Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

I had the privilege of joining a team of educators in a life changing trip to Kenya in July, to see first hand the good work being done by Free the Children and Me to We, to personally experience the Maasai culture and to contribute in building an X-ray room for the nearby Baraka health care centre. To say that I was inspired is an understatement.

Living 2 weeks with very limited electricity (powered by a generator only to charge our cameras between 6 and 10 pm), no running water, away from our daily electronics and with no access to the internet was easier than I thought. This could be because we were kept so busy with a variety of activities, learning and building that I barely missed my computer. Although journaling by hand under a small pool of light from a battery operated head lamp, cocooned under my mosquito net at night took a lot longer and deprived me of some much needed sleep. But all this was worth it.

As a parent in a developed country, I wish all our kids could go on a trip like this and experience how those with so much less live and survive. Now that I have learned what Free the Children and Me to We do and how they approach their work, I can say I endorse and support them because they don’t just give them fish, they teach them how to fish, so that they can sustain the change even after Free the Children leaves the community. Before they even do the work, the community is consulted and involved in the decisions being made to improve their lives. In summary, here are the 4 pillars that Free the Children engage each community with:

  1. Education – building primary schools in the community
  2. Clean Water project – not only to provide clean water, but teach the community members how to operate and maintain the clean water system
  3. Health Care – not only to provide medical treatment, but also education and prevention to mitigate major illnesses and diseases
  4. Alternative Income – encourage, teach and coach community women groups and men groups to find ways to build alternative incomes, including “Merry Go Round” – a way for the community to pool and share financial support.

I was told that it takes Free the Children team members anywhere between 5 to 13 years to coach and support a community and to complete the 4 pillars in a community. Rather than explaining all this here, I will endeavour to put all my hand written journal entries into computer and post it here.

I feel so lucky to be living in a country like ours. It was an AWESOME trip, with an AWESOME group of Canadian, British Columbia educators.


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