Welcome to our blog page! We hope you enjoy reading all about what Unboxed Lives has been doing.
Blog posts include team trips, special events, projects and more!

30Dec 2015

Please enjoy a copy of our early 2015 newsletter!
Please contact us if you would like to be on our email list.

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It has been a successful 2.5 years since the birth of Unboxed Lives (UBL) and we are excited to introduce our first electronic newsletter! Moving forward, we hope to keep our supporters updated on all our progress and the impact you are making through your time and donations.

Before we delve in, we would like to take the time to thank each and everyone of you. Starting a non-governmental organization is no small feat and we definitely would not be where we are today without you, so from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

Have a fantastic 2015!

The Latest Unboxed News

UBL Annual Fundraiser
Unboxed Lives’ 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner was held in Auburn, California (location of UBL corporate office) on September 20th, 2014. With nearly 100 people in attendance, the night was filled with lively music from local band Fourth Week Up, dinner 2014entertainment from Board Member and the night’s Master of Ceremonies, Craig Kelley, great food, and tasty libations.
Together we raised just over $8000 from the silent auction and donations. In addition, we gained monthly donors that have committed to working towards community growth and development in Kenya. We appreciate all our volunteers who devoted their time and the companies who donated auction items. Thank you all for your help in making our evening a great success!

November 2014 Kenya Team
In November 2014, four women from California joined Unboxed Lives US Director Sally Lunetta for an unbelievable experience working with our partner communities in Western Kenya. During their two weeks, the team witnessed a community training session lead by Kenyan UBL Director, Jack Mila, worked hand in hand with Kenyans to build three homes for widows, and assisted local doctors and nurses in two medical camps sponsored by UBL that served over 500 underprivileged individuals.2014 October team

Our team trips offer hands-on experiences and community engagement that leads to a direct, positive impact on both the U.S. team members and Kenyan communities.
If you are interested in joining UBL for a rewarding two weeks in Kenya in 2015, please contact us at info@unboxedlives.com.

UBL Community Health Concern Medical Center
In the early months of 2014, the laboratory and pharmacy in the clinic were registered with the Kenyan government. To our surprise, the facility was deemed worthy to operate as a “Medical Center,” surpassing the “clinic” classification we originally sought. From this upgrade, we are able to provide more services to our patients (including dental work), which we hope will continue to improve health conditions within the Nyalenda and Kisumu communities.
clinicWe are currently working towards funding a laboratory technician and pharmacist for the clinic. Once this is achieved, the clinic will be able to generate income and progress towards becoming financially independent.

If you would like to join in funding accessible health care, please consider a monthly donation for the next year to support our efforts in filling these clinic positions. Simply go to the “Donate” page on our website or email us at info@unboxedlives.com to set up monthly giving.

Working in Communities
Since July 2012, we have successfully partnered with four communities in Kenya: Nyahera Community (2 years), Ilungu Community (1 year), Obaga Community (1 year), and Kokise community (2 months). Each community has a common mission to work towards economic growth and development through initiating self-sustainable programs and projects that enrich the lives of themselves and their entire community. This mission will in turn help individuals realize their potential to create change for community pic 2014themselves, their families and their community members and to ensure that every vulnerable community member is loved and cared for. Projects and programs include building homes for widows, selling stove liners, jewelry, or baskets to generate income, and breeding hybrid goats to provide community members food, milk, and income.
In the coming year, our goal is to gain (8) new community partnerships, so we will need your help. Each community training (the first and most crucial event) costs $300-500 (depending on community size and location) and depends on the attendance and participation of the community members. If you are interested in donating to new community trainings, please visit our donation webpage and note “training” in the comment box on your donation. In the near future, we will be adding a page to our website that will detail the projects and programs of each community… stay tuned!

We have set a secondary goal to build two homes each month for widows and their children in the most impoverished areas we work. Each new building costs $600 for Unboxed Lives’ portion of the materials. The partner community covers the rest. Your support will be greatly appreciated (note “new homes” in comment field on your donation).

Here are other ways you can help UBL:
1. IGIVE – www.igive.com
Choose Unboxed Lives as your non-profit of choice and a percentage of your online purchases at participating retialers will be donated to UBL at no cost to you!
2. SMILE.AMAZON – www.smile.amazon.com
A percentage of any qualifying purchase you make on smile.amazon will be donated to UBL at no additional cost to you.
3. Nerium International – www.unboxedlives.nerium.com
Purchase skin products from the company leading the way in the skin care industry and UBL will receive a donation
4. Donate directly to Unboxed Lives – www.unboxedlives.com
All donations are tax deductible. Whether you donate once or donate monthly, rest assured that every penny donated will go directly to support the project work in UBL affiliated communities in Kenya
We are so proud of what we have accomplished in the last two years. There is still much work to be done and we are excited for what the new year will bring and how God will lead us. Thank you for being an instrumental part of our lives and the lives of so many brothers and sisters in Kenya.

