Hi again...there is a glitch so cant attach photos.. we r working on it!!!
Tues. Feb 2 I went to one of the grandmothers meetings--some of them walk a long way to sit on the grass or dirt and chat with other grammas who are also caregivers to grandchildren. It is very humbling as they think I am equal or better than Jesus! I try to convince them that we have limited funds and I cannot do miracles... but they see me as HOPE and I guess that is a good thing.
Also yesterday friend Stanley went to Sharons and her mom and cleaned out her hut.. He said it was sooo dirty and congested but he cleaned it out and built a table inside to help her organize the mess-- rats and cockroaches and dust and dirt....it was a big job. Also Stanley said their latrine fell down so they are using the bushes.. so we are going to build a new one I think in the next few days.. yeah, One Sharon at a Time...
Feb. 3 Wed. Trying to send an article to the NY Times!! Bruce is thinking big! Its a revamp of one I sent to the Guardian in late 2015 which was successful in attracting new donors,, can you imagine the awareness the NY Times could provide. we will see.
The weather is like a comfy late August day,, sunny, but with a nice breeze.
Met a couple from Pickering, Ontario who are here for 4 months.. they are retired, he is Canadian and she is Kenyan originally from here in Meru. They visit her family here for the winter rather than go to the southern US. They just relax and cool it here-- nice.
Yesterday and today I wanted to visit a few schools where there are kids we helped with uniforms and fees. BUT the lady I was to go with got busy yesterday and she just called me and said she is at a meeting that is ongoing so we can go tomorrow..NOT yesterday NOT today now tomorrow.. there is no hurry here.. Patience Bruce Patience!
Oh.. another item and a big one-- there is a man I met here with a young wife and child and he says he cannot get any work and is hungry. .. so there he is, standing in front of me with his wife and baby without money for food.. so I gave him $10.. it's easy to say u shouldn't help as he must find work but Oh well, hope it feeds them for a week... so I am a mushy melon!
Feb 4 Thurs. wanted to visit kids in school who we bought uniforms for but its a teacher training day !!! cant win. So I will see some of them tomorrow... Stanley and I walked into town and then took matatu (van) 5km to visit some kids we are helping but they were not home and gate locked. We did not have their phone number so we couldn't with ahead... but we went toward town and found a family with a boy we are helping-- he was so excited to meet me he wouldn't leave my side!! 85C today and I am sweating buckets and everyone is but no one complains...
Fri the 5th today Justa, a lady field worker in our group was to meet me at 9am but she showed at 11am. but we . finally visited a school with a grade 7 boy whom we gave a school uniform to plus his school fees. The teachers were so nice to talk to and they let me talk about Canada to the grade 8 class and sooo attentive with many questions --nice. But there are 280 kids in the 8 grades and 20 too poor to bring lunch so they r too poor so they don't eat from 8am to 5pm if thyey eay porrage for breakfast .. life is not fair to many! and right next door to that school is the Methodist sponsored feeding centre that feeds 33 poor kids porrage at 11am and lunch at 1pm and they keep records and names of the kids being fed,,quite professional..these are nice things that can happen and I helped serve the kids-- felt good!
Sat Feb 6 went to the country to visit a small orph. the van was crowded so they took a lady from the front seat and stuffed her in back and gave me the roomy seat!! kept saying no but on deaf ears.. something went wrong with food or ?? cuz I returned to my room and was quite ill--diahrea and the chills and sweated half the nite.. .. my sheets were really wet with sweat so I washed them this morn,, thought malaria but am ok now.. not a good nite. but OK!
wish u enough
Hi again...there is a glitch so cant attach photos.. we r working on it!!!
