14 Kids and Counting

Today was NUTS! thats all I feel like writing.

I’m exhausted and today proved that I may just be in way over my head.  Thank God for Kendall cause honestly I think I’d be crazy to come here and think that I can help this village alone.  Honestly, you tackle one problem and then you realize there are about 14 more that exist.  On a side note though I had such a laugh today walking through the village with Kendal on our way home from a 3 HOUR cast out the demons, women having Jesus seizures Pentecostal Church service.  She went into a speech about how it is here and she is exhausted just doing one thing that can take all day to get done.  I have to video record it and upload it cause it was a perfect rendition of a day in the life of an African village. example: to wash your feet – go walk to well, lift water, pour into bucket, carry bucket to house, transfer water to another bucket, wash feet, go outside return bucket and feet dirty again.  total time taken 35 minutes. Then this one, go to get a few groceries – get dressed, find a motorbike taxi takes 20 mins, sit on motor bike 30 mins, transfer to matatu, wait on matatu till its full 45 mins, drive 60 mins, go through town, go into store, get stuff, pay, go find a matatu, wait till its full, drive, transfer to motorbike total time taken 7 hours (NO JOKE)  nothing here is easy. NOTHING. Make tea, go to well, get bucket, lift water, transfer to another bucket, warm coals, transfer to another bucket….. I think you get the drift.

Well anyway, to get to the point. We had discussed this water project this morning and went over the details and the costs.  It seemed rational to have running clean water for the house and the orphans.  We looked at the costs when the contractor came over and for me to fund this alone was simply expensive. I had to really have them look at their costs and try to bring the expenses down.  We had agreed on a price of $400 to make a simple water line through the house, and this is just a basic line and nowhere near the kind of lines they need for efficient water flow.  So as it goes when I give a green light and hand over some money then action begins and within hours we have the start of the wood being delivered to build the posts to hold the pump and generator.  All is good right? so far… just wait.

trees delivered for the water system

trees delivered for the water system

Next we take the tasks of organizing all the donations.  Now this was totally awesome.  Even when I saw it laid out I was completely overwhelmed by how much everyone actually gave.  We had to take a few hours to really sort through how every child in the orphanage will get something.  Whether it be a pencil, a toothbrush, crayons or whatever… also that the school is equipped to with these resources in supply and putting aside packages to do home visits with some of the families and ensure they receive something and then looking at the stuff that kids that actually have sponsors are getting.  I am telling you it was a a lot of work.  We basically piled it all into sections and we had tasks, Kendal organized the packages for the teachers and a few of the home visits, Francis put aside stuff for the school, I organized the sponsored kids and then we put aside the individual items that all 200 kids will get something of. This in itself was an ordeal but a very good problem to have.  I assure you.

Donations organized

Donations organized

Now just when you have it all organized…. 14 kids and counting.  It comes up that Kendall mentions the show we have back home 19 kid and counting and how crazy it is that this woman has all these kids, well Francis is not shocked and kind of looks at her like and??? so we then find out about the lady next door lady.  14 KIDS! and three of the oldest ages 15, 16 and 17 now also have kids.  Guess where all these kids live…… Well look at this pic (not all kids made the photo)  I wish you could see how they lived.  We took some of the donations like toothbrushes and soap and walked over there.  they live in a house that is made of mud.  The entire house is about the size of a 9×9 bedroom and they all sleep on the dirt floor with no mattresses, blankets, sheets or any stitch of anything.  THEY HAVE NOTHING.  What’s worse is that none of these kids go to school because the parents cannot afford the public school and they can not go to the Orphanage school where we are because they are not orphaned. Now, you have to understand what happens here, Kendall and I just sorted out donations for over 200 kids, We started a water line project for Pamela and Francis and then to boot there is a big discussion over Pinny’s university (Franics and Pamela’s daughter that I have taken as my own) that I will tell you about in a minute.  So walking into this place where we have basically only brought two toothbrushes, a tube of toothpaste, two bars of soap and a hand made dish towel.  I handed it to Kendal and said OMG this is all we have… she is like OMG YA why didn’t we come here first before we opened the donations.  I was like… OMG you give it to them, she is like no way this is just awful you give it to them… so we handed it to Pinny to give them.  And I stand in the corner with my back turned to them and cry.  We were all jammed in the house like sardines.  it was dusty, dark and smelled awful.  16 PEOPLE in this house.  Kendall brought her polariad camera to take photos so she had taken this one for this family.  They loved the little paper picture looking at themselves.  I think that gift was better than any toothbrush or toothpaste.

14 kids and counting

14 kids and counting


16 people live right in  here

16 people live right in here


A poloraid family photo

A poloraid family photo

Here is where the day turns into disaster.  I am haunted by the fact that not one of these kids can afford to go to school and I ask why they can’t come here to the orphan school and Pamela and Francis said that they can’t take just one they would have to take them all and they are not orphans.  I was like SO WHAT.  Take one kid. Take the one with the most potential. In their world of hierarchy as fucking messed up as it is they can’t disrupt their order by taking any of the kids.  I AM FUCKING REALLY REALLY PISSED OFF NOW!


