The Journey of a KURA Opportunity Kit

img_5369

I would like to share with our readers, donors and supporters what happens when $25 is donated towards a KURA Opportunity Kit for a girl in northern Kenya.

The journey begins at the AFRIpads Company in Uganda. They are a social enterprise that specializes in the local manufacture and global supply of reusable sanitary pads as a cost-effective menstrual hygiene solution for  millions of women and girls worldwide. They also employ 90% women. (Photo credit @AFRIpads)

fullsizeoutput_50a6

To date KURA has purchased and delivered 4,800 AFRIpads kits to girls and women in northern Kenya.

Our target communities have given us very positive feedback on this product. It has also been a joy working with this company who in the last seven years has delivered us a well made comfortable product in a consistent and timely manner. Thank you for your good work AFRIpads!

Once the AFRIpads arrive in Nairobi they are processed and sent 200 km north to the Nanyuki G4S.

fullsizeoutput_50a3

Here they are picked up and await the next phase of their journey to northern Kenya.

 

fullsizeoutput_50b1

Once in Nanyuki, soaps and underwear are purchased. The underwear and soaps are now ready to be loaded into the vehicle for the next leg of the trip to Marsabit County.

IMG_1526

The vehicle is now packed with AFripads kits, underwear and soaps for our 337 km journey from Nanyuki to Marsabit County in northern Kenya. Enough water has been purchased to sustain us during our time here and on this particular trip we have packed donated paper for the schools receiving the kits.

Attachment-1 (17)

Heading north from Nanyuki, the Opportunity kit journey continues…a short delay for a pedestrian. If all goes well, the kits should arrive at their next destination in Korr in about 4 hours.

IMG_7146

As a precaution, a security guard is picked up in Samburu as we head into a less secure region. The tarmac ends so the next few hours travel is on roads like this. Destination…Korr.

fullsizeoutput_5107

From Uganda, Nairobi, Nanyuki and now Korr, KURA’s Opportunity kits have made it to northern Kenya!

fullsizeoutput_510a

In Korr the boxes of AFRIpads are unloaded from the vehicle. Soon they will be distributed along with underwear and soaps to various schools and villages in Marsabit County, Kenya.

Marsabit County covers an area twice the size of New England with travel conditions that can prove challenging in this extremely remote area of the world.

fullsizeoutput_5134

As I said travel can prove very difficult in northern Kenya and getting the kits to the schools can be challenging to say the least! Drought is a huge problem in this area and this year in particular. However, when it does rain, the roads can become impassable very quickly. Here were are stuck for several hours in the desert.

image

We are stuck in the middle of the Kaisut desert in northern Kenya with no help in sight. The road is completely impassable but calls are made to see if someone can get to us. In the meantime I decide an SOS sign is in order. Can you guess what I used to make the sign? Yup, a combination of donkey poop, camel poop and goat poop. All I can say is you do what you need to do.

image

We have been stuck now for four hours. Several people have been contacted by phone(thank God for solar chargers) and Sokotey is on the lookout for help to arrive. I am happy to say a vehicle of 15 men finally make their way to us. After much discussion on how to proceed, our vehicle is pulled out of the mud. We are no worse for the wear. I wish I could say the same thing for the vehicle.

IMG_5340

Today we are headed to Loiyangalani Primary School in the Turkana region of northern Kenya and we are almost there!

fullsizeoutput_515a

As we drive along the desert road towards our destination of Loiyangalani and Loiyangalani Primary School for our delivery of kits, we are also driving along side Lake Turkana. Lake Turkana is the longest desert lake in Africa. It is also the most beautiful lake I have ever seen…jade green in color. Temperatures are reaching upwards of 110 degrees F. I am so tempted to jump in and cool off with these children in the photo. Next stop Loiyangalai Primary School!

fullsizeoutput_5164

The students are here to greet us and we are excited to distribute KURA’s Opportunity kits along with instruction as to the use and care of the products. Our goal is to keep the girls in school. Education is everything!

fullsizeoutput_39bd

Each girl is given four reusable menstrual pads, a pair of underwear and soap along with instruction on the use and care of the pads. This kit provides each girl the opportunity to stay in school without interruption and the ability to participate in all activities without worry. Headmasters report to us it’s working. Fewer girls are missing school. Girls are performing better with many now rising to the top of their class.