Sincerely,
Sally Lunetta and Kathy Lee

Copyright © 2014

15Jul 2014

Unboxed Lives May 2014 volunteer team was another smashing success in Kisumu, Kenya.
may 2014 team
Departing from four different cities (LA, Sacramento, Washington DC, and Chicago), this team came together in a big way to support the project work ongoing in Kenya. This was the first trip to Kenya for three of the five team members, but the veterans were just as excited as the “newbies” to get there. The team landed in Nairobi on Sunday night, May 4 (on two different flights three hours apart) and after a refreshing overnight stay at a local guest house, hopped on their flight to Kisumu first thing Monday morning.

Pastor Jack Mila, Unboxed Lives’ Africa Director, met the team at the Kisumu airport and after dropping belongings at the guest house, whisked them off for an afternoon of local sightseeing. The team visited Kit Makayi, a huge and beautiful rock formation outside of Kisumu. ???????????????????????????????There, the team (minus Sally) climbed under, through and over the boulders to get to the top and the beautiful views. When they got down off the rocks, they were met by Sally and a wonderful group of ladies singing and dancing in welcome.

Ready to get to work, the team started their first partnership project the next morning when they arrived in the village of Mwerembe, outside of Kisumu proper. There they met Charles Okwemba, Director of the Alpha Support Development Programme and leader of a great group of volunteers in the small community. Together, everyone started working hard to build a new house for a grandmother and her grandson, whom she is now raising. The home they’d been living in had a badly leaking roof and needed far too much repair to warrant trying. ???????????????????????????????Instead, Unboxed Lives and Alpha partnered together to build a mud home for the duo. Much to the surprise of the Kenyan team, the American team jumped in and did everything from digging post holes (with machetes….no shovels!) to carrying water up from the river.

JACK-GRANDMA-SALLY with homeThe next day it was time for the mud and the team was ready! Forming an assembly line, they managed to help get the house completed in ONE day – unheard of in this village. It typically takes up to three weeks to finish a home like this. Working together, both teams were thrilled to finish and present the home to the grandmother. She, in turn, presented Sally with a chicken…and her gratitude for the team’s visit and assistance.

The day after the home was complete, the team returned to Mwerembe to witness an Unboxed Lives training session, held specifically for the Alpha Support Group. It was just a “taste” of the typical session but it was enough to help them see that Unboxed Lives has what they need. Pastor Jack agree to return in August to complete the training in the community and to encourage them to get more projects started.
The team came back one final day and held their first free medical camp in Mwerembe. They were fortunate to be able to use the local clinic as their outpost and along with a Kenyan doctor and two Kenyan nurses, the team saw patients and assisted the doctor in treating almost 200 people. Because the UBL team had an ER nurse and a nursing student, it was a great fit for them as assistants. Clinic day Mwerembe Those without medical experience helped prepare prescriptions – and support the nurses as they insured the patients had the medicine they needed.
Returning to Kisumu, the team spent the next several days in and around town. Another medical camp was held, they met with students at the Vision and Passion High School (on the outskirts of town) for open discussions on women’s health, and they visited in nearby Nyahera village to see old friends, The Amazing Support Group, and hear about their newest projects.

Every day was full and exhausting but this team wouldn’t have it any other way. Each day ended with a fantastic meal prepared just for them and was followed by great family time together with Pastor Jack, his lovely wife Everlyn, and nine of their ten children. Each evening one family member – or an Unboxed team member, since they were now family – would share a verse from the Bible and talk about what impact these words had on them. Worship songs were sung and everyone enjoyed their special time together!

emma leppke

At the end of the time in Kisumu, goodbyes were said and the team was off to Masai Mara Game Park where so many fantastic animals are living freely and in abundance. From the first sighting of a zebra on the outskirts to the last giraffe as the team left the park, gratitude abounded as the team realized how fortunate they were to experience this amazing splendor.
lions on the mara???????????????????????????????

If you would like to join Unboxed Lives in Kenya, please contact us today!

18Apr 2014

Yes! It has finally happened!