Hi to all some GOOD THINGS
Good , nice news-- I gave some of our donated money to my group to pay the school fees for the 60 most needy kids we bought school uniforms for in December. Mandatory uniforms cost about $30 and the mandatory school fees for their 3 terms are about $60 so the "FREE" Kenyan school year costs all the kids about $90.. and there are throngs of poor families who cannot afford these costs. We have registered 700 needy kids and our budget allows for school funding for only 60 kids so the other 640 kids DON"T GO TO SCHOOL!!.. but we are doing our best with all your donation help.. we have to concentrate on the success of 60 kids attending school who wouldn't be there without our aide...GOOD THING
BTW Sharon's mom is not as good a mom as we thought- she doesn't wash and feed Sharon and the Gramma well.. and her hut is a mess so Stanley is counselling the Mom of how best to care for Sharon and Gramma. Hope his counselling works--think it will. BTW we are funding a new table for their hut so it can be better organized and cleaned. GOOD THING
This past week Stanley and I were fundraising and we met an old friend of his, Martin. Martin is a Kenyan born Indian whose Dad was from Goa and came to Kenya in 1926. Martin is a very successful businessman and he is going to arrange a meeting with other successful businessmen so we can do a big presentation for donations..that is a big help and we hope it works!!
GOOD THING (BTW we met at Martins home which is quite palatial...)
Also Juliah at the kids rescue center is interested in a sustainable project-- a fish pond. We visited a agricultural center where they display many programs and fish ponds too. This venture has more sustainable success possibilities than cows or goats or chickens or corn. So we are helping them set it up.. the professionals at the ag center will work hand in hand to make the ponds a financial success. another GOOD THING
My comp bumped a desk and the hard drive was injured -- got it bandaged but felt so stupid..... The internet connection here is an off and on thing but that's just life here,
Am off to visit some of the school kids we are assisting
peace tp all
Hi to all..
I hope you all don't read my blogs and think I am being negative or sour--- these are just comments to friends and supporters on my experiences of what I hope you find interesting and entertaining.
Arrived a week ago and was very tired after the 3 day trip including a overnight in Nairobi. "Mama" Kimbui met me at the airport, She is the mother-in-law to a Kenyan lady who lives in Charlottetown where I met her two years ago.
Been here a week and am settled in a small clean room in a decent neighborhood- it's a one room with bed and toilet and shower and cost about $2.50 a day. Its a convenient location so am ok..For food I can but 2 boiled eggs for 50 cents in the morn, omelet and bread for lunch at $1 and dinner of rice and small chicken for a few bucks .. am losing weight but that's just due to sweating and NO after dinner snacks. BTW at night I am reading Gresham books and doing the Sudoku.
I forgot how noisy it is here..kenyans are used to it and can chat on their cell phones while music is blaring on a radio and loud trucks and motorcycles are a challenge. . Maybe the noise is louder for old ears! btw the countryside is still pretty littered but the town of Meru is cleaner..and that's great. And up in the tea hills about 10 km it's so clean and pretty. Also the rains have let up so there is no mud.
SHARON.. that little 3+ year old who we are feeding and clothing. We visited her on Saturday and brought food and clothes from our kids. She liked it all but the coloring book and pencils and toys were the best. Her mother was not there so we left all with gramma. We also brought clothes to the orph and to the rescue center.. so some kids are a bit sharper dressing today !!
SOOOO things can be better,
I wish you enough
Well here I am in transit to Nairobi . Was home from Dec 2 to Jan 17 but some things came up for me to return.
Most of u are aware that my best friend in Meru, Kenya was Ann Mugwe. In my last blog in December I told u I visited Ann in a Nairobi hospital the day I left. I thought she had some kind of congestion health issue but it was much more serious-- she had throat cancer and Ann Mugwe died in Mid December. Ann was my sister and mother and best friend and the loss was devastating. I wanted to attend her funeral om Dec. 24 but with the world-wide Christmas travel season, the usual return flight
of $1600 was $4000 so I did not attend her burial. This Kenya visit will be much different and challenging with my friend gone-- she was my anchor in Meru....
Some of your donation money was set aside for a new location for the 25 child orphanage Ann owned and managed-- her orph. is on rented land and the owner wants it vacated for a new sale. Ann and I and Stanley were looking for land with some of the donation money but Ann never returned from Nairobi. Ann's grown children have taken over the orphanage management and are choosing a fairly expensive site.. I told then our donation is only to be spent if monies for land and buildings is gathered as I
am a bit fearful the land will be bought but there may be no cash for buildings.. sooo I am going to ensure our money is well spent.
