Unboxed Lives May 2014 volunteer team was another smashing success in Kisumu, Kenya.
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.
The 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. 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!
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.
If you would like to join Unboxed Lives in Kenya, please contact us today!