"Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights the way" -Author Unknown

The most common question I get before I go on a trip to visit our projects in Kenya is " What are you going to do on this trip?" or "What do you hope to accomplish?" Many times my answer is that my main goal is to spend time and snuggle with our kiddos, which is actually an important part of my job. I have to be here a certain amount of time, just spending time with them to really see and understand what it is we are doing and what our children really need. It is also one of my favorite things to do on the planet--so it all works out. However, this trip has some very clear objectives that will undoubtably cut into my kiddo play time, but in the end will serve them better.

 Healthcare, or the lack thereof, is a prominent issue in the community of Sirembe--where our Children's Home is located. It is really difficult to tackle any other issues in a community when people are sick and cannot get proper treatment. We had been discussing the possibility of building a health facility in Sirembe for years, but we had to wait for the right time. Last year we put a Medical Committee together (made up of our Board of Directors and some amazing local doctors) and we were ready to take it on in 2014.  I came to Kenya in January with these objectives in mind--finalize the details of our timeline and immediate needs for the clinic, then return home to raise the funds and begin construction. However, we found another opportunity that changed our path.

It came to my attention that the local outpatient clinic in our area had the same vision for their facility as we did for ours, but they did not have access to proper funding. It is a community run clinic that was started by the church in that area, but is now mainly funded by the Kenyan government. This crucial funding is not consistent or reliable, thus their growth has been stunted. This clinic provides vital care to the area, but without proper funding you run out of medications and staff pretty quickly. In the end it is the people of Sirembe that suffer. Despite the constant struggle the community leaders of this clinic did not give up and continued to search for the funds necessary. As a result at the end of 2013 they received a partial grant from the Kenyan government to assist them in building a Maternity Ward.

This came to my attention in January and I began to see an opportunity for a partnership. They already had an outpatient clinic that had been in operation for years that was lacking in consistent medications and staff. We had doctors and donors from the US that were ready and willing to help provide healthcare for this community, but we had to first build a facility.

I set up meetings with the people running the clinic and quickly found that we had similar visions and goals for a health facility. This made sense given that we were both responding to the needs of the community. It seemed silly to build a duplicate facility right down the road, both struggling to find our way when we could come together and see an immediate effect. The ultimate goal was to provide better healthcare for the community of Sirembe and it seemed that this partnership could do just that.

After many meetings and a lot of planning with the clinic leaders in Sirembe I came home to tell our Restore Humanity Medical Committee of our new opportunity and we had to make the final decision on which path to take.  There was a unanimous vote to form this partnership with the local clinic. Everyone agreed that we could accomplish the same objectives without all of the financial burden, which would make the project both have an immediate effect and a greater chance of sustainability.

In February the local clinic began construction on a Maternity Ward with the money they received from the Kenyan government. In early April Restore Humanity was able to send a grant to the clinic to assist them in the construction. The main purpose of this journey to Kenya is to see how our money was spent and if all goes well, I will return to the US in June to raise more money to help complete this project. At the end of this month two of our Restore Humanity Board Members--Joe Fennel (who is also my wonderful father) and Brandon Hurlbut--are coming to join me here in Kenya to help assess the situation and decide the next steps.From the reports I have been given I am extremely optimistic about how this project is coming along, but we will report back once we have seen it for ourselves.

My dad and Brandon have been a part of Restore Humanity since the beginning and I am so excited for them to see the progress of our children's home and spend time with our sweet kiddos. Their feedback and advice about our home and our new undertaking will be vital to our success and I am very thankful that they are coming.

This journey has a clear purpose and our passion for our kiddos is what lights our path. We strive to make their community happier and healthier and we are very grateful for this opportunity to do so. I will keep you all posted throughout our journey and thank you for all of your support along the way!

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