FullSizeRender (62)

Along with the distribution of AFRIpads(reusable menstrual pads, underwear, soap, instructions on use and care), KURA provides each school with a copy of Girl Talk. Girl Talk is a book created by the AFRIpads and Lunapads Companies. It teaches young girls everything they need to know when they have their first period. The goal is to give young girls the correct information on what is happening to their bodies, how they can cope with it and that it is normal, natural and beautiful. It also gives instructions on the use and care of reusable menstrual pads.Thank you @afripads @lunapads for this user friendly, informative booklet.

fullsizeoutput_515f

These smiles say it all! KURA’s Opportunity kits will last them a year or more, keep them in school and allow them to participate in all activities without worry.

Thank you to our donors and supporters who have made this delivery and our 31 previous school deliveries possible. The donation of these simple products are making a difference in the lives of these girls who otherwise would not have access to such things.We have a long way to go with one 100 more schools in this region waiting for help from us.

fullsizeoutput_51c5

From Kampala, Uganda to Nairobi, Kenya then onto Nanyuki, Korr and our final destination of Loiyangalani Kenya located near the border of Ethiopia, we have covered a lot of ground…1,621.6 kilometers to be exact.

I hope sharing the journey of just one of our Opportunity kit deliveries gives you a better understanding of our work and what it takes to get these products to remote areas of northern Kenya.

KURA but more importantly the girls in Kenya wish to thank our donors and supporters who without you, these deliveries would not be possible. YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

Please visit kuraproject.org if you wish to make an online donation towards our pad program. Remember a little goes a long way. Just $25 will purchase a kit that will last a girl a year or more.  If you wish to write a check, please make it out to KURA, and mail it to : P.O. box 505, Manchester, VT 05254

Hadi wakati mwingine (Until next time)

 

 



 

 

 

Advertisements

KURA Project’s Spring Fling – June 8, 2017

These beautiful smiles tell it all! Everyone had a fun day enjoying time together at The Dorset Field Club in Dorset, Vermont while at the same time raising funds and awareness for menstrual hygiene products for girls in northern Kenya. We are thrilled to announce funds for 850 Opportunity kits (reusable menstrual pads, underwear and soap)  have been raised from this event.

A special thank you to Joan from fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com who did a wonderful post about our work in northern Kenya. Her followers alone donated enough to purchase 250  kits that will keep 250 girls in school and free to participate in all activities without interruption.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

The KURA team and more importantly the girls from northern Kenya benefiting from your generosity thank all our supporters, near and far, for giving them the opportunity to go through their monthly cycles with dignity and access to an uninterrupted education.

Hadi wakati mwingine

 

 

 

A Day at Amboseli National Park

Today Caroline and Jacob take me to Amboseli National Park in Kajiado County, Kenya.

img_5989

Amboseli is the second most popular park in Kenya after Maasai Mara. It spans a total of 151 square miles across the Kenya-Tanzania border

Buffalo, ostrich, hippo, giraffe, zebra, monkey along with Elephants, elephants and more elephants!

Thank you Caroline, Jacob, Baby T and Nayieso for an enjoyable day at the park.

img_5005

img_5297

Hadi wakati mwingine

 

Nayieso and her stone

img_5367

It’s been just over a year since I walked down to the Msangairo River in Loitokitok, Kenya with eight year old Nayieso Orumoi where she found a special stone by the riverbed. I took this stone and used it as a mold to make sterling stone necklaces.

img_5368

The good news today is many Nayieso necklaces have been sold with all the proceeds going towards her education.

img_5366

I was excited to spend the day enrolling Nayieso in her new school, Rombo Primary School situated on the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Rombo is a boarding school so she will now avoid the 5k walk to and from her home that was required of her up until now. Nayieso and her family are thrilled with her new school and happy she will be safe and well cared for at Rombo Primary.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased her necklace and supported her education. Anyone interested in purchasing one of these special necklaces, please contact me.

img_5365

Have a great year Nayieso!

Hadi wakati mwingine

Back at the Boma, Loitokitok, Kenya

It’s been a year since I have been here. Things are still moving like clockwork on this family compound, everyone with their jobs to do. Cleaning, washing, preparing meals, taking care of the children, tending to the many cows and goats and living the life of Maasai pastoralists as they have always done.