Do you know how much a child needs to attend public school down the street here for one year? $20. that’s grade one and the total by grade 8 is $95 as it increases a bit every year.  JUST $20. A lousy crummy stupid $20 can save one child in that family.  At the most expensive case scenerio to send all their kids ranging from grade 1-8 is probably about $500 and everyone of those kids gets educated to grade 8 and can have a chance at highschool. A CHANCE.  but because they are not orphans they can’t come to this school.  I am dumb founded.  Why am I putting in water lines, giving kids pencils and books and then there is the kids next door that will get NOTHING cause they are not in this system.  So I make an announcement: These children are going to go to school no matter what I have to do and tomorrow I am going over there and talking to their parents about making sure they show up.  I will pay for at least 3 myself.  because that family is the reality of Africa.

but here is the missing part of this story, I will tie in now… As we finish organizing donations before we head over to dooms day family next door, Pinny has just arrived home from University.  Literally just arrived.  As you may have followed my blogs from my last trip Pinny is Francis and Pamela’s daughter and I have become very close to her.  She is 17 and in my heart I feel that this girl is in many ways is my daughter.  I deeply care for her and I think of her as their golden egg.  She is smart and skipped two grades in school.  When I was here last time, Pinny did not receive the government funding to attend universty so Pamela and Francis wanted her to stay home and help with the orphans as education was not going to be possible to pay for.  Well as you may have read, that just did not sit well with me and I took her on a trip to Lamu and showed her life outside Matunda and explained that with her passion to learn french she can have life at the palm of her hands.  I begged and pleaded that she do everything she can to make it to university, to make a long long long story longer..well…  here we are and she is home and I say so when are you going back to write the exams and the a sudden hush hush happens and I immediately put my back up and WTF NOW?

so Pamela goes in some odd circle I don’t understand, Pinny, head down is not making sense either and I am like Francis WTF is happening.  and soooooooooo it begins…. NOTHING HERE IS EASY!  Francis sits me down and explains that they have no money to pay the $600 semester fee and she has been refused her exam writing till her fees are paid.  so, we didn’t know how to tell you this.  YOU DIDNT KNOW HOW TO TELL ME THIS???  are you fucking joking?  you had no problem telling me how much a fucking water line to your house was going to cost and ran out to get the wood to begin in less than 10 minutes.  BUT PINNY HAS NO FUNDS FOR SCHOOL AND YOU DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO TELL ME THIS?

There is no damn ass way in hell I will help put water in a home so you guys can have clean water while the smartest chid I know that actually has a chance to do something with her life will be sitting at home with fucking water (and please people reading this don’t get me wrong, clean water is so important.  It can reduce the amount of Typhoid and hepititis diseases in this village and save lives, but at the same time if kids are not educated this villages will always suffer anyway in many other ways)  So I am a mess.  It’s never just one problem.  Kids have no food, I buy rice, it won’t last, they have water water  but the village does not, Pinny needs $600 but next door they only need $20 for 1 kid and $500 for all 11 kids to go to just elementary school for one year and I really need to find sponsors badly now.  HOW THE HELL DID I TAKE ALL THIS ON?  and poor Kendall is just in absolute dismay cause she can’t make heads or tails of whats right or wrong either.

Now to tie this together… 14 kids in counting all sleep in one room 9×9, no cement floor just dirt, no matteress, running water HAHAHAHAH are you fucking kidding me? food? NOT A CHANCE! and not one of them has ever been educated.  So you wonder why their three oldest at 15 16 and 17 have babies too? OMG.  But let’s bring it back to how I am told that they can’t attend the orphanage school when I flat out ask to please take one child, we will pick the one that has the most potential and please help that family.  But they can’t because it doesn’t work that way for them.

If you are reading this can you even imagine how I am feeling?  I have just been working on installing a running water line, paying for Pinny to finish school and make their life better and yet they have village poverty protocol to follow.  Now I don’t mean to sound harsh, it’s the African mission work bitch in me BUT I SIMPLY SAY to them WELL my friends you can make a choice…. The waterline or your Daughters university expenses.  Cause I can’t fix all these problems in two weeks.  Now you see this was a test. Because they know how I feel about educating the village children. and we were at dead lock.  Francis said that I really made them think in a different way and they never saw it come down to this.  Really, you want water, you want Pinny to go to school and yet you can’t take one child next door?  Well in my world of protocol we can’t always get what we want.  Now, I need you reading to know that I would have made sure that line goes in cause I know how important it is to the village, I would have made sure Pinny went to school but this is an extremely poor village and for the first time I saw that the orphanage has its own poverty heirachy.   It’s mind blowing.  There is never just one problem.

