Monday, 10 June 2019

Update from Heather Douglas

This is the update I received from Heather Douglas who worked alongside Doctor Lucy at the Medical Clinic that was held at Compass School.  What great work they have done!

"I really believe that the medical camp was a smashing success in the way that it gave each child a chance to speak and voice concerns, in the way that it reminded the teachers and children of Tumaini Afrika and it's vested interest in their well-being and in the way that it truly caught some serious health issues.
The first day we weren't sure how things were going to go and added to the stress of logistics, Lucy had an immense report that she was in the middle of revising for a recent medical relief trip to Somalia. Her bosses are big wigs from organizations including UNICEF and WHO but she handled it spectacularly and jumped into Compass wholeheartedly.
She's too humble to say all of this but she was an absolute warrior when it came to getting help for the kids and honoring them by doing due process on each and every complaint; from sore tummies to bean's stuck in ears (the bean, it turned out, had been removed by another doctor earlier and the student just wanted Lucy to take a look).
We took over the office from the head teacher, Mr. Kamae - I'm not sure if you got to meet or interact with him on your last trip but he is a wonderful man, aged 73 and has given up on retirement and teaches the Grade 7 class.
In his office we put stacks of pink and blue cards for keeping the records on on the main desk along with an otoscope, flashlight, box of tongue depressors and hand sanitzer. We had a scale on the floor and taped to the wall a measuring tape to assess their weight and height.
The office has a small couch and on this we spread out a yoga mat and covered it with a sheet. The desk to the side of the larger one was dedicated to bright stickers, a bag of sweets and a jug of clean drinking water.
We started the camp with perhaps the most challenging class: nursery and pre-school. The kids were squirmy and shy and required a lot of work from teacher Rachel to help translate and draw them out.
Teacher Rachel was another hero of the camp spending hours asking kids Dr. Lucy's questions in Swahili and deciphering their sometimes cryptic responses. She also had information on how they performed in class, their family background and who and where their parents were. When a medication was needed; she would call and visit the pharmacy and bring back what was needed.
At the end of the first day; I was drained. It seemed like the kids at Compass had endured more health issues in their first 5 or 6 years than I had in my entire life. Their tummies were mostly all distended, there were many complaints due most likely to dehydration and it was clear that some students probably had needed glasses for a while. What to think; the check-ups were just the beginning.
The second and third day were less difficult; we had a groove and as the students got older, their English improved and we were able to move much faster: I would invite a student in, ask them to remove their jumper and shoes, weigh them and measure their height and record the measurements. In the meantime Lucy would be checking over a different student, starting off by asking them if they had any pains or issues, then by looking at their eyes, nose and mouth. She would listen carefully to their heart and lungs with here stethoscope then she would have them lay down on the couch and she would feel their abdomen. A quick check over the skin for rashes or parasites and then she would write careful notes. Once the check up was complete I would get their shoes back on and give them a sticker and sweet and then repeat the process again.
By the third day we felt like we knew Rachel and teacher Thelda, the Grade 6 teacher, like family; and the children were no longer apprehensive of us; any fear that Lucy was there to give injections had vanished, and on breaks they would come streaming in to grab our hands, give hugs, hand drawn pictures and notes. We were deeply touched.
I still feel that this is just the beginning for many of these children but I also feel that there has been priceless love given through this camp and that you and the rest of Tumaini Afrika, by having enabled Dr. Lucy to do this work, have left a deep and lasting memory. They are seen, they are loved and their lives and health matter; the actions speak to this.
This is a novel but I wanted to paint a picture of the three days so that we could share in the good feels!
I know that Lucy has been in touch and I will leave the medical speak to her as it is over my head! She certainly has given much of herself and I hope very much that you and Tumaini will get to meet her on your trip in Feb.
All the best,

May Activities

Jambo all!
What a busy and exciting month May has been! We have been preparing for our As Big As An Elephant Garage Sale on June 8, and so many of you have been dropping items off! Thank you! If you still have items to donate, St. Andrew’s Church is open to receiving goods on June 6 and 7 from 9-5. The Garage Sale goes from 8:30 to 1:00 this coming Saturday. Hope to see you there!

