Posted by Frank Gagnier

Diane Hammerick

 

"KENYA PARTNERS"

 

Diane’s presentation on the work being done by Kenya Partners in Nakuru Kenya included stories of survival, of death, of suffering but also stories of the amazing hope of its people even in the face of overwhelming challenges – like a recent disaster in one village where Kenya Partners volunteers, working together with its African counterparts, tended to the medical needs of over 1000 men, women and children who had been impacted by floods from a broken earthen dam.  She told the story of providing medical services to a grandmother and her grandson who had been rescued after being dug out of the mud.  Another story was of a teenage girl with a broken leg who had lost her mother after they were both swept away in the raging water.  Other patients were assisted with funds for advanced treatment at other facilities, while others received aid such as wheelchairs and walkers.  Kenya Partners even carried 21 young people, most of whom were single or double orphans, to its 600-bed boarding school, because the schools in the flood area had been destroyed.  These children now have a warm bed to sleep in, nutritious food to eat, teachers who teach and care for them, and regular follow-up with medical and counseling services.

 

These stories demonstrate how Kenya Partners’ efforts in Africa have been meeting the needs of those suffering from severe poverty.  It is the magnitude of that poverty that caused Diane to feel compelled “to do something” after visiting there in 2006.  She described the poverty as greater than any she had seen in her work with the homeless in NC and her work in Georgia with migrant agricultural farmworkers, her first career.

 

In 2006, she observed that 1 in 5 children died before reaching the age of 5, that women were dying in childbirth, that few children had the “luxury” of education, that malnutrition was resulting in stunted growth with serious impact upon brain development.  Many children, orphaned from the HIV/AIDS crisis, lived on the streets, or in makeshift cardboard houses, or with aging grandmothers who had trouble even feeding them. 

 

There is no government aid in Kenya, no food pantries, no soup kitchens, and no where for the suffering children to go.  Diane suggested that we need to love and care for our “neighbors” where ever they are - even if they are 8000 miles away.  To meet the needs of the suffering in Nakuru Kenya, Kenya Partners has a small hospital, the boarding school/orphanage and 2 other pre-school programs where almost 200 little ones receive a foundation in education preparing them for the boarding school.

 

To help sustain the programs, Kenya Partners seeks sponsors for orphans in the school, volunteers for mission teams, and others to work locally in the US to assist the all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff.  Another sustainability program is the Wenza Safaris tour company started by Kenya Partners.  All net receipts support the ongoing programs in Kenya.  Diane can plan a personalized safari for anyone interested even those not interested in doing mission work in Kenya stating she could save us a lot of money by going this route should anyone plan on eventually planning an African Safari. 

 

Kenya Partners big fundraising push is the Giving Hope Benefit Dinner set for Sunday, September 23 at Walkers Landing.  For only $75, attendees can enjoy a seated dinner by Horizons, hors d’oeuvres, wine & beer, music, and a Silent Auction.  Those interested in the dinner can reserve directly at: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/dinner2018/

 

To get more info about the Dinner, about sponsorship, about the mission trip next year leaving May 29, and about safaris with Wenza Safaris, you can also contact Diane directly at 336-210-3765 or diane@kenyapartners.com.

 

Thank you Diane for all you do for these children and then some!!!  And thank you for taking the time to bring our club up to speed with what's going on in Kenya and what we could all do to help if at all possible.

 
 
Past President Dr. David Page and Diane Hamrick