Dan Grays log from his trip to Kenya and Indonesia in September and October of 2006
I remember the looting at the Rodney king trial and 'Katrina', it seems
when all authority is removed, the worst and best in humanity comes
out. Remember the looting that took place, ok, now you can steal
and you know you won't get caught! Remember the news clips where
even police officers were stealing from Wallmart stores!
Well, I guess this is part of being human, cultivated from years of
evolution. The Christians call it the depravity of man, but it's
not in all humans, I see both very strongly here.
When I first was doing research on IHF in late 2005, I found some
references on the Internet to a Kenyan paper where supposedly some
scammers stole money from IHF. Well, it's true, and
unbelievable. It happens all the time here, other charities are
used to it, and chalk it up as a "cost of doing business". It
looks really bad to financial supporters to know that THEIR money has
been stolen, so it's just hushed up.
Carol will not let that happen here. The way it's supposed to
work, is the investigation department of the police force is supposed
to gather all data regarding the case, then the prosecutor is supposed
to use this information in court. After the investigators have
done all their work, there is a pre-trial meeting, where the prosecutor
looks at the data to see where the strength and weaknesses of the case
is. Well, the court date is set for today. Yesterday was
the 1st day we met with the prosecutor, and we find that the
investigators have not done their job at all.
Ok, more info.... What I learn is tribes are everything here, and we
find that most of the police force on the investigating force is from
the same tribe as the defendant, and so it's no wonder that they are
impeding the investigation to protect their tribe member, but it gets
worse. We find that the banker president is actually a relative
of the defendant, and has absolutely been un-believable in obstruction
Yesterday as a last resort, after meeting with the prosecutor, we all
went to the bank. We had two police officers from investigations,
and we had Juma, the pro-bona lawyer here, (he as evolved above the
corruption and is wonderful), and Yumas, a Pokot Chief who is the
primary signer on the bank account, (two others in the CON were the
other two signers on the account) along with Carol and myself.
The police had earlier obtained a court order to get all the info from
the account, which shows the withdrawals. The bank president had
intentional left out all the withdrawals over the time period of the
theft, because it's too much of a coincidence that all the checks they
listed were there from the times where there wasn't any theft, and the
checks were missing over the period of time which the thefts
occurred. So, it's the day before the court date, we're in this
meeting with the banker president, and it's completely obvious that
this person is obstructing the justice. Even thought we had the
primary signer (the Pokot Chief), Carol, who was wiring the money to
the account, the investigating lawyers, Juma, our lawyer, he would not
give us any more information. This is with the previous court
order in place. Unbelievable! Also, since we don't have
enough info for the case, we're going to try to get a delay in the case
today. It's the only chance we have to win this thing. Both
Juma and the prosecuting attorney think this will happen in any case,
but we asked the bank president for a simple 1 sentence letter,
explaining that he wasn't able to get the information in time, so we
could show this to the judge, and get a delay, and he refused to even
do that! His excuse: "It doesn't go like that".
Well, I have my predictions, here they are. We will get a
delay. The prosecutor is another man that I find has evolved
beyond the selfishness we see, and wants justice. He is almost
ready to retire, but is a well respected prosecutor. He has clout
with the police department and I believe he will get the information we
need. Since then the case is cut and dry, I believe we will win
this case, and justice will prevail. But it won't come for lack
of trying, only because of Carols insistence that the women and
children will not be stolen from, and beware of any others that
try. I believe that after these cases are tried, and justice
prevails that no one will ever try to scam IHF in Kenya again, so it
will be worth it when it is all done.
Ok, well, we've been so busy with the case, I haven't had any time to
email, I suspect I will be emailing this out after the court case
today, as there is no time before. But last night was soooo
unbelievable! The children from the Pokot orphanage were driven
down from Pokot to Nakuru where the case is being tried. They
stayed for the first time at the new orphanage that the volunteer
chiefs and others are getting ready for them. They were brought
down so they (along with several other chiefs as witnesses) could show
up in court, and the oldest of them could actually be witnesses to the
fact that the famine feeds were NOT happening, that the scammers were
pocketing the money. This happened for 5 months I think.
The scammers stopped the famine feeds and reported that they were doing
them. They pocketed the money that IHF was sending them for these
months. They did more too, too much to explain here. But
the point is, We had one last meeting with the lawyer and the
prosecutor. We decided to have it at the orphanage. We
arrived first, and the children were all dressed in their uniforms, and
they ran out to meet us, and they all wanted to get really close to me,
hug me and shake my hand. I started balling (those of you that
know me well, know that this was totally predictable). Then
what really blew my mind was that these kids started to sing. No
instruments. You could have set a clock by the rhythm. Their feet
were tapping, and their bodies were moving, and there was the soloist
which would sing the first line, then the rest of the children would
echo, in absolute perfect pitch and rhythm, like nothing I've ever
heard. Roberta I wish so much you could have been there, but next
time you may. They all called carol Mommy and they called me
Daddy in the song. After that we gave them the toys that Roberta
packed in my suitcase. They had so much fun, they have never had
toys before, and it was unbelievable. Well, we had our meeting
with the prosecutor, and then we finally left and I was exhausted and
fell into my bed (btw, they don't put chocolate mints on the pillows
here). We pay $8 a night for my room!
Today is the trial, which we expect to be very short with a delay until
more fact finding. This afternoon I hope to have time to email
etc. On Friday (tomorrow)we head out to Pokot (I think it's about
a 4 or 6 hour drive).
So this is my life here so far!
One thing I noticed while at the court and police station, there are no
computers! In America, there's a computer on every desk!, I don't
believe I've seen one computer!
Well with the court temporarily behind us, we're free to do other
funner things! It's 5:30 am, they are supposed to wake me at 5,
so we can go pick up the things for the famine feed. I'm all
packed up, but no one else seems to be awake. Last night I was
able to do Internet, but I forgot something important for Collette, and
I think I won't have another chance 'till next week sometime.
I thought a lot last night, I woke up at midnight, couldn't go back to
sleep. It's like I've forgotten all about my telescope control
software I'm working on, etc. All I think of is the kids, the
Carol has started a program under the IHF umbrella that keeps the Pokot
college students together, in some sort of an organization that does
projects to mostly help the Pokot at home, such as encouraging girls to
attend college, not do mutilation, and many other projects. They
met with Carol for their 2nd meeting yesterday at the Nakuru
center. The Pokot are really the lowest of the low socially, and
discrimination is brutal. They are thought as the scum of Kenya
by most Kenyans, according to carol, but gosh, these kids are NOT the
scum of anything, they're really intelligent, verbal, have wonderful
ideas, articulate beautifully. Many of them are going with
student loans, and several families pitching in to pay for one kids
college. Most of these kids come from "rich" families, which
means they have a couple of cows instead of just one goat. Now
these kids have such a heart for helping their own people it's
wonderful to see! This program is called SAPTOP, Students ??