This is too wordy but my other group WELLS OF LIFE is still operating and I will deliver some donation money to them,,, but again I must be there to ensure it all goes to essentials.. And I will visit little Sharon and Godfrey too
more to come.
You all were generous in 2015 and if you know anyone who wants to donate there is still the enormous need.. ... checks should be made out to MCOH (Mikinduri Children of Hope) but in the notes section write Needy Kids Kenya-Bruce Garrity and sent to Maureen Garrity 25 Blythe Cres., Charlottetown, PEI, Canada C1A8C7
sorry about my bad news concerning Ann .. what a loss
in any case hope Christmas was good for u all and hope 2016 is even better
and I wish you enough
Writing this at Heathrow airport in London during a 5 hour layover...
what a wild time as I depart'' lots of tears as my cell rang a lot from friends saying goodbyes and
nice things... the job is far from completed so there is a lot more work to do with funding proposals...
This is what some of your donations did: bought 60 sets of school uniforms as uniforms are a necessity here, helped put a roof on a kids rescue centre school, bought some rabbits so the rabbit profits (we hope) will help with Ann's orph and Stanleys new orph., helped an Indain Kenyan get meds for a sick child, provide an upgrade to Ann's orphanage, start a sponsorship of $30 month to feed SHARON and family, also u allowed me to buy bags of single candies that I gave to every needy kid I met, gave Godfreys mom 100 KSH ($1.20cdn) cuz she loves Godfrey and cleaned him up so well.... and on and on and on
NOV 30 Tuesday Departed Meru for 4 hour trip to Nairobi. More experiences.. the van conductor said it was 600 ksh ($7.5) for the 4+hour hide and he tried to gyp me for 200ksh ($2.5) as he said there was a fee to put my big bag in the back.. a very nice lady used what appeared to be sharp Swahehi and said NO, the white guy does not have to pay that extra fee... and I didn't- nice lady to help and protect me felt very nice !
NAIROBI --- met Mama Lois Kimbui who put me up for 4 days when I arrived. She treated for dinner in her restaurant. AND she wanted to chat and the placed closed at 5:30pm in downtown Nairobi..so I waited for her to get time to chat and watched the 10 or so ladies clean and wash every inch of the floor and tables and walls and chairs-- they were so good that at 615pm I complimented them all on their great work.
THE PATIENCE here ! Nairobi is BEDLAM with cars and busses and vans and people.. traffic jams here called JAMS.. its 10 time Times Square in NYC !!! People que up in lines of a hundred for a bus seat to get home and they inch along the line fpor 30 to 40min.... all very civil and sooo time consuming.
DEC 1 TUES my friend Ann is in Nairobi getting radiation and chemo Stage 2'5 to 3... went to visit her for 2 hours in am and 2 hours in afternoon. She is tired but in good spirits and is a special lady. her ward has 8 women and some were VERY ill. The nursing staff were very good-- Nairobi has good services.Ann's son David drove me around while visiting hours were closed. I held Ann's hand and we chatted'' hope u remember Ann and Stanley and Bruce are the 3 muskateers..
I want to mention the common sense of women her ( and everywhere) Stanley who I love told me last week that it would cost
$60/month to feed little Sharons family but Ann and Julian said half that is acceptable and Stanley said a nice new house for Sharons family would cost $3500 but Ann and Julia said a acceptable new one would cost $600 to $700; Stanley wanted a cement floor but thats again nice but overdoing it
David took me to the Airport and after a few hour wait ,off I flew at 11pm. My seat mate was a Britix=sh soldier and wen the free drinks on an internation flight started, we had a good time and many laughs...
5 hour wait in London, then 2 hour wait in Halifax and HOME by 5pm ChToen time
love u all
will do a short final report soon
Friday Nov 27 my comp memory is overloaded?? so i cannot check of the contents of the last blog,, so if I repeat my self, sorry ole chap.
