Visitors to Eastfield tracked down
From: Lori Polydoros
Santa Ana, California, USA
9th February, 2011
[Lori is one of the ladies that recently visited Kileva Eastfield – see blog entry https://kileva.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/tourists-visit-kileva-eastfield-school/]
I first visited Kenya three years ago as a volunteer on the Lions of Tsavo Earthwarch project out near ranches outside of Tsavo east. There, I fell in love with the land, wildlife and people. I became good friends with Simon Wahjohi, our driver and guide, and we started a pen pal relationship with his son’s school in Voi and my son’s class here in Santa Ana, CA. From there, Simon put me in contact with Patrick Kilonzo, a community organizer who lives in Kajire.
Last year at my kids’ school, I started “Pens, Pennies and Pencils” a school-supply/donation drive for three schools: Kajire, Mwambiti, and Kileva. As the project grew this year, we expanded. We collected school supplies and donation, sold handcrafted projects (from the communities and some from Nairobi. This $$, as small as it is, helps to support Patrick so he can do this community work,) and organized 12 classes into pen pal partnerships. We raised enough money to bring 300 books, $300 worth of school supplies, two laptops, and then all the school supplies the kids collected.
I finally was able to get back to Kenya–so we presented our gifts and worked in the schools for about a week. It was wonderful. We worked in some classrooms in Kajire using the books we brought, and organized sports activities for all three schools as well with the sports equipment (relay races, skill games, etc.)
My friend, Nicola Clarke from Wales met me there, and I was able to bring my 13-year-old son. I’m a teacher and a writer–so these experiences were some of the most rewarding moments. The communities/kids were so eager to play, work and get to know us–they were so welcoming and excited to develop our relationships.
- apply for non-profit status,
- continue to develop sister communities with these three schools and schools her in CA (that would include pen pal/teacher partnerships, and fundraising,)
- start applying for grants and larger donations to help us get grounded,
- build a website and promote.
- start a volunteer program,
- two-way teacher exchange,
- earn funding for adult skill training programs,
- connect with well water, and bee programs…
- and expand into different parts of Africa and possibly Latin America.