Pokot ?? ?? ?? I can't remember. There were about 20 kids, 3 of
them girls, attending 3 different colleges.
When I heard Carol talking about the "chiefs", I had a certain picture
in my mind. You think of painted faces, spears, feathers.
Well, I've met 6 or so chiefs, and my stereotype was all wrong.
These are wonderful folk as far as I can tell. One is the pastor
of a church (practically everyone here is a Christian) named
Yusuf. Then there's Moses, Amos, Joshua, and others. They
all like me a lot, and are really helpful. They mostly dress in
suits, or otherwise very nicely. Most carry cell phones!
One problem is power. They don't need much, just enough to charge
their radios, cell phones, and now the two laptops they're going to
have. We're going to tally up the power, and try to put in 3
solar panel stations. Power is miles away, and this will help
them a lot. Communication among them is a big problem, and this
may help solve that problem.
I wanted to talk about Dr. Timothy Kipkopus. Out of all the
people I met, there are only 2 drivers, one chief and then this 20 or
24 year old named Frederick. He's the official driver and drives
everyone around! Well, he and Tim picked me up at the
airport. I've had a lot of communication with Tim before I got
here. When I was first emailing him, I thought that I was talking
to an American. The emails had absolutely perfect tenses, were
very eloquent. Well, Tim is the only Pokot medical Dr. He
told me that he did well in school and kept getting scholarships.
Now he could have a really high paying job, but instead he works at a
pharmacy, and is the IHF director. He's about 26 or 27. His
heart is with his people. He loves the children and is always
looking out for them. He is such a wonderful person, and IHF is
so lucky to have him. Muhia was the former director, and Tim is
taking his place. Muhia is the one that stole thousands of
dollars. Now IHF is really lucky to have Tim!
9-30, 5:30am, well after writing the above (in the early morning of the
29th), we left for the Pokot. I'm thinking that moses was
thinking we didn't have too much money, they didn't fill the car with
gas, and we didn't have enough water, more later. We
arrived at the Pokot orphanage at I think about 10 or so. Now
much more singing and dancing.
You have to realize that the famine feed got really messed up. We
had it scheduled for the 30th, but then for some reason it was
rescheduled for the 29th. So we emailed all the Pokot
people to let them know, right? Just kidding, and that is the
problem, many of them didn't get the message, so not enough folks
showed up. They were all out at the main road, waiting for us,
who knows how long!
The singing and dancing lasts forever, and I'm starting to sweat!
Finally it's stopped, it's funny to see them, they love to look at me,
but then when I meet their eyes and smile, they turn away. It's
kind of hard for me, to be singled out, and the complete center (well
Carol too). You know to be in a sea of blacks, and I'm the only
white male (I've seen two others since I've been here! So, now I
am the minority, but instead of the dirt minority, I'm the lofty white
male! Everyone wants to shake my hand and hugs, but then they
sort of shrink away. It's kind of draining! Those of you
that know me well know that I'm not a flashy, business man, I'm down at
the lowest level, and here I'm this amazing white male, sure is
So Carol insisted I do part of the famine feed, and I'm putting flour
in their bags. Two scoops, each bag. They tell me they boil
water, then make a paste out of it, the consistency depending on how
many people they need to feed.
Ok, now the famine feed is going on more, on its own, the chiefs, etc.
are now taking over, and we head for the watering hole a few K's
away. On the way, Carol was feeling manipulated by one of the
chiefs, who is a really great person, but always has to be in the
limelight, and wants to get his church involved (He's a pastor).
Carol is very tired of his "politics" and is disgusted that even here,
while people are starving, politics is involved!).
The water hole is a man made lake that was carved out of the landscape
with caterpillars etc. There are many animals that drink this
water (it's only fed by rainwater during the rainy season). We
are at the end of the rainy season, so it's full. There are many
animals. Goats, donkeys, camels, cows, and many others. The
people drink this water too, and that is one reason there are many
health problems. There is a community of folk that live around
the water hole. Unfortunately, during the dry season, it drys up
completely, then the animals can die, which make the people die.
So now they take off looking for other water, and don't use the only
"bore hole" (well) that is for miles around (the only clean water).
We arrive at the water hole, and now I'm seeing a lot more people here,
but Carol is concerned, 'cuz she's thinking there's way too few
people. Carol started talking to them about IHF. There were
several communities there, and she had the women break down into their
local groups, and each group selected a representative. Then
Carol addressed each group (I think there were about 5). They
presented their selected group rep, and then Carol told that group rep
they they were now her sister, that they had equal vote on the board,
equal say as she has, 1 vote each. These people here are really
grateful for IHF, the only organization helping them, including their
Well, I forgot to mention that there was much singing and dancing when
we arrived. Now I'm starting to get gifts. There were many
guys there, some old, some young, but each guy holds a staff and then
this little thing that looks like an anvil, however, it's made out of
wood. I was curious and asked. They use it to sit on!
They also use it for a pillow! During the dancing, some women put
a beaded leather belt around me (two of them), then a bracelet.
The beaded belts signify bravery, and the bracelet if I remember
correctly, signifies a friendship or something. Then they
gave me one of the wooden anvils, now I'm a true brave warrior I guess.
Also, soon after we got there, we decided to look at the "bore
hole". They said there's plenty of water there, and the well is
110 meters deep (hard to believe). There is a pump at the bore
hole, with two large flywheels (one on each side), with a handle
sticking out like a crank. There were two young girls cranking
this, and capturing precious water in a plastic jug. So I must
try it. The reason it's a fly wheel, is the inertia is used
to suddenly pump another squirt of water up from the depths. The
pump must be at the bottom, so there must be a mechanical linkage from
the top down to the bottom. Well, I tried to pump, and it's
amazing how much energy it takes. If I arrive from the city, and
I must get some water, it would just break me into a sweat, and I'd be
out of breath, but I'd get my water. If I've been walking several
K's, and I'm sick and weak from starvation, it's just not fair to have
to put the amount of energy into this pump. So now I'm thinking
what kind of energy we can use. Wind? No wind in the dry
season. Gas or diesel is very expensive and must be brought
in. Solar cells? Well, it would work, but it would take a
lot of them. I'm thinking this may be the best way, but something
has to be done. I can't stop thinking about this and I want to be
During the hours we were there, Carol pointed out the signs of
malnutrition and starvation in some of the children. Bloated
stomachs, hair falling out in clumps, red areas in the hair too.
