Hearing Their Voices

January 19, 2008

I talked to the girls. For the past three weeks I have been talking to someone there almost daily. I am so worried about the happenings in Kenya right now.

So I needed to talk to them. I needed to talk to Winnie. I did. I thank God that I get to talk to her or Joyce weekly.  I am trying to start the process to bring them here on a student visa. Until then, I will be sponsoring them to go to a better school.

They all sang to me. It’s like hearing angels. I miss them. I wish I could get on a plane right now to see them. Virgin airlines have canceled flights to Kenya as of today. I know that means that things will get worse. I have no idea what to do.

I guess I will just do my best to move forward with getting Winnie and Joyce here. I will pray. I will work. That is all I can do.

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My Heart Hurts

January 7, 2008

My heart hurts for the country. My heart hurts for its people. My heart hurts for its future. I am talking about Kenya. The country erupted last week when the results of their elections were announced. You can read what has happened in Kenya and the violence that followed the election here.I am not going to recap or have any political opinions in this post.

All I do know is that I was scared. I was very scared for my girls at Saint Monica’s. I have been in daily contact with them since the violence erupted. Everyone is safe and school has been postponed for a week. I am just hoping that I will be able to go back in April. Being this far from them during this time is hard. I wish I could help. Our own Amy was scheduled to go to Nairobi next week, but her trip has been postponed. She will tell you her story soon.

Please take a few minutes today and the weeks that follow and read CNN and BBC to keep yourself updated on the news from Kenya.

Rocky Sig

I Am SO Happy Right Now!

October 26, 2007

I got to talk to my girls! At least half of them. I got into a funk this evening because I missed them so much. I need to get a International plan for Kenya. I am not looking forward to the bill! But I got to talk to them!!! I’m a happy girl and I have a huge smile on my face. A big $$$ price but SSOOOOOO worth it!

Here is the last photo My Winnie and I took together. This is my favorite! It’s my desktop picture!

It’s Just The Beginning

October 19, 2007

Our last night at Saint Monica’s was an emotional one. All of us were crying. The girls could not control their emotions and they found their faces buried in their hands. It was so sad and beautiful all at the same time.

It’s amazing what happened during those 14 days at Saint Monica’s.

Our lives changed.

What all of us have done to change the lives of those girls and to the hundreds of others that we donatedJulie And Rocky with girls at Saint Monica Children's Home pencils, medical supplies and of course underwear. All the donations meant so much. The girls felt kindness, they felt valued, and they felt loved.

And it was all so very simple.

We got on a plane and opened our hearts. It is truly that simple. My goal was to do my best and try to change the life of one child. But with all your help and support, we were able to change the lives of all the girls. They kept telling us again and again that no one has ever shown this kind of love and generosity. And this is just the beginning.

What I have learned is that all it takes is an open mind and a loving heart. It can happen in your own home, in your neighborhood, in your own country, or it could take you to a part of the world that you have only dreamt about. If you open your heart you can learn so much about life and about yourself.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of these girls lives. I’m the lucky one. I’m the one that received more than I could have ever imagined. My work has only begun.

This is just my beginning.

A Post From Juli

October 18, 2007

Well I am home, sort of.

Rocky and I arrived in California yesterday afternoon. I am staying here till Friday to visit with nieces and nephews and my mom who is here from WV helping Jeff take care of all of them while Rocky and I were away. My other brother, Digger, is at my home watching over my two teenage boys. I will see them soon.

I am glad to be here. I am thankful for the Rib Eye Steak I had for dinner last night. I have been up since 4 am this morning, (my body still thinks it is the afternoon) I was woken by a missed call from country code 254. I immediately called the number back. It was Assumphta, one of the Aunties. She is in charge of helping the girls with anything having to do with school. She is a bright spirit and all the girls respected and loved her, even when she was scolding them for getting up late the day before. She wanted to say thank you to me for the purse I left her . The Jean purse I had used the entire time I was there, the zipper was broke and it had a small tear in it, but she had admired it so I left it for her. She told me that she missed us and that she and the girls were still sad. So am I.

I sat this morning reading all the posts from our trip and comments everyone made and I cried.

I will get with Jeff today and get all the photos uploaded. The photos of the girls at St. Monica’s as well as the photos from Kibera, and the other orphanages we visited while we were there. Looking at all the photos reminded me of all of the orphanages we saw and heard about from other volunteers.

julis-post-1.pngSt. Monica’s Children’s Home by far the best. Other orphanages have so little to offer the children and so many children to care for. After visiting one particular orphanage, I questioned whether an orphanage should limit the number of children so that they could provide a better quality of life to children in the home. I believe it is a valid question, the answer should be simply “yes”. But that is the wrong answer Reality is that the orphanage that has the children sleeping 5 to bed, that is so overcrowded that they may miss the signs of sickness in one child that leads to that child’s death, that keeps the children under 2 in cribs all day because they do not have the room or the staff to provide them with anything else, that orphanage IS a better quality of life then the children had before. That is a tough pill to swallow. The fact is that if this orphanage did not take these 80 children, the children would be either living on the streets, maybe only getting one meal a day instead of three, or all of them would be dead.

So the answer is not so simple…

There needs to be more orphanages, as well as more funds to provide better care, better living conditions, better quality of life. Until there are we can only do our best to help the orphanages and the children in them, one child or one orphanage at a time.

I was lucky enough to be a part of helping one orphanage and I know I made a difference in 25 girls life.  They also made a difference in mine.

~Juli

Homeward Bound

October 17, 2007

girls-say-goodbye.png We are on our way home. I thought you would like to see a picture of our farewell party. I will post about it when I get home. We are in London now waiting to board our flight! Thank you all so much for your love and support. The flight is over 11 hours. I will upload photos this evening after the kids go down!!

Gotta run! Much love!

Kwaherini!

Saying Our Thank You Fors

October 15, 2007

Before Rocky left, she hid things around the house and left notes for the kids. She also left a jar filled with “thank you fors.”

At our dinner table, instead of grace, we say our “thank you fors.” We do this every night. Each of us simply takes turns saying what we are thankful for that day. Rocky left a jar filled with her thank you fors for us to read while she was in Africa. So, she’s been with us at the dinner table each night. I know this is her blog, but I couldn’t resist sharing this.

This one was picked out of the jar the other night:

Rocky’s Thank You Fors

We’re thankful she is too.

A Different Me

October 14, 2007

With a title like that I’m sure you think this post is going to be inspiring.

I’m sure you think it’s going to be about how I have changed in so many ways, my new outlook on life, about the true necessities of life and how my heart has opened more than I could have ever dreamed it would be opened. But the truth is, it’s not about that this time.

I just smell.

Really, I do. It’s been almost two days since I last bathed. The crazy thing is, it just feels normal now.

If you knew me, really, really knew me, you would have bet this would never happen. Ever.

I have been known to take three showers in one day. In the states, I always shower before I go to bed. Always. That’s not the story here.

Since arriving at St. Monica’s, I have not bathed before bed… not once. I could if I wanted to, it would be freezing shower water. There is no hot water here, remember.

So, after the morning chores, I get a bucket of hot water to bathe myself. I call this the bucket bath. I am so grateful for this bucket bath! I don’t think I could ever get used to cold showers. I am truly spoiled.

The girls shower at 5:30 in the cold morning with extremely cold water every school day. I am in awe. I am going to look into solar powered water heater so they can have hot water and not cost the orphanage upkeep.

So back to the different me. I stink and I just don’t care.

It’s funny how quickly my priorities changed. My clothes are dirty. I smell. And the girls still want to cuddle up and be loved.

They have the right priorities, don’t you think?