After much intensity in the room I finally said this…… look, I didn’t come here in July and make it an experience and leave.  I hated it.  I was overwhelmed, confused and plain out had a hard time.  BUT I went home and I sat with it and I thought about it every day, and I looked at my own graces in life and I made a decision to take this on.  By myself.  Yes, I started a non profit to help YOU.  yes I asked for donations to HELP YOU and these orphans.  and I came back and with a recruit to boot!  I am 150% committed to helping making sure these kids have a fighting chance.  It really is how I am going to leave my life one day, knowing that something in this world changed for the better cause I was alive!!! Now Pamela and Francis you have to take a look out that window of your house…. you are poor compared to me, you have nothing compared to me but if you look out past this orphanage you do not seem poor to those people that are not orphaned and don’t fit the criteria to come here.  We need to sit down and figure out how every blessing that happens in this orphange, one child or family that is suffering out there benefits as well.  Then Kendall says to them, after seeing that family a while ago as sad as it is to say I can’t even say your poor. and she was RIGHT! and I said, now if I keep bringing volunteers here and we gave you running water, kept looking after these orphans and then walked out the gate to the 14 kids and counting home what do you think people will think?  Yes, when they see just you then this is extreme poverty.  When they see beyond you they see an extreme injustice. So how do we make this work?  then the solution came from Kendall…..

the water line will not be connected to the inside of the house.  The water line will run from the well to the side of the house that has a sanitary cleaning system and tap that is accessible to the entire village.  People will not need to draw from the community well, they will now draw from the community tap that is on their house.  Eventually someday as we raise more funds the pipes will go through the house and directly to the outdoor toilet holes for flushing toilets and a public running shower, maybe someday… but right now the water system is for the entire village not just the orphans.  I’m happy, you happy? and they completely got the point and were very happy.  You see, cause I am committed, I have come this far and I will make sure I finish this to the end and when its all done move on to the next village in the world and start over.  Now, with Pinny, since we pay a home stay fee to them, we agreed that they will put some of those funds to their daughters education, I will take care of the balance of her school fees.  cause they have to care that she goes to school, they have to invest resources too or I shouldn’t have to care about everyone else.  DONE!! I’m happy, you happy?  And finally 14 kids and counting… Their daughter Hilda who has the brightest future will have a chance to come here to orphanage school and be educated and I personally will take care of at least three of the other kids financially at $60 to go to the public school… REALLY why wouldn’t I?  and to be absolutely blunt to you reading this WHY WOULDN’T YOU?  so I’m happy, you happy?

And that’s a day in Africa.  I’m off to bed cause I am just exhausted, depleted, my mind is fried and tomorrow is a new day, and a hospital day of all things.  God knows what happens next!  On a positive note Matucma and Blessings got their donated dolls.  Matchuma also got all new clothes from her sponsor and the joy in these little 2 year olds washes away all the crap that happened all day and quite frankly every day. So maybe you can help make more joyful days here… Please think about sponsoring a child at $25 a month. maybe donate a one time amount? help a village child go to school for a year from $20-$95, how about sustaining rice at $30-$100, maybe help fund the clean water lines at any amount?  If you are moved in any way please reach out and donate through paypal at Rebirth the World one village at a time dorothyguerrayoga@gmail.com


Machuma gets new clothes, look at that smile!

Posted in Africa - Rebirth the World One Village at a Time | Leave a comment

Bubbles for orphans

Seeing these orphaned kids in Kenya scream and laugh for bubbles for hours on end is an amazing joy

Posted in Yoga Birth Method Podcasts | Leave a comment

Just Add Water

Just add water and you will just have it.  Marsha said this to Kendall when they were making chapattis and Kendall asked how much water do you add to the flour to make it perfect. I had to laugh because that was not the answer Kendall was hoping for but it made perfect sense to me.  That’s how it is here really…. Just do whatever and whatever will be.  Sure enough our first day in Matunda is not without adventure and total jaw dropping sights.  However this time, nothing shocks me.  Nothing is even a surprise.  I kind of just have to roll my eyes and go YUP that’s how it is, as I watch Kendall take this world in.  It’s been awesome to see her mix, she’s right in there and involved and part of the family it’s been so amazing. I am so happy she is here and she is a perfect fit.  In fact she has been right up in the cooking with Marsha making chapattis and made her version of guacamole that they love now since my introducing it in July.  Kendall is on some side project of making her own coffee in the next few days as we have to hunt down fresh green coffee beans (lol somewhere????) and she plans to roast them in the fire and crush them in a the bowl.  OMG.  Seriously the whole idea cracks me up.  I think Francis is slightly confused over this project of coffee making but we will see.

Well, I have to say our first day was FULL of crazy adventure. When we arrived we had our awesome welcome with the kids all waiting and singing for us, however we missed most of it because the motor bike guys we used to get us from the bus to the home harassed us for more money, after I already overpaid them to make the journey.  It was an absolute joy to see all these kids again and to see Machuma so much bigger and to scan for the faces that I remembered. I honestly feel like I never left and I truly felt the WOW factor, like somehow someway this has become home.DSC00016

We got all caught up over the happenings in the village over the last 6 months.  We have lost a couple of the kids from illness and one young child drowned in the river.  My finger lady with the massive infection has healed from the prescription I suggested (if you read my journey last time you will hopefully remember her) and now had a healthy baby. We will be doing home visits next week to follow up on the women that received birth kits and see how they were used.