This is the rainy season, and so this is the time where the folks have
the most food, so it's really sad to see.
So the famine feed was finally started, there were now more people, as people were arriving during the time we were there.
They had called from the orphanage, that they wanted us to come
back. We had thought we were done with that, but they were
insistent, so we promised we'd return to the watering hole, and headed
back to the orphanage. After arriving, it's now understood why we
were brought back. There were many more people there, and they
made us get out of the car and they "danced" us up the long driveway,
and into the orphanage area. Now everyone is singing and dancing,
and I get another anvil, a beaded bracelet for Roberta, a necklace, and
much singing and dancing. It is really cool there this time of
year they tell me, but I don't agree! Cool is relative! I'm
sweating like a pig, and no chance for water, because it would be
extremely impolite to drink water in front of the people. Now
since we were there in the morning, they had set two chairs out and
they had actually made a canopy of leaves for us. But as soon as
we (Carol and I) sat down, we had to get up again, because something
Carol had never seen was happening. The males had gathered and
were doing a dance. They came at me with there staffs in hand
like spears, all the while chanting. I felt in no way
intimidated, it was part of a dance. One of the teachers
We need water, help us get water!
We need medicine, help us get medicine,
We need food, help us get food.
This was a cry for help to the white male god, and Carol has never seen the men sing and dance before.
Now we sit in the chairs again, and someone brings us bottled water,
and we refuse for politeness, just wanting it soo bad! Now
several of the locals talk directly to us, via translator, and they are
pretty much the same. "Thank you so much for the food, and thanks
you so much for the orphanage, but please help us get water, and a
medical clinic, and could you increase the food?" . Now there is
one of the oldest of the orphans, that has written a poem, it's about
the child slavery that takes place for especially orphans, that get
water for other people, so they can get a meager bite of food.
Apparently she has some experience with this, and it was a wonderful
song/poem, so beautiful and sad, (she sang in English). Later she
copied it down for us, and I'll send it to you next time.. (Note,
it's at the end of this log)
Ok, now there are two bags of flour left, and we start the final famine
feed for the day. It was absolutely incredible, they were
fighting to get in line, and the guys had their bags, and carol
insisted that women and children first. She ended up sitting on
the flour bag until they settled down and got the women in line.
Now it's two scoops per person, I'm taking my turn, now it's one scoop
per person, the second bag is getting empty, now it runs out, and
people are still in line, Carol asks around for anybody with shillings
(we're both out of shillings) to give to the last people so they can
buy food, there are only a few shillings collected. It's over,
and folks start to leave again. I'm drained. We go in the
male orphanage section, and some of the orphans make food for us, and
we get water. The water is now gone. We (Carol and I) can't
drink the local water, we're not immune as most are. We're out of
bottled water, and we're out of shillings. The closest town is
three hours away. We promised we were going to get the telescope
out at the watering hole, so we had to head back there to tell them we
had to go to town to get water. It was cloudy anyway. There
were a lot of folks that had stayed because of the telescope, which was
explained to them, but they still have no idea about. Now plans
had changed, and we had to drive back to tell them, then backtrack and
a three hour drive to the city (where I'm writing this from). The
first ATM didn't work, we're panicking. There's one more in
town. It works! Ok, now water, finally, Here I am, 3
hours without water, and I'm in a panic. It's a way of life for
Ok, now shower time, it's time to get started on the next day!
9-30-06, This section is about Saturday, the 30th, it's Sunday
morning. One thing I've learned, nothing goes according to
plan! Plan: Eat, do some shopping, Gas, and then head straight to
Riongo to do a famine feed. Well, we did the breakfast, and the
shopping part, but that's where it ended. On our way, just to the
Pokot area, and rock through the tire. The jack didn't work
properly, so, we flagged down an English tourist who was nice enough to
loan us a jack. Finally changed it, and then thought it better to
head back into town and get it fixed which we did. Now we have a
spare again, and then Kachaya gets a call that some orphans are sick,
so we need to go there first. We stopped by the orphanage (not
really close to it so the children wouldn't see us), and found out that
they would be OK for a while, so we start heading for Riongo.
Riongo is in the northeast area, closest to the Turkona tribe. It
is the farthest we drive for the famine feeds When about
3/4 of the way there, another flat. We had to be creative with
the jack. Then we finally make it to Riongo. We were
expecting Yusof to be there with the van. No van, Carols upset,
ok, now it's kind of a repeat of what we did at the watering hole, with
one main difference, Carol pointed out signs of advanced malnutrition
in many children. These people have been waiting for hours for
us, literally hours, because of the two flat tires. Ok, more singing,
tons of it, then another necklace and a beautiful headband around my
forehead (too tight). Then Carol gave her speech, and then Carol
wanted to take the sickest to the clinic, but our vehicle was too full.
I offered to stay with my luggage, but then Kachaya said it may be
dangerous, so we promised to return, and to make sure the sickest were
still there. Then we took off to find Yusuf. About a 2 hour
drive, we find a Pokot village where there were many buildings, a store
or two, two churches, etc. We find Yusuf there with the van,
building a community center. Carol hardly said any words, but I
could tell was furious. Remember Yusuf is the pastor of the
church, and is always bringing politics and religion to the IHF
community. Many of the volunteers go to his church, and he has a
lot of clout with all the people, but he brings politics to IHF, and is
totally against the rules. He has a great heart, even takes
orphans into his own house, but carol is completely frustrated in
him! Anyway I think this is the last straw. Well we decide
to drive both vehicles to the orphanage, then we decide to take the van
to the Riongo, and others take the jeep to the clinic with the sick
orphans, Ok, we get there about 8 something, already dark, and
there they are waiting for us, have been waiting all day! We pack
up these children (and some mothers), and head to the clinic. One
baby is having a hard time breathing, another is vomiting out the
window. The Pokot women smell like goats, it's not bad, I can't
explain it, but it was a bit nauseating to me, and one time I lost
it. I find if I breathe through my mouth, I can control my
nausea. Two hours of bumps and we arrive. We are absolutely
beat. We drop them off, then we head back into the village to
find a "hotel" It's full 'cuz of some political event. No
food all day. I gave carol a power bar, only food for either of
us since breakfast. We decide to drive to lake Baringo and they
were full too. It's after midnight. Carol is nervous, this
is Njagga's safari stomping grounds. One time, several people
were paid to surround Carol to instill fear. They finally find some
rooms, a double room for Kachaya and two singles for Carol and
myself. There are cockroaches running around on the floor.