Pope is still knocking them all dead in Nairobi.. hope his followers take action.. really hope so but it does not seem that that has happened after other visits.
Took taxi to the kids rescue centre and the driver said in heavy rains, the night before he skidded off the road into a ditch, He spent the night sleeping in the car before two pals pulled him free, the mud is as bad as ice for skidding...
Was a guest speaker at the rescue centre . The seminar started 9am to 2pm and of course it was in 95% Swaheli. The moms and grandmothers were being encouraged to keep trying to care for their kids-- wow, imagine being so poor that your kids run away due to hunger or discipline. There was tea upon arrival and big lunch at the finish.. quite tasty, although when I eat locally prepared food I fear toilet visits but the rescue centre staff who prepared the food did a good job.
Maybe repeating again but.. the UK Methodists budget about $30,000 USD on their Meru activities at the rescue centre and kids drop in centre and the feeding centre. And the UK Meth sponsor 13 other programs in Kenya- don't know their total annual budget but it would be large-- I credit their efforts as the Lady Juliah and her staff who work tirelessly for all the kids they help.. Yes they are paid staff but their dedication and involvement is real.. Guess our social workers at home are in the same category of competency.
Sat Nov 28,2015
Weekends are kinda lonesome so I walked the 2+ miles from my room at the Cathedral to the rescue centre, Since it was Saturday, the staff were home except for a lady caring for the 7 kids who are there but who will be returned home or to a foster family if their home is deemed not acceptable. Played soccer and the kids who are young and small, joked that Mr. Bruce is an Elephant.! I am huge compared to them.
Did computer stuff and walked around a bit. Dinner with priests and the food is good and plentiful.. too much. Can ya imagine too much in the middle of Kenya???
Sunday Nov 28 another quiet day. But got an email that the org GRANDMOTHERS HELPING GRANDMOTHERS are reviewing our proposal at least its not a NO !! Lots of rain and slippery in the mud..
Called a number of people and said farewell,, will be going to Nairobi tomorrow and a late flight on tues, nite (11pm) to London then to halifax then home at 445pm Wed,
My job will be trying on the Net to get org. funding for the kids...
1st pic Juliah Mugure the lady who rescues street kids with her compassionate staff with a girl at the feeding centre. Juliah in nice outfit and the skirt on girl was so dirty-- contrast
pic 2... at feeding centre, parents meet to get guidance and encouragement on their rescued kids/ grandkids.
pic 3 an older orphan girl opening orph. gate.. the older kids take care of the younger ones
well did it again,,, did a blog and lost it. How can I save the world if I can't blog correctly.!!
Nov. 25 2015 Wed. rain all day and mud like quagmire, To repeat myself, most Kenyans do not wear boots, some do, but most don't so their shoes are caked with mud which they scrape and wash off. but the women in their colorful and clean dresses and in high heels, just patiently walk along around the larger puddles (Ponds in Canada) . Their shoes are attractive buy are not leather so they are washable at home or work. BTW there are metal mud scrapers in many places where one can scrape off some of the thick mud. It is what it is.
Please understand that my comments and observations are NOT cruel and uppity criticisms.. example: everyone picks their teeth with supplied toothpicks at eating areas. I have heard uppity visitors smirk at this as it seems not classy.. well so what? if u have something stuck, u use a toothpick , The 1st world sees impoliteness, Africans see common sense and no airs.. You decide for yourself, but I side with the Kenyans...as I don't want to judge someone til I walk in their shoes.
NOV 26 Thursday Pope in Nairobi and the frenzy is crazy. The officials are laying sod where there never was grass, painting everything in sight and the preparation costs are soaring but the media will hopefully comment in a positive manner and some successful tourism visitation will be the result. But as an old retired tourism guy, increased visitation is very unlikely with all the costly visit preparations.