We took Pamela and Francis into Kitale town today which is a 1 hour ride from the village, so the usual getting on the motorbike and then switching to the Matatu and then the fun of matatu adventures, crazy driving, chaos to get anywhere and of course the thrill  of people calling out mazungas as us two white women walked through town.  Town was exhausting today.  It was overwhelming and just seemed like a challenge, we were harassed and people begged us for food left right and centre.  I don’t recall it being so harsh last time.  I had a kid hanging off me to buy him bread, a man begging for us to buy him an egg and even one man brought his daughter over to me and said her mother died and if I could do something for her.  Kendall’s like “do something?”  so, needless to say I almost had a potential adoption child on my hands, thank GOD Pamela showed up and scared the man away, oh and yes he took his kid with him.

The poverty will never stop being a painful thing to see, I was prepared for it this time around but I still had to fight the tears driving to town and taking in the sights. It’s a lot.  It’s hard to digest and hard to ignore.  I know that as much as the last trip really took a toll on me, in the end there is a calling in my soul that brings me here and will continue to bring me here forever.  I think Africa has taken a hold of my heart so tightly that I can’t run even if I tried.  I know that in a brief moment this place grabbed Kendall too because her generosity just in the first day alone has been a huge blessing.  boy sitting on the side of the road

We took Pamela and Francis grocery shopping where we got some luxury staples for the few weeks, like cookies for the kids and instant coffee and hot chocolate.  It’s fun to take them there and just spoil them in the short time that we have here.  I know it’s not sustainable but you know, I don’t care! I want these wonderful kind people who have become my family to have moments of just simple joy. There is nothing in my own life that can compare to that kind of happiness as giving something to them like instant coffee or mixed fruit jam and have them be so excited and thankful.  I swear, my soul just expands at the feeling.  And we haven’t even opened the suitcases yet to show them all the donations.  I think I am going to have a complete meltdown over seeing those kids just have their eyeballs pop out and the way they will sing and dance….

In town, we did the pleasurable task of bargaining for 100 kilos of rice to make sure that the orphans can have one good meal a day. I have to say though that the chicken idea last time worked like a charm.  There are now 65 baby chicks that are on the property from the 6 chickens I had bought in July.  Those chickens will now grow and can be sold for good money that will help with Pinny’s school fees.

We talked about our plans for the next two weeks and we will be doing home visits, Kendall will come to the medical clinic on Monday with me and also be teaching the kids, I will be doing HIV tests again in the village and handing out more birth kits, I am also going to swallow my fear and head to the hospital monday to report for midwife duties,  YES, I am crazy and maybe I will run for the hills…. again, having to deal with the lack of maternity resources and sanitary tools for a safe delivery and the high HIV rate in amnio fluid in childbirth makes me get the creepy crawlies BUT anyway, today I believe I am going.  Check back Monday lol that may change.

The one thing Kendall and I decided to to was provide them with a running water system. Sounds extremely lunatic and expensive but Francis discussed the obstacles and the way it could work and SO WHY NOT TRY!!! Trust me this should be interesting.  and probably costly but we are going to attempt it and see if we can make it happen.  If yu want to pitch in a help fund the water line to the orphanage please donate through the non profit Rebirth the World One Village at a time account the email is dorothyguerrayoga@gmail.com for pay pal and email transfer is the same.

Stay tuned on our journey…

motorbikes to Matatus

Kitale grocery shopping


My little love

My little love

65 new chickens

65 new chickens


Greeting us on arrival

Greeting us on arrival

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Arriving in Kenya

Limuru District Nairobi NairobiThe journey has begun. It has been a crazy 2 days to arrive in Nairobi.  After boarding our plane at Pearson we ended up sitting on the plane for about three hours with no word as to why and how long other than there is something wrong being announced.  Finally after three hours they tell us that they cannot fix the issue and we would have to deplane.  Once we deplane we are then told that there would be no flight and the option was to come back Thursday or to wait in line to see if we could either fly to Europe to find another flight.  Kendall and I choose Europe, as we discuss a wild dream of pizza and wine in Rome we are then told that miraculously the plane is fixed now and we can board.  So no pizza.  bummer.  Instead we get to now go to Ethiopia and spend the day there since we no longer will catch our connecting flight.  Its now 4:00pm when we were suppose to leave at 8:30am.  After a 12 hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethopia we are transported to a hotel for the day.  Flying over Ethiopia looked amazing.  Actually it looked barren and destitute but in a serene kind of way.  You could see the many villages without roads.  Addis Ababa was kind of cool as well.   It was not New York, obviously, in fact it seemed no different than any other polluted and dirty african town except serene.  I actually really liked it.  It has an organized calm that Nairobi and Mombasa do not have.  Dirty yes, poor yes, but in a way that is almost beautiful.  Kendal and I managed to hit the streets and see a little bit.  And of course stock up on Ethiopian coffee grinds to bring home.  Ethopia Addis AbabaAfter another 9 hours of wandering Addis Ababa we are now boarding for Nairobi.