I don't feel like eating, I go straight to bed, I don't wake up 'till
This doesn't even feel real to me, it is reality, but by the end of the
day I had a screeching headache, from the stress and the
realities. I find these people are desperate, and they are
literally dieing. My mind is reeling, I can't even think and I
feel numb. Today, Carol told me about a letter that the young
girl who wrote the poem gave here while we were briefly at the
orphanage. She quietly slipped the letter in her hand. Her
brother has died, and her parents died. She still has a younger
sister . The letter was a plea for help for her sister who is
bleeding, probably in her poop. Carol says this is Dunges fever,
and she will go insane or die if untreated. So part of the plan
today is to try to find her and bring her to the clinic. So our
plan is to go to town, get the flat fixed, go to the orphanage and pick
up the van, then head back to the clinic, pick up the Pokot folks,
bring them back to Rionga. Then back to the orphanage, bring back
more children including the singers younger sister to the clinic, now I
have no idea what we'll do after this, but one thing is for sure, this
plan will be changed!
10-1-06 This section is about Sunday the 1st, it's the morning of the 2nd.
Carol is a bit (and understandably) freaked. This little town is
where she and Danny took a taxi, and the driver left them in the middle
of nowhere (Njagga's paid the driver to do this). Then one other
time, several men surrounded and threatened her here. Well, she
had reason to be freaked, the lady serving her in the morning said
"you're from the watering hole, aren't you?". Then another lady
came to her later and said "you should not be here!". Also, she
recognized one of the men that surrounded her, at another table, then
he came and sat down at are table. We think somebody called
Njagga, and told him to come and spy, so this is a reality, I believe
this is actually serious, and she may be in danger, particularly when
the court case comes around. If we were to loose Carol, things
would never be the same. I've seen her in action now, and I
believe she belongs to the great people of history, Mother Teresa, and
many others. Carol knows what she is doing, and knows what works
and what doesn't and communicates this to people firmly, and with great
understanding. Carol has tried to make this so it will work
without her, but I know of no one else that can pass this along with a
strong hand as she does. Also, the love she has for her children
is equal to that of any I've read about. She's also very humble,
I was going to tell her what I was thinking, and she saw the
conversation headed that way, and completely blocked it. I
believe she's just doing what she is compelled to do because of her
Ok, well, We ran out of money, and there was no ATM in town, we're out
of gas. They will simply not take American money. We have
enough for some soda's and to fix the flat. Frederick pointlessly
but wonderfully washes the car while we're waiting. Some folks
help him. I take pictures of children, then show the picture to
them on the screen, they absolutely laugh and laugh every time!
We decide to go back to the safari (we stayed close to it last night,
at a dive), but there is a real safari place nearby. Maybe they
can change some of my American money. We walk in, what a
contrast! All enclosed in gates with guards. Beautiful
lawns, a truly beautiful place, and such a contrast to anything I've
seen here so far, I'll bet there are chocolate mints on the
pillows! Yes, they can rip us off with a bad exchange rate, and
change some money. I did $100, thinking this would be
enough. We go back to town, fill up the car, buy some water, and
then head back to the orphanage. By now it's noon. We find
that Frederick has already taken the Pokot sick back to Riongo, I'm
really glad. We play with the orphans, and have fun. Then
I'm discussing the water situation with the Riongo chief. He
tells me each family uses about 30 liters of water per day, and there
are about 500 families. This is distressing to me. I think
I need a second opinion. That's 15,000 liters per day. If I
use solar, that would be 1500 per hour for 10 hours, or 25 liters per
minute. I'm pretty sure the pump capacity will not do this, but
the big problem is that is only one community, what about the other by
the watering hole? Double it? Not gonna happen.
After this, I joined a meeting with several people from the orphanage,
and IHF. Here there is a serious problem, Yusuf has been
"running" IHF, even though he had resigned the last time Carol was
here. Yusuf is a good man, and would never steal, but he's a
"politician", and uses his power with the church, to position people in
IHF from his church, completely against IHF rules. So now there
is a bunch of people (really great people) that are on the board, but
have basically been appointed by Yusuf. So Carol has had enough,
and uses the fact that Yusuf resigned last time, and then just
appointed himself secretary again, and started running IHF, to say that
really he is not on the board because nobody voted him back on.
She was fearing mutiny because many (maybe all) of the people are
going to his church. So now that Carol is insisting that Yusuf
not run IHF, she is afraid other people will get mad and quit.
Carol did a great job in discussing this, and I believe that she has
the support she needs, and man if Yusuf starts running IHF again, this
will truly be incredible. I'm still not sure it will not happen
when Carol leaves again, but who knows. Christians rule here, and
gives political power under the name of Jesus (more about this
later). Now there is a danger that these people will
"missionaryize" (Is that a new word?) the children. I expect they
will, and this is truly one fear of the Pokot folks, who have really
been mistreated by "Christians". The Pokot folk have their own
traditional religious rituals, I'm not sure what they are, but I hate
to see people tell other people that their spirituality isn't real
because they aren't Christian (or whatever). Well, Carol couldn't
have been more clear, and I hope things are better. Also, what
I've heard Carol say is she hates politics that hurt the hungry
children. It couldn't be more true.
Next, I want to go back to the well, and collect some data about volume
of water. Frederick and Kachaya take me there. There are
about 30 people waiting around for their turn to use the pump.
There are two women "manning" the pump. I take a video of
them. The are filling a 20 liter jug. They can't fill it so
some boys take over. Now that is a laugh, the girls completely
outdid the boys, wow! Anyway, they were able to fill the 20 liter
bucket in 2.5 minutes, with some stopping in between. I'm
encouraged with this volume, maybe I will be able to get enough for at
least one community.
There is one person here, who is now a volunteer (I think they're going
to vote him on staff today). His name is Kachaya. He was a
Pokot orphan, and told me his story, how he worked so hard at school to
get good grades, now he wants to help his people. Kachaya is a
wonderful person, with great understanding and spirituality. He
is a Christian, but a true "Christlike" Christian. We've both
shared a lot of our stories, and he's a true friend now, with a lot of
respect between us.
Now we try one last time to set up the scope for the kids. I can
see the moon between the clouds, so I have hope. I put the scope
together, and align it. Now I'm looking through clouds at the
moon. Very disappointing, the clouds seem to be "distorting"
clouds. Well, now the clouds completely block the moon. The
children have been watching me and are very anxious to see.