Am sure I mentioned that most Kenyans are deeply religious.. God will provide, Jesus is the answer, Pray and all will be better.. and on and on. As u can tell, I am the agnostic so I try to shut up , accept the local traditions. Blind , complete and total Faith that Jesus will provide all the answers... I kind of hide my spiritual lacking but when asked I speak my mind and listeners are astounded that Mr Bruce is an independent non-believer. I accept them and they must accept me. So there Brucie!
pic 1 Godfrey 1st observation
Pic 3 Godfrey playing on a branch in bid mud puddle
pic 2 Godfrey and Bruce are buddies
pic 4 THATS GODFREY IN YELLOW PANTS.. his mom cleaned him up and cut his hair
but the slums were full of Godfreys WONDERFUL
Quiet weekend is over...
Monday Nov. 23 The Pope is coming to Kenya and the priests are wild with anticipation, That Pope can attract a crowd. In NYC 3 or 4 tough hardened CNN reporters who have all seen war and earthquakes and plane crashes etc, were like school kids when he walked by.. Think he is quite the peace symbol but he should do 3 things: order his priests and 1 billion Catholics (the monied ones) to really share their wealth REALLY; he should let women be priests and he also should let priests marry
( celibate priests WHY). enough Brucie.
Slept well last nite.
Breakfast at 7:30 . Here it is called seven thaatty and I like that sound. Breakfast was liver and fries and it was good.
There was no rain last nite but it is returning; some of the country is flooded.
Just met with Pastor Francis who has a rescue centre (11:30am meeting tho we were to meet at 10am, guess I cannot learn local late meeting times and I will never learn) Gave him a $500 cdn from all your donations to finish his rescue centre
school house .. its a lot of money but education is the only answer to issues here... being the decider of where all donations
WAIT TIL I LOAD NEW PICS think all the world will donate!! Spent all afternoon and part evening in Meru Slums.. well there are slums in Rio and Mombasa and Delhi and Bangcock - but my Meru slums are pretty damn tragic. Poor! Moms with 2 or 3 or 4 or more kids in shacks and no male adults in sight...Kids were playing and sweating so they knelt beside a brown mud puddle and they splashed muddy water and washed their faces. Met a 7 year old named Godfrey who was filthy beyond reason. A POSTER CHILD FOR POVERTY. He has a pretty good mom who is nursing a newborn and is busy so he roams the area with his group of dead end kids,, he was crying an shy for pics as he thought I was making fun of him but we finally buddied up he followed me downtown .. this kid could be on 60 Min Feature ... wow . I gave him 1/2 bottle orange pop and then 55 cents in cake/bread and off he went all on his own.
As kids we all went out all day in the summer and on Saturdays.. but these kids are street wise at 6 or 7. They play along the roads where traffic is heavy and very fast- if the Methodist feeding centre did not give pourage at 10am and a lunch at 1pm, they simply would not eat.. The centre manager said they can't feed a late meal and the hope is the parent/ caregiver supplies evening food
Tuesday Nov. 24 GOOD STORY !!!! Yesterday Godfrey was a poster child for poverty. Today I attended a 2 to 3 hour meeting of parents of kids at the feeding centre and it was in Swaheli but being such a special white guy ! damn ! I was asked to address the group. Just prior to the meeting a nice, clean boy with short hair comes to me and says hello.. I ask his name and its GODFREY. His mother was with him and had she cut his hair and put much cleaner clothes on him and the difference was day and night. I truly did not recognize him! His mother IS trying.. she is sweet and was proud of him today.. NICE STORY.
THEN , NOW GET THIS, a boy came to the feeding center with a pretty deep cut in his foot. The older girls there washed the cut and put salt on it and used some of the cut medicine I brought with me. They did a fine job cleaning the cut but he had sandals so it will be pretty dirty later.. I watched him sit and cross his legs with the cut foot raised. THEN a fly buzzes him and LANDS ON THE CUT and proceeds to walk up and down the cut !! This boy watches the fly as if it was a science fair project !!! Damn.. i lean over and shoo the fly and he looks at me with a questioning look and I whisper that flies are dirty!