It’s about 3:00am when we arrive and now we have to deal with our luggage, 2 of which are our personal belongings and then another 3 suitcases that are all full of charitable donations.  Now we hope and pray the driver I arrange for shows up.  As we wait outside the airport in fear of mosquitos for an hour and half at 3am, of course, there is no driver!  I had this pick up being monitored right up until we boarded the plane in Ethiopia.  But in good fashion he’s so sorry he had miscommunication. OMG really… 10 emails and two phone calls in the last 6 hours were ALL wrong? Now, we had to do the dreaded find a trusting ride in Nairobi to get us to us hotel.  We find some military guards tell them we have no ride and then they hook us up and we say a prayer get in the car and YES!!! we arrive safe and sound.  All suitcases in tact.

We are exhausted and sleep way past check out and realize there is no way we are making the bus today to Matunda. We hire a driver to take us around to get some bearings, he drove us through the Westgate Area and we were able to see the construction of the mall after the terrorist attacks and he chatted to us a little about the impact that has had.

One we arrive back the strangest thing takes place… Kendall wanted to buy some street art so we venture out on foot through the market towards the way we think we saw it in the car.  After walking through the market insanity and can’t seem to find our way we go back to the hotel to get some directions back to the city core.  The desk clerk is NOT helpful and we are going in verbal circles with her, kind of like a hand circus of directions… you mean this way straight? I point, YES this way straight… she’s pointing in a different direction… BUT your pointing there I am pointing here. YES she says… YES WHAT? so to solve our problem a Nairobian lady is listening and starts laughing and comes u to us and asks us where we are trying to go.  We chatted for awhile and she decided she will drive us herself.  When we get to talking about my non profit work and birth kits she says wait here you have to meet my friend I am going to get her inside.  This other lady comes out and she is the Director of Ripples International they run rescue centres for teenage children that are raped or pregnant and have orphanages for the babies.  They have been conducting meetings on how to manage the births that are happening without medical care for these teenages that are being protected in the rescue centers.   She says they sometimes have to deliver the babies and there is no medical care and there is no education and the births are dirty.  Within minutes, our trip takes a detour.  I am now scheduled to do an educational training workshop on Feb 27 in Meru on the Clean Birth Kits I have brought.  We are now coming back to Nairobi about a week early to be picked up and taken to Meru which is about three hours outside of Nairobi. We will be touring the teen rescue centre, the child orphanage they have, finding ways to create sustainable access to these birth kits by developing a program to have them packaged here by their organization and I will be training the staff on how to use the birth kits in an emergency birth.  I am really excited about this and  just boggled over the fluke of meeting this woman. I have to say thank God for Kendall we walked back to the hotel in the pitch darkness through the crazy market and streets that resemble the 401 without law and order. I was clueless as to our whereabouts, as she said directional challenges. She managed to get us back through the clustered street turns and a dark run across the 401 traffic believe me I was impressed!

Well now, we head to bed to get up at 6am to make the long 8 hour bus ride to Matunda. I am really looking forward to seeing the kids and sharing the donations.  I was really dreading coming here in the last few weeks but for some reason, which I have no clue why, I am seeing a new Kenya, I also feel more at home and an odd sense of tranquility that YES THIS IS what I am meant to do with my life.

I look forward to sharing the coming weeks, all the trial and tribulations of village life. for quick updates and pictures follow my facebook and like the Rebirth the World Page



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Rebirth the World One Village at a Time

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Joyce Meyers conference 2012 Love Life

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Rebirth the World – One Village at a Time

It has been a few weeks since my return and a busy few weeks trying to resume to my regular life.  Honestly, the first coupe of weeks were very difficult for me.  I found it really hard to just come home and talk to everyone about my experience.  Of course, as I had expected, I had a lot of people email me and call me to hear all about my trip.  I found the best way for me to process my month in Kenya and try to get on with my plans for the summer was to isolate myself from people and just surround myself with my family. I even had a hard time reading follow up emails from my home stay family because I just needed time to try and forget for a bit. I managed a small trip to south beach which was much needed but was also a really huge shock to go from a place where people literally suffer day to day to a place where people suffer because of hang overs from all night of partying.

I promised myself that I would not be the person to walk around and profess the poverty of Africa to everyone trying to enjoy their lives here.  It is not my place to reduce peoples standards to that of the village in Kenya.  I think this is where I have been having the hardest time.  Trying to figure out what I am suppose to do with my trip, my memories, my knowledge and my feelings.  I had to decide if after a few weeks I still felt anything at all or if I could just appreciate it for what it was and move on.  The last thought I keep coming back to in my head each night is “Dorothy you were not on a trip, you know exactly what life is like there and you know exactly how you can help that village and those children”

I have been asked this so many times – would yo go back?  I hate the question because it is loaded with so much moral struggle for me then a simple yes and no.  I would love to be able to say N0 and quite frankly, I have no obligations to have to say YES.  The reality is as each day passes and I move further away emotionally and get on with my plans here, I somehow have this underlying knowing within me that it’s not about going back, it’s about doing what I am meant to do, to bridge a gap in whatever way I can with my experience there and my life here.

