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It took one trip for this community and its children to steal my heart. Like so many of you, I didn't know where to even begin. So...we started with a little love. As the days went on, I realized just how many people there were in Nairobi who were already putting so much of their time and energy into this children's home. They had the hands, the understanding, the experience, and the competence...they just needed the resources. Then I considered how many people in my community back home were looking for something to pour themselves into this way. By the end of the trip, the team had essentially created itself. I started Project Kazuri in the hopes of connecting these two groups of extraordinary individuals...the ones with enormous hearts and resources to offer, and those on the ground who could be there to use those resources to make life better for those kids.


Let me introduce you to a few members of our team...


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Margaret was 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 follow-up.  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 some of the students so they could carry on the effort after we were gone.  Margaret had already coordinated a list of doctors & dentists willing to volunteer their time to go in each month with her students.  We were so honored to be working with this remarkable lady! 


At the end of 2021, Project Kazuri was dealt a devastating blow when Margaret lost her life to Covid 19.  We were all devastated as she was a dear friend and a huge inspiration, but she was also the driving force behind all we were doing at Project Kazuri. We weren’t sure of our next steps but it wasn’t long before one of her colleagues at the University came forward to see about helping us to continue her legacy. Gideon Ogutu -- a Lecturer and Biomedical Epidemiologist -- had visited the Home with Margaret on several occasions and knew her passion first hand. He also knew of a clinical officer and former student of Margaret’s, named Jerusha, that might want to join the team. He was right.  Jerusha was God's choice for us and a perfect fit for our team! 

And so Margaret’s position was divided in half - Gideon taking on the task of overseeing the finances and government reporting, and Jerusha being the “hands” that would travel into the Home to provide medical care. She visits the Home every 2 weeks, bringing medication and supplies, treating illness and facilitating surgeries and other special needs as they arise. I didn’t think we’d ever be able to fill Margaret’s shoes, but these two have moved seamlessly into place and are doing a brilliant job!  I couldn't imagine anything better!


In 2003, a little boy came to the orphanage, as so many do, because of the financial hardships of his family. At the time, there was no hope of him finishing school or going to college which might have paved a way for his dreams: a future in photography and film production.  Instead and quite by accident, he discovered he had a knack for acrobatics. He would perform in the streets and, if lucky, would be tossed a coin here and there. One day, a troop of acrobats saw him and gave him an opportunity to join their team. This turned into a job offer, a salary, a completed education, and a way to move into a place of his own. 


But Murigi loves these kids and this place that was his “home” for a time. Though he is a busy performer (and photographer now!), he cannot stay away and often uses his own personal funds to continue to make things better for them. He is an invaluable part of the Kazuri team because of his presence there and his understanding of the most pressing needs. He volunteers as our “project manager,” and takes on the task of securing bids and workers for our projects and then overseeing each stage to completion. To say we are grateful is a ridiculous understatement as his role (and his integrity) are a gift to our whole team.


George started out as our trusted driver (and protector!)... and he is now our brother.  He quickly became an invaluable part of our team, 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 devise a plan.  We left him with the money needed, and within days he resourced cleats 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!)

It was very clear to us that George would be an important part of our team.  He is a college graduate with a degree in management, married to a lovely girl named Florence and they have three beautiful children.  He is also now vice-chair for Project Kazuri.

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