Finally we can see the moon again. I race over, get the 1st child
in the line, and she's too short. By the time we come up with a
stool, the clouds are back, but this time, they're really back, it's
hopeless. We explain to the disappointed children, and I start
putting the scope away. Now it starts raining, so we move all the
parts inside, where I continue putting it away. Maybe better luck
in Asia! While I'm putting it away, I feel very faint, and I
think it's because I'm tired, and no food all day since
breakfast. I find another power bar and share it with Carol, and
I feel a bit better. We're almost out of water again, but we're
on our way back to Nakuru, and we stop at the first town. I gave
the rest of my money to Moses, because he had to take more children to
the clinic. Kevin is one of them. He's the one that can
name the 8 planets plus Pluto. He is sooo hot, must have
malaria. It seems like an epidemic here. Anyway, we didn't
have enough for a meal we bought soda and bread at the first
town. I drank two large soda's just like that. I realize I
must be dehydrated. We had given the water we purchased to the
children earlier in the day for another reason, too long to write here,
so we were skimping on water to make it through the day. Now I
can make it to Nakuru. I slept like a log.
10-2-06 This section is about Monday the 2nd, it's the morning of the 3nd.
Yesterday was extremely busy. We had a meeting that was supposed
to last 1 or 2 hours, which lasted about 12 altogether! I barely
had 1 hour to make it to the Internet cafe! Anyway, I'm not going
to bore you with details, it was about the Muhia case, and for the
first time, there is some kind of a defense put together. All I
can say is it's a good thing we didn't go through with this case last
week. Many new things came out of our discussion, and it's now
easy to see how Muhia planned this from the beginning!
There was also an IHF training meeting that I didn't attend (That's when I went to the I-Net cafe.
Wow a long day, but a short section!
10-3-06 This section is about Tuesday the 3rd, it's the morning of the 4th.
We had more meetings, today, then we went to the police station to do
statements, then took pictures at the center. Then tried to buy
an inverter for charging cell phones, that took an hour and then they
didn't have it. "In Stock" means at another store, and then they
don't have it anyway!
Then off to Nairobi, a 3 hour drive, got here at 9 or so, man, this
place is loud and tons of people, traffic was a constant jam, even at
9:30 pm! We found 3 cheap hotels, but they were all full, then
Tim thought of the YMCA, not far away. We went in and it was so
peaceful, cheaper than the dives in downtown, and it's beautiful here,
birds and mosquito's singing, large pool, outdoor or indoor dining, I
will stay here for the rest of the time!
For the 1st time, I see a fair amount of us minorities here at the
YMCA, I think about half of us are white. Of course the staff is
I've been talking to Tim about the salaries of folks here, it's pretty
low, a skilled worker like a carpenter makes about $5000usd a
year. Fortunately everything is a lot cheaper, except for gas,
which is a huge expense. If you are having a menial job, you may
make about $3000usd per year.
Some folks get high on drugs or alcohol, some folks get high on
adrenalin rush, some folks (like me) get high on learning new things,
and creating new things, Carol gets high on kids. Last night
we're wandering around downtown and we can't find a hotel, but kids are
constantly coming up to us saying "I'm hungry", wanting money.
One 7 or 8 year old girl came up to Carol, and she smiles at her and
tells her she doesn't have money but does she want to dance? and
the literally start dancing in the street! I also notice that
when she sees the children from the orphanage, her whole countenance
changes, and when we leave, she has to "unwind" from seeing the
10-3-06 This section is about Wednesday the 4th, it's the morning of the 5th.
Yesterday was another very crazy day. !st we met with two doctors
one of them the head director for a research center. We are
trying to brainstorm with them about getting a program started to get
statistics for the folks in East Pokot. Right now, there are no
statistic, born, die, diseases, nobody in the world knows. They
seem like they really want to help, and ask us to write a
proposal. Well, That would be up to Tim and I, mostly Tim, being
the doctor, but we have to have it done by Friday. Well, late
last night, one of them (the one that isn't the director) was so
excited about it, he decided to write it himself, and he called Tim to
tell us. Tim and I were really relieved, and happy, one less
thing to do today! Plus, he knows better what to write! We
are meeting one last time with him on Friday.... After this, we
had to cancel one of our meetings because of time. So then we met
with Juma (who drove down from Nakuru for this), and another
prestigious lawyer to make a corporation for the ownership of the 15
acre land. She also wants to start a worldwide group of
international lawyers that learn about the laws so it's easier to do
this. We want protection in case something happens to the local
NGO of IHF, normally, the land would go to the government, and that
would NOT be good, instead with this in place, the land will be owned
by the corporation, and it's sole purpose cannot be changed from the
goals of helping the tribal people.
Ok, now we're late for the airport, so we jump in the car and race to
the airport to drop Carol off. Well, guess what!, Her ticket has
been canceled, and the flight was delayed. We ended up finally
leaving her at 5:30. She finally had it all straightened out, so
she should be back on her way to the states.
Ok, now there's a SAPTOP (Students Of Pokot Think Tank on Poverty)
student that came from the university to talk to me, his name is James
Tikonin. He arrived at 10:00am, and had to wait until 6:00pm to
talk to us. We had dinner, then went to the I-Net cafe, We
talked a lot, his major is computer science, he's the only Pokot
student with this major. He will do well here. It's nice to
have this group of students, we are going to use them for
research. Today we're supposed to hook up with another student
who will help us with water. The SAPTOP is a group that Carol
started, and she's hoping to take the extremely few kids that are lucky
enough to find a college education to return some of their knowledge
and help to their community. This group is under the umbrella of
Well, after the I-Net, we took Bill home (We're borrowing Bills
car). By the time we got back it was 11:00, I had to fix the
mirror on my telescope, and then we went to bed. Tonight we hope
to have a look at the moon with the scope. We are also going to
do research on Solar Panels today.
10-3-06 This section is about Thursday the 5th, it's the morning of the 6th.
Now it's my last day here. We had a fun day yesterday.
Before I forget, about the night before last when we took Bill home
(it's about 20 km from town), we had a great time. I met his
wife, and then we could see stars (as apposed to in the city), so I was
showing everyone the constellations, etc. Especially Timothy was
extremely interested. Then on the way home, it was hard to shut
me up. You know I don't talk too much, but when I get going about
astronomy, it's hard to shut me up. I was explaining about
emission nebula and how it worked. Timothy, who's a doctor (the
only Pokot doctor so far), had studied electron shell theory, and
basically explained it back to me perfectly. He is extremely
interested in astronomy. I have to remember to give him some
books. I did give him my Sky and Telescope magazine (yeah
Roberta, I really did).