I feel that as I get ready to head to California to make some headway in my midwifery degree and look at finding clinical placement, it’s also the perfect time for me to spend time in my favorite place (the good place on earth for me).  This is where I can finish putting the pieces together in my life and work on that Goal that I wrote in my first blog on GPS your life.  In that original blog I wrote how Cali is where I decided to take a definite direction in achieving my goals, and  here I am going to Cali right after Africa. Not ever knowing beforehand how much of an impact Africa would have had on my life.

So? Where is all this going?  I can tell you the answer is clear.  I beleive in my work, my ability to tolerate harsh environments (do I like not having hot water and electricity GOD no but I love how it feels to change a life) I believe in my honest and true ability to bring joy to a place where survival is dark and grim. With that I have decided to proceed with my Non Governement Organization – Rebirth the World –  Bettering Lives One Village at a Time.  I will be blogging to you about my 179 orphans that need your help!  You will be able to read about these children, read about what is happening over in the village as I liason with my host family and work to create sponsorship to each of the children. I am dedicated to bringing you the hard core facts of life as a child, life as a woman, and how a new life barely makes it past delivery to you as often as I can.

Here is how you can help me Rebirth the World, One village at a time and of course Matunda being our first village:   I will be looking to provide school funding and food sponsorship at $25 a month for each child and would love to hear from you if you are interested in supporting a child. With your $25 monthly donation a child will receive two meals a day as opposed to the half a cup of beans he or she currently receives, a supply of much needed malaria tablets (that I promise does save their lives) and funding for the teachers that currently do not receive pay due to lack of resources.  They teach in exchange for a meal and a cup of tea. They are the only lifeline to education these children have. I personally will ensure the funds are delivered, food is purchased and teachers are paid.  The reason you can do all this for $25 as opposed to the $60-$80 other major charities ask for monthly is because I am a direct ground link and do not have the overhead costs that other organizations have.  Most large government charities use 90% of your funds to fulfill organization costs and 10% of your funds to actually help children.

Please consider sponsoring a child and I will ensure you receive photos and updates on your child. Going forward you will also be able to help this child any which way you feel best, donating clothes, toys funding their home needs and higher education.  Please contact me if you are interested and I can provide more details as I work to set up this Non Government Organization for info about sponsorship email me at dorothy@birthyogastudio.com  a full prospectus will be put together for September, currently I am building my list of monthly donors. Please make a commitment to sponsor a child, more so be part of this unique ground operating grassroots work that you can put a face to.

I will also be sending more birth kits to the village.  I personally saw how these kits made a difference.  It was extremely heartbreaking to see the conditions women gave birth in and I am 100% committed to ensuring women in Matunda village receive the care they need.

Why not volunteer in Africa?  Have you ever thought about offering your help in Africa?  I will be putting together an opportunity to do a home stay for 3 weeks in Matunda Kenya in winter 2014.  You will be able to meet the kids at Giovanna, help provide meals, teach english, do yoga, help the village and do home visits in the village to learn about the ways of these people and how they survive.  Costs will be discussed in detail and include transfer from Nairobi to Matunda, accommodations and meals.  If you are interested please contact me.  I am able to take 3 people per trip. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference, liaison between sponsors and the children, build relationships and awaken your own life.

Looking forward to hearing from you and blogging on with life!