People in the third world are amazing survivors .. it's so easy to comment and criticize those who don't seem to have their act together but trying walking in Sharon or Godfrey's shoes!!
No rain today but it ain't over til its over.
hi to all
Sunday is as usual an off day for me as friends are busy.
But did go to the 2 hour Mass this morning ( 1/2 hour late but that was ok) and the Pastor at the end of Mass asked me to say a few words to the
500 in the congregation... ME?? of course I was nice and thanked them all for any support and said it was and
honor this visit to work with so many caring and professional Kenyan friends..
Then I see Ann's friend a taxi driver and he is taking in his car some of the orphans back to their orphanage ;
the pics are of his car with 12 kids and me and the driver.. one precious little girl sat in my lap and just touched
and rubbed the back of my hand... a few tiny tears there, eh !! Also the last pic is of the orph. mud.. Ann does a
great job but the pic shows why we are helping her upgrade.
Bruce in Kenya
Wed Nov 18 Edgy sleep.. kinda on edge to do the task of trying to get more cash for these kids... patience Bruce. There is the saying that "there will always be the poor among us" that saying saddens me as there is then no hope for so many. My friend Stanley asked how many in Canada and the USA are church goers and told him the rate is about 20%.. he said in Kenya it is over 80%. He said in Canada people think they are living in Paradise (Heaven) already so why bother with weekly church going? Kenya poverty drives weekly attendance to packed churches. By the way our group prays over everything.. before our meetings, at the end of our meetings, before and AFTER meals.. lots of praying here. A HS teacher of mine told me that daily church attendance was high during WW II but the day the war ended, attendance dropped to the normal few.. Don't know where I was going with that sermon !
TEA- it's so popular here like Tims in Canada and DD in the USA. Outside of Nairobi there are no drive up window places. When I explain the drive-up industry to my Kenyan friends, they just don't understand the hurry to eat and drink and drive.
LITTER; watched a guy open a liter of oil for his car and he just tossed the cap on to the street with not a glimmer of guilt. But if Kenya was clean ( or cleaner) visitors would praise it up more and tourism would be stronger.
WEATHER. Here on the equator it's always warm and comfy, even up here in the hills. Bars on all windows but no window-screens. My window in my rooms is never closed so our little buggy friends can and do enter all the time.
TRAFFIC; NO Yield or stop or any other traffic signage,, you just merge, merge, merge. And BTW during and right after the rains , the roads are as much slippery (slippy) as on ice and maybe more so. Also FYI in Kenya the highway accident and death rate is one of the highest on earth.
CANADA-- most here think Canada is part of the USA. Canada is a big secret everywhere so I carry a little map to explain...
Thursday Nov. 19 Slept well but waking at 5am but that's ok for skyping back home where it is 7 hours earlier. So it's 5am here and 10pm the night before in PEI.
Rabbits.. Stanley and I are new partners in a rabbit business. He does the work and I supply some cash... am hopeful it makes a profit so my share goes to Ann's orphanage and his share will go to his home to become a small 8 kid mini orphanage.. hope it's successful.
Stanley and I met for 2 hours to discuss all matters.
Then at 11am to 3pm our board met and after much discussion we agreed the funds that donors sent will go to school uniforms so 60 kids will get to go to school, as other funds come we will get more uniform and food too, we have almost 700 kids registered as NEEDY and none are starving but many are underfed/malnourished . It seems cruel to not spend all $$ on food but the needed uniforms opens the door to a possibly better or successful life..
Friday Nov 20 Sent funding proposals out. Also submitted a story and pics to the Charlottetown daily newspaper THE GUARDIAN with the hope some more donations will result.
Rained like the monsoons in Viet Nam.. but within 2 hours the roads are muddy but passable.
My friend Ann Mugwe who owns the Mugue Book Shop and has the 24 child orphanage is still in Nairobi getting Chemo I believe..hope she is OK as she is a good helpful person. It took 3 hours to get the cash that we had wired to Ann to hold on to until we selected what we were buying.
love to all
Bruce in Kenya