Ok, now about yesterday. We went solar cell hunting. We
found a store that Timothy knew about, and we purchased a 40 watt
panel, and 3 battery packs with built in inverters. These are
much more expensive than in the US, but it is necessary. Just
recently, some company installed some cell phone antennas, and their
cell phones started working at the 1st two communities. Also
Carol had purchased two way radio's, but the batteries run down, then
they have to spend a lot of gas to drive several km's over really bad
roads to communicate, or folks from the farther communities have to
walk all the way to the orphanage where the IHF van is kept.
These solar cells and battery/inverter kits will help them keep their
cell phones and radios charged, it will save money in the long
run. They could use another solar cell or two, but these are
hugely expensive. I spent $780 USD on what we purchase.
Also, while we were there, I gathered information about larger solar
panels I'm going to need when I put a motor on the pump at the watering
hole. I plan to do this in January (the hottest time of the
year). This will literally save lives! I'm going to be
spending $8000 on just the solar panels. If any of you are
interested in helping, please let me know, you're donation will be
fully tax deductable! This is going to be only a beginning
though, and we need a grant to put more wells in.
After we were done here, we took the car to the garage people, to have
it serviced before we returned it to Bill, and then I had some Internet
time. We then took a nap, and had dinner at a nice place in
town. It is now just Timothy, Frederick and I. Well, we
finally had a semi clear night, and the mirror glue had cured enough,
we were able to get some really nice views of the nearly full
moon. Frederick was the biggest "photon hog" He absolutely
loved it! Several of the staff here at the YMCA stopped to see as
well. The telescope worked really well, and we zoomed in to
fairly high power to examine some of the canyons etc.
Ok, today I leave for Jakarta at 9:45PM. We have a meeting with
the doctors who might help us in Pokot today at 10:00 am. We need
to get checked out and have our baggage stored. I hope to have
Internet time this afternoon.
10-8-06 This section is about Saturday the 7th, it's the morning of the 8th.
"Only when we learn to live from the heart and to feel the suffering of others as if it were our own do we become truly human."
These words are from the book 'Buddha', by Karen Armstrong that I'm in the midst of reading.
I'm in Bangkok, I couldn't get a flight to Medan last night after
arriving. I'm staying at a really nice hotel, in stark contrast
to my other nights, especially in Pokot. It seems like my
experiences with the Pokot people are already fading into a dream, but
I must somehow cling to my experiences, as they are a serious
reality. I'm in the midst of luxury, while there is much
suffering in the world.
Before I forget, on my first arrival, I was picked up by Dr. Timothy
Kipkopus, and Frederick, at Nairobi airport. On our drive to
Nakuru, I told them about my daughter Malaika, and how we arrived at
her name, as there was a song that Kathie knew, named "Malaika".
Timothy said he knew the song, and we started singing it together in
the car! It was really cool! Well, on one of our days in Nairobi,
Tim went to a music store, and found the original CD that had this song
on it, and gave it to me for a going away present! It really is
cool, and I can't wait to give it to Malaika! There is much
wonderful music on this CD.
10-9-06 This section is about Sunday and Monday the 8th, and the 9th it's the afternoon of the 9th.
I arrived to a small scam, an official looking gentleman looked like he
wanted to look through my bags or something, so I'm tensing up, he took
me through customs, so I was surprised we didn't stop, he was simply
trying to carry my bags for a tip! Oh, another thing, when I went
to purchase a visa, I found my American money was all missing, almost
$1,000! Then I remembered I left it in the hotel room in
Bangkok! (I called them, they're going to keep it for me)!
Ok, I hooked up with Faisal, Danny, and their sister (I already forgot
her name). They took me to the center. It's a beautiful
house, with lots of Indonesian art. I hadn't eaten all day, they
fed me, wonderful spicy things on rice, we chatted and then it was
bed. It is Moslem Ramadhan holiday all this month.
It's a beautiful idea. Nobody eats or drinks from early in the
morning until late in the evening. It is in memory of people that
don't have enough to eat. I made it through mostly on the eating
part of it, but it's hot and humid, and I'm sweating a lot, and the no
drinking just wasn't my cup of tea, however, I decided to remember my
new Pokot friends during my fast. Anyway, because of this, they
woke me up at 4:00 am so I could eat before the day started, then I
slept again until 8:00.
First arrivals were a dance class, and the morning class. The
morning class is quiet. The dancers danced for me, and then they
made Danny and I dance with them. It was really beautiful.
After this, I took a ride on the back of the IHF motor scooter, with
Danny driving! Woe! Absolutely incredible. We had so
many close calls, but they weren't close calls to Danny, just normal
navigation! We did have one head on collision with another motor
cycle (we were practically stopped)! After getting some
Indonesian cash from the ATM, we went to buy my airline ticked from
Aceh to Jakarta on Wednesday. Their computers were down though,
but we finally left to go visit some of the T.E.P. (The education
program) children. After this, Faisal joined us with his
motorcycle. His driving is just one notch "saner" than Danny's,
but his scooter wasn't big enough to hold my weight!
It was heart wrenching and sad. Fortunately, these folks have
enough to eat, but to get money, they take the copper wires from the
insides of old glass light bulbs, and remove all the glass from them,
and then make jars of the little copper wires that holds the
filaments. Then they sell the copper for a very small
amount. This is one of the way that they make meager money.
As I understand it, the schools are supposedly free, however, you have
to have uniforms, and you have to pay fees for this and that, so it
excludes the poorest of the poor. The TEP program provides them
with enough money to buy their uniforms and pay their school fees so
the children can attend regular school. To learn more about the
TEP program, visit the ihfonline.org website!
One of the TEP children we visited lived across a large river, with no
bridge, however, there were several boys swimming in the river.
There was a large inner tube that they use to cross the river.
Yes, I got on the 'tube, and was ferried across! Now we're in the
most beautiful part I've seen so far! There were so many fruit
trees of all different types. Coconut, Banana, Papaya, Pineapple, and
many others I've already forgotten. This is really a blessing to
these people. We sat in the shade at the TEP child's front porch,
and talked to them for a long while. This was where I first broke
my Ramadhan. The TEP child went to a store on foot, and came back
with a large bottle of water which I drank in front of them, but nobody
seemed to mind! I also had two miniature bananas (they come very
small here, but they're delicious!), and they gave me (they made me
pick it) a very large Papaya which we're going to have later after
Ramadhan is over.
