Friday, 8 June 2012

Finished, But Not Forgotten

We are finished our practicum, and have left Ulamba. We all left a piece of our hearts in that community, those kids changed our lives. We are now relaxing on Zanzibar, and reflecting on the experience of a lifetime.
We don't have much time for a full update right now, but hopefully over the next few weeks we will each take some time to write about our experiences.
We will continue to fund raise for the students and the school, and we all plan to go back in the next few years.
Thank you again for your support, we will write a list of how far our money went once we are back in Canada, until then, ahsante sana.

Friday, 11 May 2012

We're Here!

Well, we all made it, and we are all loving it. The flights were long, and uneventful, we arrived in Nairobi at night and were met by Jayne's wonderful friend Moses, as well as four of his friends. We spent the night just outside of the city, and were up early the next day to head back to the airport for our 30 minute flight to Kisumu. The baggage was a hassle, but overall only cost us around $120.00 which is fantastic.
We were picked up in Kisumu by Anna's friends Ken and Charles, and they brought us to Margaret's.
We have spent the last week getting to know our classes,
Jayne, Standard 7,
Chelsea, Standard 6,
Melanie, Standard 5,
Sarah, Standard 4,
and Anna has been spending time with Standard 8. Many of whom are her former students.
We are all teaching Science, P.E., and English, but Jayne's also taught a few Math classes as well!
We have all felt so welcome and at home, none of us want to come back!
We have been lucky that it has not been as hot as when Anna was here last, but it is still hot to us.
The students are incredible. They work hard on empty stomaches and exhausted bodies. School starts at 6"00am sharp. They come to school with firewood, machetes, and water, and are prepared to clean classrooms, cut the grass with their knives and burn wood to make meals for the teachers. Their discipline is an incredible thing. It has been nice to have our classes and to have them begin opening up to us. Chelsea and I ( Jayne) have even had a mini dance party with our I-pods to demonstrate electricity. The simple things right?!
All in all this experience has been an eye opener and a pleasure. More than we could hope for. As teachers, and as people, we are growing more and more each day.

We are in Kisumu today buying a sewing a machine for one of the girls, as well as stocking the school's medical kits.  We have also met the two lovely children, John and Lydiah, who we sent to boarding school. They send their thanks and their love.

Again, we thank you for all of your support and kindness. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Away We Go

We are at the airport waiting to board the plane. The fantastic people at KLM waived our overweight fees. That's $775 extra for the kids in Ulamba. We will try to update the blog as much and soon as possible. Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us. You are the reason we are here today and we couldn't be more excited, (and maybe a little bit nervous! Comment on here, or send us an email to keep in touch.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

12 Days

The final countdown is on. We leave in twelve days. I think all of our nerves are beginning to show themselves. We will finally be doing what we've talked about for the last eight months.
On Wednesday we got together at Anna's house for dinner and Rose, who went to Ulamba with Anna, came as well. It was a welcome change to get together and not talk about fundraising as it seems that's all we've thought about, other than school.
All of our books and school supplies that we have accumulated are in Sarah's room waiting to be packed. We will have over 1000 pounds of luggage between the five of us. We have all had our final immunizations, are picking up our prescriptions just in case we get sick while we're there, and are buying our last few items that we need.
We are all still waiting for our passports to come back with our Visas, hopefully we will see them early next week so that we will feel like everything is ready to go.

Anna, Melanie, Rose, Jayne, Sarah, Chelsea

We will do another update before we head out, and we hope to be able to update everyone on here once a week while we are gone. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

It Was a Success

The Silent Auction was amazing!
We've only received one picture so far, hopefully we get some more.

This is of some of our support team from school, what a bunch of awesome education students.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support us, and the fantastic companies that donated our auction items.
We sold everything, and the kegs were gone by 11:15. Everything went better than we anticipated.
Kyle, Glenn, Stagger Wild (sorry I don't know how to put the dots above the a!) and Chris, thank you is not enough. You all made the evening into a party.
Thank you Chris for being our emcee, you saved everyone from listening to us all night.
Janna, Brianna, best bar-tenders ever, and we can't forget Shahin.
Sarah's parents looked after the door all night, and dealt with the silent auction items at the end of the night.
We really can't thank everyone enough.
We will post links for all of our sponsors soon.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

So Many Gift Certificates

We got together last night at Anna's house to organize the items we have so far for our silent auction.
I just picked up another donation from the lovely Nest & Cradle.
We have almost 30 items, and a few more on their way from up island on Thursday.
The kegs are being picked up Friday morning, and our wonderful friends are baking delicious treats so that people can keep up their energy while bidding on all the awesome stuff.
We have a small list of businesses that have donated on our Silent Auction Facebook Page.
We are hoping for a good turn out on Friday...we will be dressed up and ready to party.
This will be our last big fundraising event, (unless of course we find the time in April for another club night).
Off to finish getting everything ready...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Some Pictures

We are only a few weeks away from our Silent Auction on March 23. We are finalizing the details and hoping to get a few more donations for auction items. We are all extremely busy with school, and vaccines, and fundraising, but the thought of Kenya is keeping us all going. We had a meeting yesterday to organize who will do what for the silent auction, and made up our Facebook page.
To immortalize the night, here are a few pictures from our Safari Party last weekend...

Safari Jayne has pointed out an exotic animal to Tacky Tourist Chelsea's delight!

Anna and Sharde attacking Safari Jayne.