The Community Health Concern Medical Center in Nyalenda Slum, Kisumu, Kenya, is now fully open and operational. This is a huge feat that could not have been accomplished without all the love, prayers and support that all of you provided, and by the grace of God who has given us favor once again.
The center will offer testing for malaria, typhoid, HIV, and more, as well as offering check-ups for pregnant women and family planning counseling. We are authorized to dispense medications for all the common ailments including HIV, as well as offering child immunizations – key to the community considering the many orphans in the area. Additionally, both home based care and remote medical outreaches will be offered for those who cannot make it to the medical center.9A - NURSE CHECKING MEDICINE SUPPLY

Pastor Jack Mila, Unboxed Lives Kenya Director and Chairman of the Board for Unboxed Lives Africa, has put his heart and soul into making this center come to life. From the first visions of helping those who cannot help themselves to his most recent triumphs in getting the pharmacy and laboratory registered and licensed, Jack has been “all in”.  Through many trials and tribulations, Jack never let God’s vision stray from his focus. This is not to say there weren’t times of ultimate discouragement – there were – but when those few occasions came, the rest of the troops rallied around Jack and encouraged him to continue until this vision became reality.

The fruits of this labor will minister to the neighborhood where the center operates 12 hours a day, seven days a week. There is a doctor on staff, as well as a pharmacist and lab technician so more people can be seen and helped without having to travel anywhere else to get their lab work or medicines. We offer services and medications at a lower than typical cost in order to help more people. Often, those who can afford to visit a clinic can’t afford much more, so they leave without medicine or a needed test. With everything available in one place now and at lower than usual cost, they will never have to leave the health center without knowing what illness might need treatment or without medication to treat it.

Most exciting is the fact that this center and its services will be free to the children living in Unboxed  Lives’ partner orphanages. UBL will cover all the costs for the children’s tests and medicines to insure these most-needy children will receive the medical care they so desperately need. This has been a key piece of the vision Jack was given for this center and we are thrilled to be able to help him achieve this goal.

We are very proud of the accomplishment you have helped us achieve and hope you will share in our joy and excitement over it! We thank God for His ultimate provision and for allowing us the opportunity to serve Him in making His vision come to fruition.
Thank you all for your excellent support and encouragement throughout this long and emotional process.SAM_0904

04Jan 2014

OUR First FULL Year – Unboxed!

We did it! Our first full year is in the history books and we are excited to share our progress with you, as well as share some upcoming changes for UBL.

Although we are not a medical missions group, we spent much of our time and lots of energy in 2013 working with doctors and nurses, and readying our clinic for the public. We are grateful to all our medical friends and family for helping us make this an integral part of our ministry. Improved health and well-being are goals for Unboxed communities, and the free medical outreaches we were able to participate in this year helped us achieve those goals.

Our year started out with sadness as our Kenyan Director Jack Mila and his wife Evelyn lost their baby boy at birth, and just a week later, lost Jack’s mother to an accidental death. This was a devastating loss for our tight family of friends but as always, Jack taught us through his grief that we need to trust God with all we have.

UBL’s first team of the year arrived in Kisumu on May 5. The team was comprised of two halves –  the Project Team, led by Cari Kommel (Benoit, Ohio), and the Admin Team, led by Unboxed US Managing Director Sally Lunetta.
The minute we touched down in Kisumu, the Project Team went immediately to work painting and upgrading the clinic building that was donated to Unboxed Lives. They may have gotten more paint on themselves than the walls, but they did a great job refreshing the tired building.

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The Administrative side of the team included Pastor Jack and US directors Tanner Colton and Kolena Allen (Seattle, WA), Kathy Chin (Portland, OR), as well as our first board member, Laurie Boyte (Auburn, CA). We met for five days and set forth grand plans for UBL in Kenya and the US, before joining the Project team for some hard work.

Team Trip Home Slider

The team came together to build, brick by brick, a kitchen for the Salem Farm Orphanage in Bondo, and held two all-day medical outreach clinics in the same area serving almost 800 people.

The next UBL team arrived in Kisumu July 8 and proceeded to the Saint Alice Academy to pour a concrete floor. This isn’t as easy as you might think….there are no cement mixers with hoses to pour out concrete for you. The team had to mix the concrete by hand with shovels, scoop it into wheelbarrows, and push it up a steep incline to the classroom needing the repair. Thankfully the team was made up of four men and their fearless leader, Kelly Jarrett (Roseville, CA), so there was no shortage of determination or muscle!

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In addition to the work at the school, the team also took advantage of team member Dr. Jeff Joseph (Haymarket, VA), aka “Batman”, and his incredible skills, and held an outdoor medical clinic attended by over 300 community members. The team then spent two days visiting homes in another community, administering care to almost 50 bed-ridden patients.