On our way back home, we stopped at the travel place, and they finally
got my ticket, so I'm all set for the rest of my trip here. Then
we stopped one more time and purchased some
Now we stopped in at the afternoon English class, and compared to the
morning class, they are on fire! They had a lot of questions for
me, one girl wanted to know if I was married, so I drew a heart on the
blackboard, and wrote Dan and Roberta in it! I explained about
the seasons where I live, and they were really interested. Faisal
interpreted for me, it was really fun.
I've learned a lot about how IHF works, and I'm glad it is here doing the work!
Ok, tonight, it looks partly clear, so we're gonna try the
telescope. Then Danny and I are going to take an all night bus to
Aceh (Pronounced Och-Eh), and visit the orphanage there. Please look up
the children's area of the website, and select the Banda Aceh
section. Start reading the children's stories, and you'll see
that many of the orphans lost their parents in the Tsunami! It's
a heart wrenching story told all too often there. I'm looking
forward to my visit there.
It's the evening of 10-10-2006. I'm in Banda Aceh, at the orphanage.
Last night we set up the telescope amidst the clouds. We were
able to get a pretty good look at Jupiter, and there were tons of
children, and neighbors too. After Jupiter set the clouds were
just to thick to get my bearings, so no deep sky.
After this, We packed everything up, said goodbye to Faisal and Mynee
(spelling?) and Danny and I set off for the bus station. It was
supposed to leave at 9pm, it left about 10:30 I think. We drove
all night until 8 or 9 am, when we finally arrived. We stopped at
about 4:00 for breakfast (Remember Ramadhan?), and later about 5 or 6
for prayers, at a small Mosk.
Once we arrived, there was some more incredible dancing by the
children, all choreographed wonderfully, in full costumes! I hope
you can see the video's I took! We then chatted a while, they all
want to know how old I am, am I married, etc. Danny
translated. Then, Danny, the director, Irna, and the driver, took
off in the IHF car to see the sites. I cried when I went into the
grave yard. Thousands of people are buried here, there is grass
on a small hilly area with different sections for the children,
etc. It felt as if I was among them, I told them I was sorry for
what happened, and then told them goodbye.
There is a huge power barge, that was moored a few kilo's from the
coast. This barge was born inland with a wave, causing mass
destruction, but finally settled inland. It is a site to see, a
totally landlocked barge. The guard was up on board, and because
Danny called to him and said he had a special visitor from the USA, We
were aloud on board! I felt right at home, due to my
vocation. We saw the huge diesel and generator, all just sitting
now, because there is no way to provide cooling water!
One of my favorite sites was a large tree, near the ocean. Danny
told me that this tree saved about 50 people who clung to it.
There are stories of people holding there kids and also to the
branches, but the water was too powerful, and they had to let their
kids go. But I think it was a good thing, and I gave the tree a
blessing because of what it provided.
Now back to the center, and a much needed nap! After this, we all
piled into the car, and went to a kids play center, where there is a
lot of video games, etc. The kids are now starting to warm up to
me. After we get back, we are finally able to eat, then it is
prayer time. After prayer time, Jupiter is too low, and behind
clouds, however, now the Teapot in Sagittarius is plainly
visible. It's darker here than in Medan. We are able to
look at M22, M8, M17, M11, and Alberio (those of you that aren't
astronomers, can look these up on the I-Net if you wish, but the
children, really enjoyed the views, It was sure they hadn't seen them
before. Ok, now the biggest photon hog was the director!
After this we had a play time, and the kids are really warming up
now. We did "Thumb wars", a new game for them, and other games.
Tomorrow I hop on a plane for Jakarta, my last center to visit.
Now I'm in Jakarta, at the orphanage and education center of the place
I feel I had a hand in saving. I'm happy to be here, everyone
treats me with so much respect I feel I don't deserve. No one
will serve there own food until I get my own. etc. It's a
Bagus is the director DJoko's son, and his title is Coordinating
Director. He and a volunteer named Aryo picked me up at the
I love Djoko, the director here. He's incredibly busy, but has a great heart for human rights and the children.
Today I just returned with DJokos son Bagus and another from the slum
areas. I had already seen pictures, but to be there with the
smells was quite another thing. It seems they really could use a lot of
help, and we're only able to help in the smallest!
I am soooo lame, I left my flash disk in Medan in Faisals computer,
along with the book about Budda Carol gave me. My plane went from
Aceh, stopped at Medan, then continued on to Jakarta, so Faisal made
arrangements to have security deliver it to the plane! This was
really a blessing, because all the pictures and movies from Kenya were
on this flash disk, along with this log!
But that's not all I'm afraid. I had to do a layover in Thailand
if you remember, and my wallet was too fat with receipts and American
money which I didn't need, so I took them out of my wallet and set them
on the table before I went for a walk. Then when I left in the
morning, I simply forgot them. I think there was at least 8 or
$900 I left! So when I went to purchase a visa in Medan, I
realized I didn't have any money! Well, when I arrived at the
center, Faisal helped me dial the hotel, and they have my money!
I think they found part of my brain there too! Now I am forced to
stay at the same hotel, even though it is 45 minutes from the airport
(remember it's a new airport now)! Roberta will not be a bit
surprised at my forgetfulness.
So now I'm in Jakarta, and having a good time, I already have a
wonderful friend who is about 7 or 8. His name is Dio. He
helped me put the telescope together, and always runs to get me water
or whatever, so now his label is "Assistant to Mr. Dan Gray"!
He's not here right now, something about school or something....
We were able to look at the Moon and the Orion Nebula this morning,
right after Ramadhan breakfast. Most children were still asleep
as they are not doing Ramadhan, but others were including Ade
(pronounced Oday). It is not very clear here, there's a lot of
smog, and it's hard to find things, because the reference stars are
obscured by smog, so we're lucky to view the moon and the orion nebula.
Since it is Ramadhan, attendance to the classes is low. There was
a computer class in the afternoon, and there were 4 girls in
attendance. They were all about 14-16 years old. The
teacher, Aryo stopped teaching them computers when I came in, and
instead we had a long conversation. Aryo is a translator by
trade, and knows English very well. He was encouraging the
students to ask me questions. They are Sooo shy, I tried to
convince them I was simply just another person like them, nobody
special, it did seem to help some, and we ended up making new
friends. I showed them my telescope, and they decided to come the
next morning to view the moon! Yeah, I'll believe it when I see
Later in the afternoon, I wanted to play their guitar. It was in
very sad shape, really, it was un-playable. I talked Bagus into
taking me to a music store, and we purchased a new guitar, a really
nice Yamaha acoustic. It played really nicely, and it was only
about $100 USD. Well, I say "only", but you have to realize that if you
have a good job there, then that is about 1 months wages! Ok, I
was happy, it was much cheaper than I could have purchased it in the
states, but then when I think about what kind of guitar 1 months of
U.S. wages could buy, the difference is mind boggling. In a way I
feel guilty about buying the guitar, as the $100 could have been use
for other things, but oh well, the oldest orphan there plays the guitar
really well, and he had been trying to play the old guitar. He's
really happy about the new guitar, and I made him promise to "pass it
on" by teaching the other children to play!
