Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday at the Water Slides -- Thank you, Lilly!!

Cura is wonderful, but getting out and about is great, too... so we like to take the kids on field trips when we can. Incredible volunteer Lilly made the arrangements and got the kids and mothers out to the water slides today -- and everyone had a great time. Here's an excerpt from Lilly's report -- and some sunny, splashy photos from the big day!

The weather was picture perfect, the driver was punctual, cordial and stuck to the price negotiated - I'm hoping to call on him again if we organise another trip in the not too distant future.  When I visited Cura yesterday I asked Moses to help me gather the kids around to announce the trip and oh my gosh, my heart swells and my eyes water just remembering how they all reacted to hear they were going on a trip!!!  It was mayhem for a good 5 minutes before order was restored.  

At the park this morning we were greeted by Davis, the park manager, he welcomed us and quickly got down to the business of the park's safety rules.  Everyone was very well behaved and listened carefully.  The entry tags were fastened on the children's wrists and off they ran to change into their swimming costumes, however, 13 kids did not have proper swimming costumes, I was forced to rent them costumes at Ksh 50 each.  I have to tell you I felt funny doing this, but I had no choice, these kids would have had to sit out the entire day watching their peers have fun.  But Davis totally surprised me, he gave me a huge discount on the entry fees, instead of charging me the Ksh.300 p/c, p/a,  he charged me Ksh.200 and waved the fee for the mothers -- the total for park entry for 48 children was Ksh. 9600.00!!!  I will be writing him a separate thank you note tomorrow.  Now I hope you don't mind me doing so, but because we got such a huge break in the park entry fee, I decided to give the kids one last treat - I ran to Nakumatt and bought 10 packets of chipolatas (small sausages) to add to their lunch which consisted of rice and nothing else.  I live just two minutes from VM, I drove home, cooked the sausages and was back in twenty-five minutes.  Today was just a fab day, everyone had a great time and the smiles on their faces was beyond overwhelming.  By the time 3:45p.m. rolled around these kids were exhausted and ready to head home...after many hugs and goodbyes, they finally boarded the bus at 4:30 and were on their way back to Cura.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Two Things


Here's a note I just received from one of the members of the Cura Clinic staff, regarding the arrival of donated LifeStraws --

Dear Hayden,
I have gone through the website for"Life Straws." It's so amazing,it can be of great help to us here at Cura Home and to the community at large.The most health problems here is due to lack of clean drinking water.To clean/purify the dirty water is a big challenge due to lack of knowledge and resources.Its good because is simple to use, maintain and portable.
Thanks and all the best.

Three more straws arrived at my doorstep yesterday, and I'm eager to get them to Cura!


Our Facebook page cracked 200 "likes" this week -- if you're one of them, THANKS! If you're not, WHY NOT? Please "like" us and tell your friends!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Lifestraws are Arriving

Thanks to the efforts of friends at the Compassionate Journey Foundation, 11 LifeStraws have already arrived at my doorstep! I'll look forward to delivering them to Cura on my next visit...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Back to School

Cura Secondary School has 13 students and counting... and classes have begun. Many thanks to the hard work of the Board of Governors and the newly hired teachers who do the daily work of making education possible for these kids!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cura Clinic and GlobalFest SnoCo

I was honored to be invited to speak at the GlobalFest SnoCo -- an event that highlighted the work of local non-profits in the healthcare and development arena -- this last Friday. Here is an excerpt from my talk, celebrating the work of these amazing women -- Margaret, Perris and Jane -- who run Cura's Clinic:

Our work caring for orphans isn’t exactly a public health project, but it is tied to a larger philosophical question about what creates long term health for both an individual and her community, of course.  And that broader definition of health is actually what we’re after.

Of course, we knew right from the beginning that medical care would be a key part of our community health project. So, at the same time as we were building the Home, we constructed a basic medical clinic only steps away. This facility is small and under-supplied, but it’s local and inexpensive and an enormous step up from the options local villagers had prior to its construction.

In 2007, donations from the US paid the salary and the room and board of a full-time nurse, but the Clinic quickly became economically self-sustaining because of the constant flow of men, women and children who were eager to utilize this local facility for their basic health care needs. Now, the Clinic employs not only the nurse, but also a lab technician and an office manager, all women who are deeply committed to the health and health education of the community in which they live and work.

During my last visit to Cura, I had a long set of interviews with Jane, Margaret and Perris, the women who provide the services that save patients the time and expense of traveling to Nairobi to access basic care – and charge very little to do so.

They told me that, at the current exchange rate, a pregnancy test, for example, costs patients $1.18, and an HIV test costs $1.76.  The Clinic is in demand for these and other tests and treatments, like for malaria and for typhoid, diseases that are still pervasive in the rural Cura area.

Noting that prevention is really the best medicine, the staff also provides immunizations for local children and families. Over the last several years, these three women have mobilized immunization efforts for diptheria, measles, yellow fever, pertussis, Hepatitis B and more.

Of course, they also are called upon to do basic first aid care and triage for referrals to farther-flung facilities, when necessary. They offer basic pre-natal care, but they also provide referrals to qualified midwives and physicians, so local women get the pregnancy, childbirth and lactation support they need.

For anywhere between $300 and $500 per event, the Clinic can also host workshops to teach the community about health-related issues. They recently held a program, for example, on the glamorous topic of hand-washing and the prevention of intestinal worms. 800 local school children got to practice good hygiene and get soaps and sanitizers to take home – and they even got a healthy snack mid-afternoon! These programs have enormous impact and are inexpensive by Western standards, but even a couple hundred dollars is often prohibitive.

And free soaps and the like are often only available if they come in as donations from well-wishers in Nairobi and beyond. Though I can’t bring proper medical supplies or treatments in my own luggage, I’ve personally carried things like sanitary pads, soap and sanitizer when I travel – and I’ve lugged hundreds of toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss, donated by my own dentist.

These donations of items and funds to support the work of the Clinic are relatively few and far between, but the three women who work there make the most of everything that comes their way. We are immensely proud of the work the Clinic staff does to keep the Cura community healthy, while also recognizing that they are working within frustrating limitations.