In early August we received the bad news that our clinic building had been “taken back”. The donor may have had second thoughts over giving it away after seeing how great it looked refurbished! Regardless, it meant we had to start our clinic drive over, physically and financially.

Jack realized the best place for the clinic was in a building he already occupied near his home in the Nyalenda slum. He proceeded to move his motorcycle repair shop out of that building to another location nearer to the heart of town. He then made arrangements with the shop owner in Nyalenda to remodel Jack’s part of that building to house the new clinic. This location is ideal for Unboxed Lives – it is in the heart of the slum that Jack lives in and where our team stays with each visit, so the clinic will be serving our neighbors and friends.
By late September, the remodeling was nearly complete, leaving several coats of paint and new flooring to be applied as it was being finished up.

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The final team for the year arrived in Nyalenda September 30 to find Jack waiting with paint brushes and lots of paint. Not long after, we arrived at the clinic building and started the week-long makeover.

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Soon, the building was transformed and the clinic was born.
We held the first free clinic day prior to our grand opening and served almost 400 people before we ran out of medicine and time.  It was touching to arrive very early that morning to see a woman already sitting on the bench waiting for the doctor. She had her beautiful baby with her – she was determined to get long needed medical care and we were so happy to be able to assist her.

P1050364A few days later the Health Department visited and “blessed” us by allowing us to open for business. After leaving a very long list of “to-do’s” with Jack, and after Jack promising he would get all of them done within the allotted time frame, the Health Department gave us the green light to open! This was a very exciting day for all of us!

In addition to the clinic upgrade, the last team of 2013 did a medical outreach in Orongo where we saw nearly 200 people before the rains came and shut us down…but…that’s another story!
We also spent two days painting school rooms at St. Alice Academy where the July team had installed the new floor – yes, this team was very busy serving the people of Kisumu and beyond!

The clinic is now officially and open and while we wait for the registration and licensing for our pharmacy and lab to be completed, allowing us to process lab work and dispense medication, we are now able to provide low cost medical care to thousands of needy Nyalenda residents.
We could not have done this without your help!

The end of 2013 has also brought change to the Unboxed Lives US team. Tanner and Kolena have decided to pursue a different path and have left their positions with UBL. We wish them all the best and will miss them terribly, but thankfully, God had this all in His plan and prepared the way by bringing some amazing volunteers to join us as we continue.

We are looking forward to getting back to the heart of our work in 2014 – the community development and training sessions that Unboxed Lives was created to facilitate and strengthen through cooperation, love and compassion.

Thank you all for your continued and generous support!
You have changed lives! God bless!

17Oct 2013

On the heels of Community Health Concern’s grand opening free medical clinic, we are getting the latest from Jack about what is happening in the clinic and what is still to be done. We wanted to share a letter directly from Jack on the status and let you hear from him how this amazing resource will benefit the community and who it will be serving.

Your continued support is what is going to make all of this possible. You can always go to our Donate page and make a pledge towards sustaining this clinic for the first year. With your partnership Jack and his team can literally save hundreds of lives and give the community in Nyalenda and Kisumu as a whole the boost they need to begin tackling the issues that they face. Thank you for your support and continued partnership with Unboxed Lives and Community Health Concern.

From Jack Mila:

Hello Partners

Hope you are fine and doing good, I want to register my sincere thanks to all of you for working very hard towards establishing the Community Health Concern, Medical Clinic. Without your combined effort all of this could have not been in place. I am really grateful, this is a realization of unity and how much we can achieve together.

The Clinic was officially opened on 10/5/2013 with a free medical clinic conducted in its premises. It was such a joy to see the 380 people comprised of children, youths, women and men being treated free of charge. The clinic is located in Nyalenda slum, most of the residents in this slum are poor and majority cannot even afford to pay for their medical expenses. I have witnessed children dying of Malaria just because the parents are unable to afford malaria tablets which cost only Ks 40, that is a half a dollar.

Nyalenda has a population of 96,000 people, the majority being jobless while those who have jobs are earning less than a dollar per day. The Death rate is very high due to Typhoid, Malaria, and diseases related to HIV/AIDS. Most of the deaths in this slum can be avoided if there was a clinic like the one we have established.W e intend to hold free medical clinics as a way of fighting the mentioned diseases and to avoid unnecessary deaths. We also intend to hold health trainings, as well as providing people with mosquito nets as a way of fighting malaria.

Right now the challenge we have ahead of us is how we will be paying our staffs and maintaining the clinic on a monthly basis. We will need $1800 per month to pay the staffs and monthly expenses, I do trust God for all these.