After this, we broke our fast with dinner, then after dinner we sat
around and sang songs. Old Beatle songs turned out to be a real
hit. Then DJoko wanted to talk about what could be done in
the slum areas. He really has a heart for these people, and wants
to help. I believe finances will be the limiting factor with what
he wants to do....
We then went to bed, and woke up as usual for Ramadhan breakfast.
We took the scope out for the last time, and the clouds were so bad,
all we could see was the moon. The good thing was, all the
orphans had gotten up this time, and so everyone got a chance to see
the moon! Well, guess what, one of the computer class students
did show up, and she brought two friends! The two friends were so
shy, they wouldn't look through the telescope! I had to
practically beg them! Anyway, they finally did, and it's really
amazing to see their faces, and they have never had a chance to see
these sights, and probably, never will again! After this, I went
back to bed!
In the morning, I said my goodbye's and Bagus and Aryo took me to the airport, and I started the long boring trip home.
As I finish writing this, I'm already at home, and everything already
seems so far away and unreal to me, but I know this is all someones
Was this a fun trip? Well, many times it was really fun, mostly
when we were with the kids. Being with my new friends was
fun. Overall it was not a "fun" trip. To look the people in
the eye that really need help is not really fun. What it means to
me to see this first hand is I know I can't just walk away from this
need, I need to take advantage of what the Universe has given me, and
use this to help these people.
How I found out about IHF:
In early 2005, Roberta and I went on a vacation in La Jolla California,
by San Diego. We were walking down the street doing some window
shopping, and we happened to walk into the IHF World Store. I
believe (but I'm not sure) that Tish was at the store at this
time. When she told me what the store was, and what the profits
from the sales went to, it really touched my heart, and I started
crying like a little baby, I couldn't stop. During the rest
of this year, I was thinking about IHF a lot. I found that their
website was just sitting there, no changes at all. Then, in
September, we had some extra cash, and I was wondering some more about
IHF. I called a number that I found on the website, and it
happened to be the mother of one of the volunteers. I talked to
her quite some time, and after this, I determined that this was a good
cause, and I decided to send my money to them.
I then happened to be working in San Diego on a job, so I called, and
talked to Carol. After I told her who I was, she called me her
angel! Apparently the Universe had touched my heart at the time
that IHF really needed the money. I was able to spend about an
hour with Carol, at the world store.
Carol told me she was going to have to fly home early to deal with the
money situation, when out of the blue, they received this money.
She was then able to finish what she was doing. Now I certainly
don't claim to understand how the Universe works, but sometimes I do
see evidence of 'Universe nudges'. Being sort of a scientist,
this goes against everything I believe, so I'm just throwing up my
hands about this! It's sort of like the Universe wants things to
happen, and sometimes, due to people somehow "listening", hearts are
moved, and action takes place. It's not my intention to discuss
how I think this works here, maybe someday I will, but for now, it was
just wonderful to feel that I was somehow used by the Universe, as a
tool to help people in the world that I didn't even know.
I want to write why I support IHF with my time and also financially, as
opposed to other charitable organizations. There are 3 main
reasons that sets IHF apart. The first two, I found out on my
first visit to the store, and the 3rd reason I found out over time.
1. IHF has no religious or political agenda. I come from a very
right wing fundamentalist Christian background. I was taught that
my dads beliefs were the only way to get to heaven. I bought into
this for many years. I had been set free from this during the
last 10 years of my life. Now I believe IN all religions, but I
don't believe any of them! Does that make sense? If not, think
about it some more! Well it doesn't seem right to me to tell
someone else that their belief system is all wrong, and you've got to
believe like this or you're going to hell. So the IHF way
is to NOT change anyones political or spiritual system, just to help
people learn to help themselves. There are other organizations
with this policy too, so this is not completely unique.
2. IHF overhead is extremely low. When you send money in to
sponsor a child, all of the money goes for food, clothes, shelter, love
and caring for that child. There is no middle organization
sucking up resources. Everyone in the U.S. is a volunteer, there
are no salaries. The only salaries are the small salaries of the
orphanage or education center directors, cooks, etc.
3. This concept took a while longer for me to understand, and I don't
believe I understood it fully until I saw Carol working with the
council members while in Kenya. Each center has a council.
Included on this council is women and even children. Each person
on the council has a vote, and the child's vote has the same weight as
a "chief". Thus IHF is owned not by an organization in the
states, who is issuing orders, but is owned by the center and its
council. The people who are on this council are people from the
area, who understand the people they're helping, because they ARE the
I've been asked by many people "Why IHF? Why not the Red
Cross?". Well, I'm very thankful for all charities, and I believe
the world is a better place because of them. But find an
organization that works like IHF, and I'll be extremely surprised
(happily so)! So I'm not here to tell you not to support your
charity, there are many good ones, but for these 3 reasons, and also
many others such as the "pass it on" philosophy, my heart is with IHF
and the people they (well really "we") are helping.
I will end with a poem that was written and sung to us by an orphan from the Pokot orphanage:
Name: Chemariach Lomertelo
School: Chesirimion Pry Orphanage
Class: STO (8)
Title: Lost Childhood
My heart bleeds
For all the children
Who toil day and night
They will never experience
The joy of being children.
Many of those are my brothers
Who work in horrible conditions
In the quarries, in the salt mines
Breaking, smashing and carrying
And all for a pittance.
Others wake up before the sun rises
Into the coffee, tea, sisal plantations
They troop to become harvesters
In fair weather and bad weather
While their earnings go into their
And there are those of my sisters who
Are forced to abandon school to help
Bring up other people’s children. They cook, and scrub, and clean
So their charges can acquire the education their
Minders cannot even dream of.
Worst off are my sisters
Who are forced to auction their young bodies
To the merchants of flesh, defilers of angels
Who will never appreciate their humanity
These girls will never enjoy their own
Ho! Mumy and Dady, strengthen your hands
And deliver your children from this prison
Of captivity. Bless us to go to school,
Be educated and get to know our rights
For knowledge is power and power is from