HOPE Youth Corps Serve the Makindu Community and Children at Kenyatta National Hospital Cancer Ward

A vibrant team of 28 volunteers represented this year’s HOPE Youth Corps (HYC) from diverse backgrounds around the globe, including a team of 8 local volunteers. The team arrived in Makindu town on the 25th July 2016 and their long flight and late arrivals didn’t deter their course. The Makindu community was in for a pleasant surprise. The activities were planned in advance by the HOPE worldwide Kenya (HWWK) team and most especially the site office staff in Makindu. After their orientation on arrival, the subsequent three days were a bee-hive of activities as the team got down to work.

The team making bricks in Makindu for house construction

The HWWK’s children’s program in Makindu aims at providing medical, nutrition, education, shelter, psychosocial, legal protection, HIV testing and treatment and vocational skills training for the older Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). The HYC volunteers concentrated on two key areas of support; shelter and nutrition. Most homes in rural Kenya are made of brick walls and iron sheet roofing and the volunteers were providing their invaluable time and energy in making the bricks and constructing the houses for the OVCs. As clay is precious in a potter’s hand so was the red brick mud in the hands of these volunteers. The pounding of nails, cracking of timber and stepping on the mixture amidst laughter and excitement depicted the selfless giving by the Team who by the third day had put up 3 houses, demolished 3 and constructed an additional goat shed and a bed. Sound advice from the area’s agricultural officer, came in handy to help the team as they prepared kitchen gardens in sacks and planted kales and spinach that would provide a year’s supply of vegetables for at least 3 families per sack. The community continuously expressed their gratitude to the team as the team continued to meet their needs by donating more items including sanitary towels with a full year supply for the girls and a half supply for the women. The girls would now not have to miss school during their menstrual cycles.

The Team stands near a model of the Kenyatta National Hospital where they served.

The team spent their second week at the Kenyatta National Hospital Children’s cancer wards and pediatric units. The team rolled up their sleeves to ensure the storage lockers where the patients kept their belongings was spotless, the plastic seats, sinks, windows and walls were sparkling clean to ensure the patients enjoy a clean surrounding during their admission. The children were full of joy despite their ill health as they played, jumped up to be carried, stretched out their hands to be touched, sang for, draw and painted. A memory they would keep for a long time. Laughter is the best medicine, and the children’s laughter through this visit would provide some healing. The team also interacted with the parents/ guardians who were grateful to have someone with a listening ear. Some of the children stay in hospital for a long period and the visit provided a time to share what they go through knowing that a problem shared is half solved. “We are very grateful for all your help. The children experience a lot of pain and whenever they see us in uniform they associate our attire with injections which inflict pain, so we are happy when other people come over, it means the world to them,’’ said Eliza the senior nurse.

Play time with the Children in Mukuru

The Team also donated play items to the children, health packs and syringes to the hospital. The two weeks seemed to go by faster than other days. A trip to Mukuru informal settlement where HWWK implemented its programs was also a highlight of the entire experience. A farewell banquet was the climax of the entire experience and together with the HWWK planning team celebrated their success. The Team served without reservations and left a mark that would last for a long time in the places they visited.

We wish the entire team seasons of refreshment even as they have refreshed others.