Please help Joel keep the program going. Here's more.
In 2004, Brad Ogilvie organized a group trip to rural Kenya. This trip came as a result of responding to the appeal for support to help "Mama" Wanalo, who was visiting her daughter in Elgin, IL, return to Buchifi Kenya to arrange the funeral events for another of her children who had died of AIDS. Mama and her husband, Pastor Jackson, were in Illinois when Jackson suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital, so Mama had to go to Buchifi, take care of the funeral and return to be with Jackson until he could travel. The fact that this request came to Brad was telling: it passed through the hands of organizations with funds (about $2500), but had not "budgeted" for this. An example of rigid planning not being able to meet the needs of the times.
Four trips later (that include a new community center, roof for a school, and, most importantly, friends for life), we continue to maintain the relations as we struggle together to see the common challenges to stopping the spread of HIV in our respective communities while also challenging ourselves to use our community resourcs to greatest mutual benefit. We have learned that we have much to share, and we face many of the same challenges - prejudice, fear, stigma, politics, and access to testing and treatment. Working together, we can help overcome them. For example, in even the most remote villages, pastors preach condom use to children in church. We have also learned that when we join together, things can change as people's perceptions of homosexuality changed simply because we became friends.
Presently, we have two areas we are focusing on:
- Community-based HIV-education. This takes place at the Buchifi Community Center, in partnership with Forum for AIDS and Community Empowerment, and with our good friend Ojenge. Ojenge lives in nearby Kakamega, has HIV, and shares our passion that we need to stop the spread of HIV.
- Supporting the Orphan Tailoring School. Joel Musindalo is a young man who lost both parents to AIDS by the time he was 15. He has used his tailoring skills to provide for him and his younger siblings. He has turned our initial purchasing of a $70 sewing maching into an orphan tailoring school in nearby Mumias (the closest market town). Periodically, some minimal support from us can help Joel continue to reach out and grow the program.
Joel Musindalo's Tailoring School
Our constant challenge has been to do this work in a way that does not foster dependency, but is a good use of our resources to the greatest good beyond borders and boundaries.
If you would like to support this work specifically, we gladly welcome your support.