03 February 2009

Kenya See The Potential?

For about two months, Steve and Geoffrey have been telling me about a site that they have been dreaming about. This property is just a short-walk from our house and could be the beginning of some huge things in Kitale.

Geoffrey and Steve took me, Daina, Dan, Jeff and Trent to see it this afternoon.
What was once a hospital and medical training site is now an abandoned building with huge potential.

There is talk of moving the Oasis drop-in centre here and adding a vocational training school. This would create a great next-step for some of the older street boys and other Kenyans who more than likely will not take the route of traditional education. Instead, they can train in wood-working or tailoring (this all sounds very Sally Struthers in my head).

As I walked around the site, I'll admit, I was a little afraid (I mean, abandoned, dirty, dark hallways...it felt like an old psycho-thriller set in an insane asylum).


The idea of cleaning it, painting, fixing it up and filling it with people...

I am so sad this purchase wasn't made months ago so I could be here to help with the beautification process...but it gives me one more reason to come back in August!

Here's the front of the building:
The sweet "elephant" in what was the children's ward of the hospital:
Just one of the many hallways filled with showers and toilets (can you imagine giving street kids a place--other than the river--to bathe!)
My favorite place: the crematorium. This is the bleeding table (Steve's explanation: place the body on, slit the throat and let it drain out...then toss the body in the fire in the next room...)
The dead rat next to the bleeding table
Another hallway...the place has such great lighting and ventilation
A few offices
A GIANT field out front...
A place for water-tanks...it also has full sanitation, and high-power electricity (which could mean vocational training in welding, etc)
And the cutest black chicken with her six babies: 3 black, 3 white.
I am unbelievably excited about this place! I can't wait to see it in working order!


Julie Hibbard said...

Wow! Dead rats in the blood room. You don't see that in Santa Margarita!

Did you say, "Milo, don't step on the chickens!"?

What a project!! I am amazed there are not people living in there!!

Mama Oasis said...

We have been praying for a place like this for so long!

It is a huge stretch with our already tight budget...but, I believe it is a direct answer to our prayers.

Our little wooden/tin roofed shack that has been the children's centre for 4 years is not only bursting at the seams with an overpopulation of kids...but, as you know, is being eaten by AFrican Termites and has rats in the rafters.

I pray that all of the people that love Oasis of Hope will take this opportunity to reach out and help us to make this long standing dream a reality....a safe, secure and roomy facility in which to transform the lives of the kids of Kitale, Kenya.

Anyone interested in donating or learning more about Oasis of Hope can contact me directly at Oasisofhope@mac.com

Thanks for blogging about it Alliso !

Lydia Monroe
Executive Director
Oasis of Hope/USA

Mama Oasis said...

I want to add something. People often say to me...."I wish I could help you...but, I am only (fill in one) a student, a single mom, working at a low paying job, a retired grandfather....etc, etc, etc."

Of course, there is dancing in the halls of my offices when I open up the mail to find an unexpected check made out for hundreds or (rarely) thousands of dollars. These are often the one-time donations that come out of the blue like a miracle to get us through a particularly tough financial challenge.

But, and this is a big one.....the majority of people who have committed to send reoccurring monthly donations are sending between ten and one hundred dollars per month.

When I tell people this, they often say..."Oh, I would feel silly sending you such a small amount per month." I always tell them that just ten dollars will feed a child breakfast and lunch at Oasis of Hope for an entire month! Many of these kids come from the slum areas of Kitale, where they are cared for by a widowed mom or an auntie or a grandmother that is also caring for many, many children (I have seen one grandmother with all of her 30 grandkids after HER 10 children all died of AIDS) .

Having a resource like Oasis of Hope is transforming families like these. Also, children who are fed seem to get sick less. They are also able to finally concentrate and learn in class because they aren't weak with hunger.....Ten dollars can do SO much.

But the key here is having many, many people sending a little bit. As the Bible says "Many hands make for light work". My dream is that EVERY person who has been to Oasis in person (and there are hundreds!) or who has been touched by a blog or a story or a photo that they read on the internet , or they were told by another person...that ALL of these people would form a giant interlocking web of love for the kids of Kitale....ten, twenty, thirty dollars a month each.

I once blogged about Jelly Beans in a jar....how you never imagine how many are in there....in most contests of that sort, people always underestimate the number. I want a jelly bean jar for Oasis...full of loving, caring people giving a little bit each..until the jar is overflowing.

Do the math...500 people giving 20 dollars each would cover our ENTIRE budget for a month!

I know it is a really tough time in America right now. I know that for some people...there isn't an extra penny. But, for a lot of people...there is still money to go to Starbucks, to go to the movies or to wander around Target buying random items that catch their eye. How much more satisfying and life changing could it be to save a child's life instead?

This is my cause and my life. I know that not every person is going to care the way that I do. But, I know that Allison does, and Daina and Chris and Matt and Andrew. This group of twenty-something's spent a relatively short time working at Oasis over these past several months...and I know that their lives have been transformed by the experience.

I wish I could live in Kenya full time. But, I realize that the other part of my "mission" for these kids is the part where I help others realize the tremendous blessing and joy that comes when you give to another person. My life has honestly been transformed these past 4 years since Geoffrey and I decided to start Oasis of Hope.

I don't know if anybody has read this...but, I wanted to share a little bit more of my heart.

Again, my email address is oasisofhope@mac.com

Or, if you would like to speak with me directly about the many ways you can get involved with Oasis of Hope...call me at 714 264-8100. By the way...all donations that come through our U.S. account are tax deductible.

Thanks and God Bless!

Lydia Monroe
Executive Director
Oasis of Hope