The family is very happy to see me again and honored to have me stay with them. The honor, however, is all mine. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to live the life, if only for two days, with a traditional Maasai family.

img_5318

I am especially fond of Tinken #1, Caroline’s mother in law and matriarch of the family. We cannot speak to each other with words but we speak the same language of sisterhood, motherhood and love.

img_5306

Tinken presents me with a very special gift…a goat. This is the mother of my goat.The baby will be named Hamden for the town I taught school in for over 20 years. Hamden will be born in 3 to 4 months. I am assured I will receive news of the birth as soon as possible(stay tuned). I am honored to receive such a gift.

img_5296

Love makes the world go round.

Hadi wakati mwingine

North meets South

img_4860

Regrettably my time in the north has come to an end. During my short time here we have accomplished this and experienced so much more:

Our first ever Mentorship program for The KURA Project sponsored students and 30 students from Korr, Opportunity kit deliveries to each female student in the Mentorship program, to Loyangalani Primary School and to women in the Lependera village of Ngugrunit.

My sincere thanks to Kura, Jennifer, Gumathi and Sarah for welcoming me into your home and your lives during the holidays. I enjoyed every minute of every day.

img_5275

Now I head to Loitokitok, Kenya with my dear friend, Caroline. Her Boma is located six hours south of Nairobi at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the border of Tanzania. I am excited to be reunited with her family and friends for my remaining two days in Kenya.

img_5248

Hadi wakati mwingine

Water Mission International and the Struggle for Water in northern Kenya

Over the last year WMI and its engineers have been researching ways to help bring clean water along with more easily accessible water to Korr, Kenya.

img_0156

I asked Kura if he would show and teach me more about the problem while I was here. This is what I learn:

Korr in Marsabit County lies in the arid lands of Kenya. Marsabit County is the most neglected area of Kenya with poverty rates of over eighty percent and less government support then any other area of Kenya.

img_5270

There is no single running river in the entire Marsabit County. There are two rainy seasons, a long rain in April and a short rain in December. The short season usually fails as it has this year leaving the water situation in dire straits. People and livestock are suffering from dehydration and even death.

Women do the arduous work of carrying the water in jerry cans on their backs to and from their villages in 100 degree plus temperatures. One village is 2 kilometers away from the borehole, the second village is 3.5 kilometers away.

img_5268

On the way to the borehole, we meet a woman named Seison Ngusa. She tells us that she has nothing and that her back is broken from juggling the carrying of children on her front, water on her back and going to town to get food each day. She wants to know if anyone cares.

img_5271

We remain hopeful with help from WMI and a generous donor, a clean water system along with piping closer to the villages will be installed in the not too distant future.

Hadi wakati mwingine

Opportunity kit distribution to women in the Lependera Village of Ngugrunit

On our way back from Lake Turkana we make a stop at the sweet mountainside village of Lependera in Ngugrunit to deliver KURA Project Opportunity kits to women here.

img_5258

I am excited to witness first hand this delivery to women who have never owned a reusable pad, a disposable pad or a pair of underwear before. Animal skins and more recently rags is what has been used. They describe the discomfort of managing their menstrual cycles up to this point and express their sincere appreciation through singing, handshakes and words of thanks for this donation.

Along with the donation, instruction is given on the use and care of the pads that will last a year or more. We look forward to getting feedback from the women who along with their daughter’s are in need of this basic necessity.

img_5261

We believe in every woman’s right to go through her monthly cycle with dignity. Thank you donors and supporters of KURA for making this delivery possible and making their life a bit easier now.

 

 

Home visit to Lependera Village, Ngugrunit, Kenya

Today we make a visit to the home of one of our newest sponsored students, Florence. Florence’s father is no longer living and this home is everything her family has. School fees are completely unaffordable as day to day living is the task at hand.

img_5212

Unfortunately, Florence was not home at the time of our visit but it was heartwarming to meet her mother who was overcome by tears of gratitude for the gift of education for her daughter. She was assured everything will be taken care of.

img_5214

This is just another example of how  The KURA Project Sponsorship Program is making a difference. Many things can be taken from a person but once you have an education, no one can take that from you.

Thank you Martha and Bill for your investment in Florence’s education.

Hadi wakati mwingine