Margaret is the Director of the Nursing & Community Health programs at Regina Pacis University in Nairobi... and a beautiful soul. On Day 3 of our trip, we had been asked to come and speak to the students on Prevention & Nutrition (Kellee), Chiropractic Care (Dr Kat), & Identifying Special Needs in Children (Joanie). If I'm being honest, we really just wanted to get back to the orphanage & didn't think this "stop" was as important as our overall mission. We were wrong. As we shared with Margaret what we were doing at the orphanage, almost immediately a perfect partnership emerged.
See, we'd been struggling with the realization that we could only be there for 10 days... & after that, the kids would go back to having no health care. We knew that the systems we were implementing needed routine followup. We needed hands on the ground, in the orphanage, in our place. And here within Margaret's program, there were about 40 students who needed hands-on experience - to see & touch & know what it's like to diagnose & treat & administer care. Perfect.
Margaret's eyes welled up as she said she'd been wanting to establish a program like this for years but had been stopped by her administration for lack of funds. We told her not to worry about that and, by the next day, she had emailed a description of the new program along with a proposed budget. We were able to purchase a laptop & software for her to establish medical records on each child, provide medical supplies to get them started, set up funding for her program & train many of the students so they could carry on the effort after we were gone. Margaret has already coordinated a list of doctors & dentists willing to volunteer their time to go in each month with her students. We are so honored to be working with this remarkable lady!
We all know that for this to work, we need more than just great people with a little money on this side of the world. We also have to have trustworthy and competent team members on the ground in Nairobi. One of the amazing things about this trip was that, by the end, just such a team emerged. Let me introduce them to you!
George started out as our trusted driver (and protector!)... and he is now our brother. He quickly became an invaluable part of our team. He was with us day in and day out, putting in long hours away from his own sweet family to keep us safe. He didn't drop us off or stay in the truck. He came inside the orphanage and translated for us so the kids could tell us what hurt and we could communicate back... And he fell in love with them just as we did.
Later, when we visited the ouside village of Kuwinda to bring a bag of donations and offer free medical attention and chiropractic care, George was front and center. And when we realized that the one pair of cleats we happened to have in our donation bag was going to cause a FRENZY among the boys, he helped develop a plan. We left him with the money needed, and within days he resourced the 34 pairs needed and ensured that every boy on the soccer team would have their own. He delivered them on his back two weeks later (and become the hero of the village!)
See, these boys have few hopes of college, their best hope is soccer. The coach explained to us that they have done really well against some of the best teams but that they play in whatever shoes they can find... and just slide all over the field. Cleats had to happen! Boom - done.
It was very clear to us that George is our "man on the ground". He is a college graduate with a degree in management and, as we identify projects and supply funds, he will be involved in carrying them out. He is married to a lovely girl named Florence and they have two sweet little girls. He is also now vice-chair for Project Kazuri.