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Pole pole

“Pole pole” is a term used all day long in Africa. It’s is the same as the Caribbean term don’t worry be happy, or not today maybe tomorrow. In Africa it means slowly, slowly don’t rush. If you had 1 minute to make an important meeting and were running you would be told pole pole by everyone around you. There is nothing that requires rushing or worrying about.
I believe that pole pole only matters in countries where there is never really anything to rush to, no jobs, no stores, no place to show up to. Pole pole in America would 1. Get you fired 2. Have people stop inviting you places 3. Clients not come to your business and 4. Become what we call a “lazy loser”
In Africa I can be pole pole because my responsibilities are all million miles away. Again Africa is for me an emotional divide between what I know life can be like at home such as work work work, appointments, kids events, things that have to get done. And yet we all wish to pole pole all the time. At home we all wish for vacations, get always, holidays, peace, solitude, and other things that take us away from hustle bustle. In Africa many will take whatever comes their way just to survive and work hard while doing it and thank God for a chance to make 50 cents that day. Pole pole is their coping strategy to accept the lack of hustle bustle when opportunities don’t exsist. So they can tell the white man pole pole while in Africa but in America we would say to them go hurry and get a job, what are you waiting for don’t be lazy, go do something!
The bottom line is they don’t have any options. Pole pole is their only way. By the time your done grade 8 here, if you were lucky to have made it that far you have two options help the home with farming and chickens and cows or take a loan for highschool. Most kids don’t go past grade 8 actually more than most of those kids have never even gone to school. Reality is that the percentage that don’t go to school here, lets say 80 percent, is probably the percentage that don’t pay attention in class in America. So pole pole is all they know, to live slowly and patiently and survive with a prayer each morning.
An education here is called luck. It’s so sad. So many mid teens and young adults I have spoken to when I ask do you work, I will hear no I didn’t finish school so it’s not easy for a job. I had no luck to have money for a chance to have an education.
a young boy stalked me in mikandani town where i was staying the last two days with pinnys aunt. today he waited outside the home to give me a picture of an ostrich, he had no job and never finished school. It broke my heart because I was not able to take the picture. The pleading in his eyes for me to take it was deviating. After a month I have learned nothing is free and given in kindness to a white person in Africa. Taking that picture meant giving him money and the many in the village that would soon here the white lady is giving money for pictures. I have regretfully learned which battles I had to support here. And believe me my heart wants to give money for that picture and the socks people sell on the streets and the old cell batteries and other crappy garbage people sell. to us foreigners, this is ridiculous useless junk but to them its survival goods to sell for money. The other night coming home from lamu it was 3am and a man was outside selling glass bowls (the kind my parents had on their coffee tables, ugly junk back then and worse in Africa) but he will sit at his table 24 hours in hopes one gets sold. I thought omg our homeless people in america would never sell garbage for money. That’s to much work. Here most stores are just tree stalls where people sell whatever they find to make a shilling. At home i have been supporting an organization called Kiva.org where I make $25 loans to people in Africa or India to build businesses and it’s been such a reality check to actually see these crazy businesses here that can be opened with the $25 loans. On a side note, with Kiva I get the loan paid back with interest and then relend the money to another applicant and pick the people based on profiles. There are even students asking for university loans and pay back when they graduate and find work. One thing is these people value the opportunities financially and they work hard. These trinket sellers are business owners even at 3am. Hey in a deserted village of poor people you never know someone might need a glass ashtray that looks like an octopus.
Back to my stalker,
I basically left for the airport pushing him out of the taxi with his picture in his hand. All while trying to smile at him. I drove away and I swear that image of this 18 year old boy in torn clothes no shoes and not “lucky” to have an education, with osterich picture in hand will forever be in my head as the sum up of my African trip.
After a month I feel lost as a human here and have started to feel like a bank machine to the poor. Then when I don’t give and walk away I feel less and less human and hate myself for not being their bank machine in the small withdrawals they need.
I am f’in exhausted. Seriously. There is no goodness that i feel in me. The times I didn’t give sit harder in my soul than the feeling of joy for the times is did.
I have left Pinny now and I am trying desperately not to cry. I gave have her the funds to secure her chance at university. I have NOT made other promises or guarantees because those become life lines here and all I can say is pole pole as she moves forward. I am so proud of her change in a short time. When I arrived she wanted to be a nurse. Things also happen for a reason because in our short time together we talked about her passions and her dreams and she realized being a nurse was neither for her. It was only the village way and in village standards a need to have her there looking after the sick. Pinny loves French and had the best marks in French. In lamu we met French girls and the joy she had talking French to them was awesome. So maybe she lost a chance at government paid education but with the fees for her entrance, she has a lucky chance at a degree in French. now that she spoke up about dreams she plans to be a French professor. she wants to teach french and run a french drama school and encourage kids to learn and be creative and inspire kids to dream. A fact: in Africa all the French teachers are foreigners. I honestly believe this girl will make a great big life for herself with a French degree. After she gets in the fees will be huge for a three year degree and student loans are a corrupt process, but as I said to her pole pole and just keep me informed one step at a time.
I am so sad to say goodbye and yet I really need to leave this place for my own sanity. I go home to my own son who now has an opportunity of a lifetime. As a child we watched him play soccer and spoke of his professional career and never once doubted his chances. We never even thought of his “luck” my little man leaves for Mexico the day after I get home to peruse a lifetime opportunity to play professional soccer. He has been invited to play for Toluca a pro team in their development team of under 18’s if he makes it through he will be staying in Mexico where they will give him a full scholarship and a professional contract. This is my son who has so much potential and even though I’m sick to lose him to Mexico I know he has his opportunities and dreams to fullfill. And yet here’s Pinny, pole pole.
Omg i am so emotionally sick to my stomach to leave such sadness and despair and not be able to solidify security for her, only to be going home to give my son the world of chance.
There is so much injustice, inequality, poverty, selfishness and unfairness in this world. All the way from children suffering and animal cruelty to survive.
I can chose to get on the plane, shake it off, head to Miami with my friends enjoy luxury for a few days, take my daughter to California as i try to secure clinical midwifery time there for my own degree and chalk africa up to “wow that was an experience” and never look back.
I came here to fullfill a dream of mine to do mission work. Also to figure out if doctors without borders is really what I want to do with my midwifery degree. As all I can say right now, honestly, is pole pole. I am more confused than before. When we set out to find ourselves I think that’s when we actually get lost, because no one is ever really lost we just are unsettled in our world of abundant choices we have in America. You want to see what being lost really feels like take a trip to Africa! Come to kenya and remove yourself from your luxuries and opportunities. Take that getaway you have been wishing for, I am sure its much needed and probably deserved. I promise in one week you will pray to god to put you back home and gladly take your hardship of everyday struggles working to hard and feeling broke. Compared to the african way our American problems we pay therapists to solve are simply bad jokes. Its Gods freakin sick sense of humour being played out on humanity.
So now, I say goodbye to my African friends and Pole pole to my canadian friends I am on my way hoooooooooome!
P.s my Dad used to say love eachother. Wise words and recall he spent time in Africa escaping the German war in his teens. This land is full of Gods forgotten people but it has all of Gods love in some weird f’d up way.
Much love and peace out!





