Monday, December 03, 2007

Good News

We want to tell you about several very exciting events that have happened within the last month or two, one of which concerns our next AJWS assignment, and the others are follow up activities to projects that we started during our last two assignements in Namibia and Ghana.

We have recently learned that we will be going to Kenya in East Africa sometime in mid to late January until sometime early to mid may. We will be stationed in Kisumu, Kenya, which is located in western Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria, right on the equator. Interestingly, it is more or less across Lake Victoria from Kampala, Uganda where we volunteered in 2004, and we hope that we will be able to arrange to see some of our old friends from Reach Out in Kamplal. The name of the organization we will be working with is K-MET, (Kisumu Medical and Educational Trust) - a perfect assignment for us since the assignment will utilize both of our skills, (medical management, organizational development, and fundraising). As we learn more about what we will be doing, we will keep you informed with both stories and photos.

When we were in Namibia, we started a goat project modeled more or less on the Heifer International Project, and many of you bought goats to produce milk for AIDS orphans living in an orphanage.

We are very pleased to tell you that we applied to funding from JSoN, a Jewish organization for alumni of Jewish service organizations. Only two projects were funded for $5,000 each, and our goat project was one of them. The money will be used to provide a well for water for the goats and a vegetable garden for the orphanage, and also teach the children sound environmental methods of agriculture and animal rearing. By the way, the goat herd has increased substantially during the past 3 years (you can probably guess why), and this grant will enable the orphanage not only to provide more for the children, but for the project to be sustainable. We are very proud that this project was the first one ever awarded by JSoN.

Also in Ghana, many of you contributed small amounts of money to purchase coconut trees to be planted along the beach in Keta to keep it from eroding, and to supply coconuts, and coconut tree fronds to be used for roofing, feed, and other things, and also reinvigorate the local fishing economy which because of the erosion of the beaches had to move further and further away from where fish were caught to where they were smoked and processed in other ways. We are happy to inform you that the coconuts have now been purchased and planted, and hopefully some day, some of us will be able to go there, sit under those trees and enjoy the shade, the view, and the coconuts, and observe how the econmomy of this small oceanside community will have been reborn.

Finally, also in Ghana, we helped to start an emergency fund to provide life saving ARV's, (anti retro viral drugs) to children with HIV/AIDS. Through the generosity of many of you, for the very affordable cost of $68 for one years supply of ARV's, some 20 children now can live a happy and fulfilling life.

Once again, we, with your help are making changes in our world, and helping make life better for people who are not as fortunate as most of us Anericans. While these things may not be dramatic in the entire scheme of things, they are certainly dramatic for the individuals they help, and the most important thing is that with your help, we are able to continue to help. Remember, if we can't change the world, we can, and we are changing one life at a time.