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2 weeks of volunteering

October 1st, 2010

Yesterday left the second volunteer of WEFOCO – Elen, who volunteered 2 weeks in Shianda village. Elen said that she likes how simple and straight forward is life in Kenyan villages. Last day she visited the families most in need from her areas and took them smaller and bigger gifts. Elen chose families to where to give chicken – families can start earning by selling eggs and new-born chicken. Elen had also collected some donations in Estonia and could divide cloths and games in some families. Five minutes before the bus left, she made her last deal and bought 4 blankets for a family that was not having bedding, beds, mattresses and that had leaking roof. Elen was talking about the nutrition in the seminars and visiting her program families also during her free time. Talking about the free time, during 2 weeks Elen had one free day and she used it to get lost in the Kakamega rain forest with another volunteer, Alari, but they definitely had good time there as we could see from the videos later. Next to getting lost, Elen faced also some real challenges while working in Shianda and said that she is changed thanks to all that she has seen and been through. One orphaned girl was left into her heart forever.

Elen and Lucie with the chicken for the program families

Elen visiting the program family

One week before Elen went home Meelis, who said that he is at home in Esonia, but he´s heart is still in Kenya. Meelis spent one night in one of the program families. He lived at the home of Benedict´s family. Benedict is a 5-years old boy who participated in HIV testing that was organized by WEFOCO in June last year and who turned out to be HIV-positive. During one year WEFOCO has been counseling the family and making sure that Benedict gets drugs and treatment properly. Recently, the main house of Benedict´s family was burned and they currently live in their kitchen. After returning from the Benedict´s family, Meelis was very motivated to help the family and provided them with 3 blankets and gave away some of he´s cloths. “It´s the latest fashion in Europe,” explained he with a big smile next to the mud hut of Benedict´s family. Meelis did a really great job while visiting the families with a local volunteer Bonnie. Meelis visited every day around 14 families and spent the evenings in the office, preparing the reports. Although Meelis was volunteering just for 3 days, his help to the organization was really significant.

Every weekend all the volunteers spend two days visiting the program families. At the moment we visit the families that were chosen by the local social studies students and the program director. The aim of the home visits is to collect data about the families and to indicate the most problematic families as well as to make sure that there would not be any family in the list that does not need to be there. During first 2 weeks we have indicated both kind of families. So we have started making changes by deleting some families from the list and by already helping the families who need it the most.

Program family

While visiting a family, we focus mainly on following:
• how many meals do the children get per day
• what do the children mostly eat
• are all the children going to the school
• who is paying the school fees and does the family have loans in school (if a family has loans, children are sent back home and not allowed to go to school before the loans are payed)
• the performance of children in school
• are the parents alive and who is taking care of them
• any health problems in the family
• family income resources
• what could family do to have better income
• counseling in case of HIV positive family members

So the main problem categories are:
• Food and nutrition
• Health problems and payment for the medical treatment
• School fees, uniforms
• HIV-infected families
• Income generating activities

Therefore the activities we currently have, are:
• Monday – day for analyzing the collected data and paper work
• Tuesday – HIV prevention work in schools and local events: video and volunteer testing

HIV testing in Shianda

• Wednesday – seminar in one of the program areas on topics such as hygiene, first aid, nutrition, income generating activities and HIV

Elen talking about nutrition in WEFOCO seminar

• Thursday – school visits to get information about the performance of the children from the program families and to collect information about the other orphans in this area

School visit

• Friday – free day
• Saturday – home visits

Alari interviewing the program family

• Sunday – home visits

We have been following this schedule for 2 weeks and we start getting an overview of the families and problems and we have been able to help already the first families.

Janika, Alari and Mirjam continue the work in Shianda following the same schedule for the next two weeks. After that Janika stays and others leave.

All my respect to my 4 friends who took the risk, trusted me and came to Kenya to volunteer for a organization that I proposed, giving their time, money, energy and good ideas. Also I would like to mention that Esther is amazing and unstoppable.


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