The contrast of social and physical suffering from the romantic, panoramic views and regal animals, leaves me raw with emotions. Humanities best of intentions and the unintended consequences. Love the land and the people—despite the conditions.
You may ask why is WOCCU in Africa at an orphanage? Well, we worked with 70-80 children, many with HIV, of Busia Orphanage where WOCCU had a project. It started based upon funding from USDA grants. There is a desire to reach the people in remote, rural communities, help improve their lives and then form a cooperative, credit union to sustain change.
AIDS/HIV has ravaged the country so there are many orphans that village women have opened their homes to help. Because of WOCCU's success in remote communities, Gates foundation has challenged WOCCU to show that credit unions can reach out to these most remote and poorest communities. Then the development of a CU movement can follow with the help of technology that WOCCU has created using ASP data service bureaus. And if it works the Gates Foundation and other grants will fund replication of this process in other poor, rural areas of the world. .
Stella is the MAMAU at Busia Orphanage. She opened her home to the children when her husband passed. Dirt floor buildings, toilets in the ground and a short walk to get water from a community well. She has recruited 7 volunteers to help her with the kids, 3 teachers, cooks, admin, etc. They get room and board only. Sometimes maggots get in the children's food so they cook them with the porridge for protein, no real health risk. They are happy and extremely grateful to WOCCU to be able to eat, have a home and go to school!
Our group of 11 volunteers did repairs, set up the school rooms, visited hospitals, evaluated medical conditions, cleaned, played and danced with the kids and volunteers. 6 days of really hard, physical work and 5 hours driving each day on rough, pot holed roads. African food, no potable or hot water and the risk that comes from mosquitoes.
We also were overwhelmed with the children's spirit. They talked with us, told of aspirations, dreamed of becoming USA president. Yes, they are hopeful for the future!
The kids and volunteers dressed me in Kenya garb and taught me to dance traditional. They named me Suel and told Mike I am Kenyan now so I could stay and he could take 2nd wife. He said one was enough!!
They sang to thank all of us and we all cried. They drew pics and thank you notes! Wonderful poems and thoughts...
Mike and I went to bed at night in a modest room wondering why we were born in the USA — what is the purpose and expectation from those of us who have been blessed by birth!