribute to those in need in Kenya.

Net-A-Fit was a great success!   DJ Mark Moreno kept the music flowing throughout the night & The Shys rocked the house! We had a silent auction and raffle drawing with some great prizes…a Bustin Down The Door Package with a Special Limited Edition DVD, coffee table book and PT’s re-make of his 70′s single-fin surfboard courtesy of Peter Townend and a 5 day/4 night stay in Cabo courtesy of Riviera Magazine. 

Thanks so much to all our friends and family that volunteered their time to help out at the event.  We couldn’t have done it without you…Monet Quick, Kristin Chodera, Jessica Wright, Elisabeth Brilhart, Ann Marie Guyer, Kristen Barnett, Troy & Cathy Bishop, Ryan Taj, Tien Vares (lots of people want your cookie recipe!), Chris Morrow and our lovely bartenders that poured strong cocktails and kept them coming Jye Townend, Scott Capper, Tosh Townend & Nicole DeJesus.

Thanks to all the sponsors and for all the donations we received that helped raise funds for Netting Nations.  Shaheen for letting us use the space & Monet at The CAMP, Valerie at Riviera Magazine, U4rick Vodka, Rockstar, Back to Health Massage, Jessica at The Giving Club, Peter Townend (Dad) at The ActivEmpire, Loyann Townend (Mom) for her beautiful photo art, Ike Stranathan for his photos on canvas, Kimberly at Beauty Society, Monica at L-Space, Lesa at Lesa Wallace Handbags, Rebecca Dwight, Sabatinos, and Tosh Townend at WarCo.

Also a big thanks to our friends and family that helped us with the lighting and layout set-up the night before the event…Melissa Hennessee, Jennifer & Chris Schaumburg, Kristin Chodera, Irmgard (Rana’s grandma) and Eunice (Sherri’s mom).

We had such a blast!  It was so great to be seen off by all our friends and family!  We love you all and thank you for your support!  Thanks to everyone that bid on the silent auction items, bought raffle tickets and just donated money for the nets directly…check out our website in June to see photos and videos of some of the beautiful faces who all of you helped save!

For any of you who did not make it to the event, but would still like to contribute by purchasing some mosquito nets you can mail a check made out to Netting Nations to:

Netting Nations
1147 Highland Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Please add a note that you would like it to go towards the shipment of nets being sent to Rana & Sherri to distribute in Kenya.  We’ll also be getting an address in Kenya for anyone who wants to send school supplies, clothes, candy or anything else you think the kids may need.  Then when we get there we’ll hand them out for you and take pictures so you can see your items being given out and the smiles that you made happen!

Malaria has killed more human beings than all wars combined. Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.  That’s over 3,000 kids per day!  Studies have shown that per dollar spend, these nets are the most cost effective way to save a life.  Statistically speaking, for every 30 nets distributed, one life is saved  Each net costs around $5, so it is estimated that approximately $150 saves a life!

22 Feb 2009 Net-A-Fit Photos
 |  Category: Kenya, Our Trip, Volunteer  | Leave a Comment