Posted in Africa - Rebirth the World One Village at a Time, Dorothy Guerra posts on Life - Between Roots and Wings | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lamu life

It’s been a few days since posting and finally I haves chance to capture our time here in Lamu.
This is a really lazy island there is not much to do and extremely hot. It’s been interesting meeting people and it seems that the tourists we meet have all done the same as me; separated themselves from mainland Africa before going home. This is kind if like the detox place. More interesting than the Caribbean but less to do.
Pinny and I did some beach time but for the most part we occupied our time discovering local charities. There are a few NGO’s that operate her in lamu. Three big ones are Aniden that runs the posh orphanage, which by the way, the locals are not fond of the money being pumped into one place when the island people are pretty poor. It’s almost like people believe their kids are better off as orphans. Very twisted!
Then there is another orphange that is mainly Muslim and much smaller scale also managed by a Spanish woman. This orphanage was still nice but not anywhere close to anidan. Another organization is Afrikable. This Spanish NGO has 9 volunteers and run a women’s fair trade centre. They employ 30 Muslims women to make clothes and braceletes and other things to ship back to Spain and sell in a small shop here and while the women work they get a free meal and their children get free schooling. We had dinner last night with the onsite manager thats here for 1 year from Spain last night from the organization and I was so moved over this project.
We met another guy from the Netherlands that’s part of Aflatune organization that teaches kids how to value money from a young age. This is an awesome program for young African kids growing up here in poverty.
Honestly, I feel that I have learned so much here as far as building an NGO and how to sustain it. I look forward making a big change when I get home and redirecting my path for life towards bettering the lives of babies, orphans and villages that deserve a chance.
Pinny and I have had some really neat adventures in our time here.
Our original boat boy home dinner we arranged did not pan out. I started to see some loop holes in his plans so we bailed. However he found us eating in a restaurant and sure enough he made a scene. A big scene with tears about how poor he is and how I promised to meet him. Basically I paid him to go away. He went away crying. I felt so bad. It didnt last long he was back 5 minutes later trying to get me to pay him for a boat trip the next day. Nice theatrics.
We did however make it to a home dinner that the owner of our hotel recommended and that was interesting enough. The man picked us up on donkeys to take is to his house. Fed us and left the table. Not the best host.
This little island has about 10 mosques and the main one preaches the Koran 5 times a day and you can hear it over the loud speakers all over the place and there is no hiding from it, not even in your hotel room.
There is alot of animal sadness here. The donkeys are work animals and people use them to carry heavy blocks of cement to build houses. The other day donkey died right in front of us and was just a small guy. He was exhausted and collapsed. It laid there all night and when we went back in the morning it was still there but dead. I was in tears for a while over that one. I have tried telling locals to give their donkeys water and feed them and mostly they laugh at me. Piny thinks I am crazy crying over animals. Never mind the donkeys the cats here are many and also starving. It’s so sad they cry at your feet in restaurants. I have fed more cats in three days then my dogs in one year.
People fish off the Main Street and you see fish bouncing on the ground to their death. And we watched two massive sting rays die by suffocation. I can tell you choosing to be vegetarian by luxury choice is one thing but to be sick to your stomach when you actually see these animals suffer is another.
The island is polluted. But then again all of Africa is polluted. I don’t understand how people can just throw garbage on the floor or out the window. It honestly makes me mad.
Over the last few days Pinny has been upset because she missed a opportunity to get a scholarship to university. It’s been hard working through that one with her. I am glad we came here, I know for sure this trip has helped her see so many things bigger than a simple life. its been amazing to see her reaction to things i take for granted like waves in the ocean, salt water, scuba divers (that she literally screamed when she saw them it was hilarious) the works of charities, among other firsts. Our time together is winding down and it’s getting really hard to think about it. But I also want to go home. I’m very torn.
Africa will hold a great big piece of my heart and already it’s voice is nagging me to come back. There is so much help needed here and it doesn’t take alot to make small changes. Obviously fixing the political system needs to be a start and I am so glad Obama didnt come to Kenya and made a statement about the political unfairness here. But as for the people they deserve hope and life. I just have to process how my life fits into this big place somehow. While here I picked up a book called eat the rich by pj rourke it’s was written in the 90’s but a great account of why some countries are rich and some are poor. His personal experience in Tanzania was word for word how I see Kenya. I also read a classic African novel called things fall apart, a fictitious account of white Christians entering an old primitive village to change the ways of uneducated village people. That novel left me really moved as the white man did not necessarily make things better for the people. There is a line between our American luxuries and the way people survive here. Finding how to toggle that line so that our ways are not meant to change the people but to make better what they already have is the answer. Now that im leaving In a few days, I wonder, have I made things better or have I left them worse off since they cant access the things I gave without my help long term. I guess that’s how the seed gets planted to have to return










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