Our newly designed booth at The Ole Warehouse is open on Saturdays from 10-4 at 69 Church St. The co-op has a number of new vendors, so come and check us all out!

As was mentioned in the last email, Heather Douglas is in Kenya and is contributing so much to assist Tumaini Afrika and the children at Compass School! Heather’s friend, Dr. Lucy Pamment, is a British national who has been doing work in Africa for over 20 years. Heather told her about Compass School children and wondered if she might spend a few days examining these kids and getting them the help they may need. After checking with Flora and our Tumaini group and getting anticipated costs for this venture, we agreed that this was so important and a great opportunity to help.  Other Tumaini supporters have offered funds as well.  So far the costs have been just over $1100 Canadian. Heather worked alongside Dr. Lucy as they examined and treated over 100 children! Lucy continues to follow up with some of the more serious issues. ( Gloria had a very high heart rate and laboured breathing) They got her to the hospital and she was diagnosed with Pneumonia and treated.
She also treated distended stomachs, dehydration issues, worms and other parasites. She has suggested that the cooks boil water each morning so that the students have clean water for lunch.  The kids and staff loved Lucy and she loved going there as well! For more information check out Heather’s update letter on our website’s blog. That will begin next week! A special heartfelt thank you to Dr. Lucy Pamment and Heather Douglas! We are so grateful to be able to assist in getting the Compass kids the medical assistance they needed. Now, hopefully, feeling better will increase their ability to learn at school and give them a better quality of life.  Lucy continues to monitor at the school.  She is so dedicated!

So, hope to see you at the Garage Sale and come visit our booth on Saturdays at the Ole Warehouse, too!

Again, we could not do the work we do to help children in Kenya without your support!
Asante Sana!
Holly for Tumaini Afrika

May 2019 Update

Jambo all!

Well we have had lots going on over the past few months! 
The first good news is that our sewing teacher, social worker and school contact for Compass School, Flora, just had a beautiful and healthy baby girl with her partner, Stephen! We wish them all the best!

TA supporter, Carol Colombo-McLean purchased Foldscopes (cardboard flat microscopes) for students in Kenya.  With the assistance of retired Science teachers, Patti Merelaid and Susie Chow, as well as Heather Douglas (Algoma U employee and niece to Lois Shaw who runs our tours to Kenya) Carol, 22 visiting Japanese students,  TA's Cheryl Mireault, Holly Wickett and Judi McLeish, and an AU instructor, the foldscopes were assembled and experimented with, in a Science lab at Algoma University. it is great to have this wonderful partnership with Algoma! The Japanese students added an origami as well as a note in English and Japanese to the kits, for the kids in Kenya! Heather Douglas is over in Kenya right now with some of the kits and the rest will be taken with our next travelling group in February!

While Heather has been in Kenya, she and Flora have spoken with the Member of County Assembly, Henry Kagiri, to see where he is on getting Compass School back to the way it was.  Henry promised to tackle the issues on getting back the semi-permanent classrooms, playground and pit latrines. We are hopeful that this will be done. Special thanks to Heather Douglas for checking into our projects for us!

Welcome to 2 new members to Tumaini Afrika! Sherri Johnson and Linda Mizzi are joining our ranks!

We are so happy to report that funds raised at the Kenyan dinner, and matched by JJ Hilsinger and the Water Tower Inn, have enabled the Mathare Community Outreach program to build two new much needed classrooms! Can't thank all of our supporters and especially JJ, enough  for their generosity and caring. Lots of happy kids and staff have benefitted!! Thanks to Diane Hilderley for coordinating things from this end!
So, our AS Big As An Elephant Garage Sale is coming up on June 8! See the attached poster for details! This is one of our biggest fundraisers, so if you have items to donate or can come to see what we have, we would appreciate it! Thank you to so many of you who have dropped off items already! Call lead Diane Hilderley at 705-759-3418 or respond to this email for more information.

We still have a booth in The Ole Warehouse at 69 Church St. behind the Bushplane Museum! We have changed locations within the room and have some new items for sale! Come see our sister group Sequel's items too, as their funds support refugees in Thailand. Micheline Findlay and her crew have done a great job with this not for profit business.

 As always, we couldn't do the things we do without the support of the community and others from afar!

Asante Sana!
Holly for Tumaini Afrika