I believe most of you of heard what happens with our doctor. He was arrested because we did not register the Pharmacy during the free medical clinic. In fact the issue caught me with surprise because the Health Ministry Official did not advise me on that. I was not told that I needed to register clinic, pharmacy and laboratory separately. I registered the clinic then I thought that all is done. The doctor was charged with three counts of charges after spending a night in a prison, I had to pay a fine of Ks125,000 ($1,560) for his release. The issue is resolved now and we move on to getting the proper registrations.

Anyway at the moment we need now to get the registration of the Pharmacy and laboratory. Pharmacy registration is Ks76,000 including inspection fee while lab is Ks 82,000 including inspection. The total cost is Ks 158,000 ($1975). This is a lot of money but we need to trust God more, both registrations are done in Nairobi. I totally remain in prayer. Your partnership and support can help make this happen. Thank you for all you have done and will do.

-Jack Mila

9F - SALLY AND JACK IN FRONT

08Oct 2013

CLINIC HAPPENINGS

It has been a monumental effort in the last weeks and months to find things arrived at this place. Through the tireless and unwavering dedication of our Kenyan director, Jack Mila, and the many other partners, supporters, and other amazing folks Community Health Concern is on the verge of an official opening!

Jack has done some amazing things to overcome many of the challenges that have faced this project from lack of funding to loss of buildings to insufficient supplies and has carried this clinic on his shoulders to where we are now. Over the past months Jack has readied this building to begin receiving and treating patients as soon as this week. All the remains is an inspection by the Minestry of Health and the stamp of approval to begin officially operating as Community Health Concern.

This exciting and unbelievable news still comes with some trepidation. You see, funding for the first full year of the clinic’s operation has yet to be raised and without continued support from people just like you, this clinic’s opening might be short-lived. We are still in need of roughly $19,000 to have complete funding for the first year of operation, a number that seems astronomical, but one that must be reached. As always you can visit our Donate page and make a donation to the clinic by selecting “Special Projects” in the Donate To dropdown and typing Clinic in the provided box. This ensures your donation goes where you want it used.

CELEBRATING WITH THE COMMUNITY

To commemorate the pending official opening of Community Health Concern, Unboxed Lives in accordance with Jack and many local medical professionals in the Kisumu area held a free medical camp for the Nyalenda area.

9 -THE CROWD STARTS TO GATHER

The crowd begins to gather early in the morning.

 

9A - NURSE CHECKING MEDICINE SUPPLY

Checking inventory before seeing patients

 

Clinic Opening 2

Doctor seeing patients at the free medical camp

The free camp was held on October 5th and was staffed by 3 doctors, 2 nurses, 1 assistant, and 5 Unboxed Lives Team Members from the US. All the medical professionals working in this camp were from the local area and have been serving people in Kisumu and around the city their whole lives. In one day these folks saw 380 patients with ailments ranging from colds to flu to malaria and strep throat. There were so many cases of malaria the clinic actually ran out of medicine and had to start turning people away. This is how great the need is in the area and another reason why this clinic needs to be open and stay open.

There were so many people who needed care that though this free camp was just Saturday, people showed up Sunday as well hoping to be seen. The healthcare need in Nyalenda and Kisumu as a whole is without measure.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It is evident from the turnout at the grand opening free medical camp that the number of people without access to proper health care in the Nyalenda slum and Kisumu as a whole is staggering. The Community Health Concern Medical Center exists to try to begin to meet this need, though we will most likely fall short. It’s success and the wellbeing of those in need comes down to us. You. Me. Everyone. We all must come together and make sure this clinic is funded and sustained for the first year so that Jack and his local leaders can build a solid foundation and continue running the clinic from then on.

We are calling on your support, your backing, your partnership to make this happen. Please find it in your heart to support this effort and give live saving care to those who can’t otherwise afford it. Together we can make this happen!

SPECIAL THANKS

Big shout out to the Unboxed Lives volunteer team who has been in Kenya the last week helping prepare the clinic to open and assisting Jack and his group ready the clinic for inspection. Our team members serve with their hands and their feet and have become partners with those doing real work and helping real people. It’s not always clean or easy work, but our teams do what needs to be done and they deserve a big thanks!

1 -TEAM PREPARING

Unboxed Lives Team assisting at the clinic.

 

6 - HORACE WORKING ON FLOOR

Jack’s crew hard at work prepping the floors.

 

9C - ROANNE DESHON, SHAUNA ROMO, MIKE DAVEY CHECK IN PATIENTS

Team members work with local professionals to serve patients.

 

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