Monday, January 21, 2008

More than just a volunteer

Ladies in Action have always relied on the goodwill of human nature and that has kep them going all these years. While funding can sometimes be a problem, finding the people who just want to help is always the most difficult thing. Ren is just that kind of person and I just want to thank her for being in my hometown, Kisumu where she is really needed. I asked Ren to give us a little detail about herself:

"In December of 2006 I came to Kisumu from the U.S. to be with my partner, Derrick, while he completed a two year fellowship with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We moved into the house adjoined to the Pabari’s, settling into our new life. I was hoping to find some volunteer work to keep myself busy while Derrick was at work, but my previous experience was pulling shots of espresso at a coffee shop, doing me little good in Kenya. I relayed to Mrs. P my interests in chit chat, unknowing of Ladies in Action. She invited me along in early January to see what they did, and I have been apart of the team ever since.

A year later, the day to day outings have changed. While we planned to be visiting primary schools this time of year for de-worming, medical camps and such, many schools have not even opened. Those that have opened are only half full with pupils. We complete a days work now with food distributions and other forms of assistance to groups in rural communities and to displaced Kenyans staying at local police stations.

Life in Kenya is on hold for most people these days. Derrick and I have personally sponsored a girl for boarding school. We were called 8 hours after dropping her off that the school received threats and we were to pick her back up the next morning. Now a week and a half after school would begin, she waits at her grandmothers for a new opening day. Really, we are all waiting. Each day I wake up and turn on the radio, hoping for news of progress, not a tally of casualties. We judge the day by the number of shops that are open or how many cars are on the road. Meanwhile, Ladies in Action continues doing what it can." Ren Odabashian

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