TDA Foundation Donation in Nairobi
On our rest day in Nairobi we held our third bike donation ceremony of the tour. Rebecca Cherono of the Great Rift Valley Development Agency (GRVDA) was there to help organize things. In total we donated 60 bikes to 3 different organizations around Nairobi. The GRVDA is a wonderful group of people whose main focus is educating people about the resources and services available to them from the government and helping them to understand the process to access those resources. The Kenyan Government earmarks money each year to be used for community development but it often goes unused and winds up being redirected towards other needs (or someone's pocket!). GRVDA is helping to change this through its education programs. Spend a few minutes with Rebecca and you'll be amazed at the way such a simple program has changed lives in Nairobi.
At the donation ceremony, twenty five bikes went to Arrow Web Hospital, represented at the ceremony by Bramuel S.J., Project coordinator for the hospital. Arrow Web is a small private hospital founded by Bramuel and two friends in 2005 to provide medical care and outreach services to the underserved populations in the Soweto/Kayole slums of Nairobi. This was the second time we've donated bikes to Arrow Web, who will give the bikes to health outreach volunteers who travel around the community providing health education and carrying medicine to those who can not travel to the hospital. The outreach volunteers also act as the eyes and ears of the hospital, watching for disease outbreaks and other health issues that may arise and reporting back to the staff at Arrow Web. I had the opportunity to visit the hospital this year and though there are very understaffed and under resourced, I was impressed at the level of care they are able to provide and the number of patients the see in a week (more that 1500!). More about my visit to Arrow web in another blog.
Twenty bikes went to Maji Mazuri School and Orphanage run by a small group of dedicated teachers and represented at the ceremony by Wanjiku Keronyo, program director for the school. I visited the school last year and was impressed at the work going on there. They house about 100 children and teach another 150 or so that walk to the school each day. The school is surrounded by gardens and fields growing much of the food served at the school. In the school barns are every kind of farm animal you can imagine: geese, rabbits, chickens, cows, horses etc… all providing valuable inputs to keep the school running. This year they've even added a biogas system do do the cooking in the kitchen! The bikes we donated to Maji Mazuri are used by the teacher for errands and travels back and forth from Nairobi (30 kms one way) and by the children to get to and from school. Even though close to Nairobi the school is in a rural area and transport is very difficult. The teachers are especially sensitive to the need for young girls to learn to cycle, something that is not too common in Kenya, so many of the bikes will go to the girls at the school.
The third group we donated to this year was Vijiji Children's Home. We donated 15 children’s bikes to the home. Some of the bikes were small bikes for very young children and others were for older kids.
The ceremony started with a some wonderful singing and dancing from the girls at Madji Mazuri. Traditional Maasai songs and poems about national pride and empowerment were recited. There were several riders present: Bram and Bram, Chris Fenar and Lindsey had all fundraised to make this donation possible and they did the official 'handing off' of the bikes. The ceremony closed with another round of songs from the girls. The event itself was short and sweet, but the impact of those bikes will be long lasting.