There are more, and far better pictures, on Boutique's Facebook page so check them out.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


Wow, I think that sums up the night. We had an amazing time at Boutique with our friends who came out to support us. We were able to sell all of our tickets, and want to thank the people at Boutique for helping us with our fundraiser. Our fundraising wouldn't be as successful without the support of the local businesses. There are an abundance of fundraisers happening in our community that are all great causes, and we want to thank you for supporting us in our efforts to help the community of Ulamba.
We are now focused on our final fundraiser which will be a Silent Auction at the Norway House on March 23rd. There will be more information to come, and we will be putting posters up around town, so be on the lookout!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Safari Party

We're gearing up for our Safari Party on Saturday at Boutique. We still have tickets for sale. $8.00, and we will be selling them in the Curriculum Library in the MacLaurin building tomorrow from 11:30-1:00.
We are getting our costumes/outfits together, so come dressed up for the Safari.
If you aren't able to get your tickets on Friday, we will still be selling them Saturday as well. Just send a text to 778-678-7961 to let us know you need a ticket and we can meet you before the party.
Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

We Did It...

We sent the money to Margaret in Ulamba so that the two students described below can go to school. Thank you to those of you who have donated, these two wouldn't have been able to have this amazing opportunity if it hadn't been for your support. We hope to meet these two when we arrive in Ulamba, but are not sure as they will be going to boarding school. On that note, we have now booked our tickets!!!
We officially leave on May 3rd. So the count down is on. 86 days, that doesn't sound like enough. We are concentrating on our Bake Sale coming up this Friday, then on to our Safari Party at Boutique on February 25th, then our silent auction. I hope everyone is looking forward to that because it is coming together and going to be fun. We will post some times that we will be selling tickets. They are $8.00, get you in to an awesome party at Boutique, and all the proceeds are going to the kids. So we hope to see you all there.

Friday, 3 February 2012

These two Need Some Help... Can you be the one to reach out?

I have recieved this heartbreaking news from Margaret in Ulamba Kenya. Please take time to read about these children's difficulties. Any little bit will help them...

1.      John Odongo Aduda – a youthful 18 year old whobecause of hardship is just making it to 9th grade.  This is a normal age for most of our childrento join high school.  John came 2ndtop of his class with 371 marks out of 500. He has been invited to join a Boarding high school.  The fees is Kenya shillings 50,000 + 8,000 for personal requirements. He is secondlast in a family of 8.  None of hissiblings had gone to high school because of lack of money.  He was not going to join high school, butsomebody sent him and his mother to us, FORWAC. I feel that we should help him realize his dream of becoming adoctor.  John’s father died when he wasfour years old.  He lives with his motherwho is HIV+ and his other siblings.
2.      Lydia Awuor Walome – a girl of 14 years who is a total orphan.  Both her parents died successively when shewas two years old.  She has been livingwith one or the other of her poor relatives. She was top of her class with 312marks out of 500. She has been invited to join a Girls’ Boarding school she want to be a lawyer.  The fees here for the year is 35,000+8,000for personal requirements  Total for theyear for both students in boarding schools will be Ksh 100,000.
If we start to sponsor these students in the 9thgrade, we need to be sure that they will be able to continue until 12thgrade.  Otherwise they drop out.
Fees is a bit high this year because they has been feesincrease in nearly all the schools in Kenya. At the beginning of high school –9th grade, fees is normally very high because it included manyrequirements for boarding e.g. bedding articles that includes mattresses,blankets, sheets and also some books and uniform.  You will see some of these invitation letterswhen you come in May.
Alternative to boarding school is a day mixed high school –the total one year’s fees for the two will be Ks 46,000.  We shall accept whatever amount you will giveto us.  If we have our way I would have preferred a boarding school for each of them.

PLEASE consider donating to these deserving children.
All of your money will go directly to them.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Clothing Drive

Our first fundraiser in the new year was a clothing drive. Before the holidays we asked everyone to keep any clothes that they cleaned out of their closets and bring them to school. We received more donations than we had anticipated, and spent hours sorting and setting up the clothes. 

We sold about a quarter of the clothes during the day at school, 

and donated the rest to the Salvation Army. All of the clothes were by donation and raised around $150.00 which was a successful day. We have a few club nights coming up in the next few weeks, and we are really focusing on our silent auction. We are trying to find a venue, and have found local businesses to be extremely generous. Some of the places that have donated to the silent auction are 
We will be selling tickets to our club night soon, so check back for updates on times and places to buy tickets. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

Back At It

So, we are all back at school, feeling busier than ever. The four of us got together this week to make sure we are all on the same page, and organize our next few fundraisers. I, (Chelsea) went to a meeting with the Soroptimists of Greater Victoria at the beginning of the month. The ladies were very receptive and encouraging when they heard about our plans. They had a few ideas that I am excited to explore, such as a composting toilet for the school. The Soroptimists are a women's group who organize opportunities to help women and children. They are focused on improving not only the lives of women and children in their own community, but internationally as well.
The four of us are hoping to improve the lives of some of the women and children (and of course the men and boys as well) that we will meet in Ulamba. Some of the ways we hope to do this is through providing pre-natal vitamins, shoes, clothes, and sewing machines so that some young women may be able to go to seamstress school.
We are planning on doing a clothing drive at UVic on Friday the 20th. So far we have about eight big bags of clothes that friends have donated, and we are still going to receive more. Everything will be by donation, and so far we have some great items. We are also working on another club night, and as always, working on our silent auction.
The clock is ticking now, and we will be buying our plane tickets soon. We are getting more excited, but also a bit nervous. We have so much to do! But it will all come together I'm sure.

photo from