Blog

Meet Sandra Cherop Were

November 7, 2013 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Hard-working
Welcoming
Loving
Leader

Meet Sandra Cherop

Sandra and I bonded right away when I was in Kenya for one month last year. Why? I carried her on my back from the medical clinic to the Children’s Home. She was so ill with malaria she couldn’t make the two-kilometer walk.

From that point on, we were good friends. And I think we would both agree that saying goodbye last year was difficult.

Sandra and Colleen

(more…)

Educate a Community: South Sudan History

October 17, 2013 by dianahom

Plane

We drove out to an open field to see a war plane. I honestly didn’t know why we were doing that or what to expect. The car was parked on the dirt road and all of us climbed out. I followed our Sudanese friends through the dry field and started to recognize remnants of a plane in the distance. The colors it was painted camouflaged itself in the tall dry grass. When we got to the plane, we all began to examine it, climb on it and talk about it.

How did it get here? (more…)

Meet Mercy Chelimo

October 10, 2013 by dianahom

By, Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Merciful
Compassionate
Attentive
Sincere

Meet Mercy Chelimo

KK-065 Mercy Chelimo 1 (web)

I think God must have divinely inspired her mother and father when they selected a name for their daughter. I can’t think of a more fitting name. Mercy’s eyes exude just that, a spirit of mercy and compassion. And if you make eye contact with her or tell her a joke or do something to get her to smile, you will see her face light up the entire room. Chelimo is her Kalenjin tribal name which means “born when taking the cows from being fed”. (more…)

Educate a Community: History of D.R. Congo

October 3, 2013 by dianahom

I learned this saying in history classes throughout my school days as a child and into college: “Those who don’t learn the past are doomed to repeat it.” There are some great events and people in the past we learn about and want to repeat or emulate, but, there are also events and people we learn of that we don’t want to be influenced by. It wasn’t until I stood on the very soil where millions of people were killed that the wise saying I learned sank in.

My colleagues and I had a layover in Kigali, Rwanda, on our way to Bukavu, D.R. Congo, to visit ELI’s school. Micah and I decided to take the short drive to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. To be honest, I didn’t know much about what had happened in Rwanda and why so many people were massacred in 1994. As I stood looking at the mass graves below, I couldn’t believe that it all happened when I was 11 years old! Genocide happens in my lifetime? I was shocked! I thought that was something of the past like when I learned about the Holocaust in world history classes. Even that seemed far removed even though it happened during the time period when my grandparents were born.

Mass graves located at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial

Mass graves located at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial

What caused this modern day genocide and why was it hitting me so hard? (more…)

Meet Stellah Jepchirchir

October 2, 2013 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Faithful.
Eager.
Determined.
Thoughtful.

Meet Stellah Jepchirchir.

KK-059 Stellah Jepchirchir (1) web

Stellah’s mom died when she was seven months old in a motor accident.

Her father’s identity is unknown so her Aunt Margaret took over her care. Stellah knew her Aunt Margaret as mom.

When Stellah was six, she was told to pack a bag for boarding school, which is very common in Kenya. She was excited for the opportunity to go to school! Stellah didn’t realize she was going to a Children’s Home until she saw all the kids welcome her at the gate. (more…)

Inevitable Transformation

September 26, 2013 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Children's Home Welcome

Multiple times over the last year people have asked me what I did last summer in Kenya and then of course what I will be doing in the year ahead.  I usually explain that part of my job will be spending time with the orphans at the Children’s Home in Kipkaren – helping them with English, with homework, and just spending one on one time getting to know them.

I say “I’ll be living with 100 orphans” like its no big deal, as though the word orphan has become a part of my every day vocabulary.

When I catch myself saying orphan so nonchalantly, I’m often shaken back into reality when I see the reaction of those I tell.

You mean they are all orphans?

Yes.

You mean both of their parents are dead?

Yes.

You mean they were left abandoned and unattended and didn’t have anyone to take care of them?

Yes.

 

I see the look on your face, as you try to process what that means. (more…)

Educate a Community: South Sudan Location

September 19, 2013 by dianahom

South Sudan Map 3 Kolmarek (web)

Our team of 8 boarded onto the small plane and took up every seat available to fly into South Sudan. We packed lightly as the plane could only hold a limited amount of weight. As the plane sped down the runway, I had no idea what was ahead of us. I was warned that it would be hot, but, I didn’t realize there would be no reprieve from the hot sun. As we flew over the land, I saw that it was flat, dry and held very few trees and plants. As the time went by and the more I looked out the window, I realized we were far from any comforts of modern civilization and in the middle of “nowhere”. (more…)

Educate a Community: Strategically in a Slum

September 5, 2013 by dianahom

 

Map of DRC Bukavu

Bukavu is a city in the Southern Kivu province in D.R. Congo (DRC). It shares a border with Rwanda and has been plagued by war for many years; a war caused by various groups trying to gain power, territory and protect its own interests. To this day there is still instability within the country and tensions run high. Within Bukavu, there are several zones; one of those zones is Keredi, and that is where ELI’s school is located. (more…)

Back To School

August 30, 2013 by dianahom

back_to_school_2013

We are looking for more sponsors to support the children in our schools in Africa. We are about half-way there to fully sponsor the children. As families across the nation and world start shopping to go back to school, please remember the children in our schools who are also going back to school.

$30 will pay for 3 children in a slum in DR Congo or village in South Sudan to attend ELI’s schools for one month.

Educating children will educate the community. These children take what they have learned back home and teach their families. Receiving an education also increases their future earning potential by 10-20% thus helping their future and their future family. Worldwide it is proven that education helps break the cycle of poverty within generations as children learn about hygiene and how to better take care of themselves, girls learn about motherhood and other life skills are learned.

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The Tallest Flag

August 28, 2013 by Micah Albert

Tallest Flag

 

The sound of the plane was deafening and terrifyingly familiar. Though they never knew for sure where it came from or where it was going next, one thing was certain: when the Antanov airplane from Northern Sudan flies overhead, it could be the last sound you ever hear. People were about to die.

For 23 years, the people of South Sudan lived an anxious existence. Years of concern for your own survival and that of your family’s survival developed more ulcers than farms. There is no time or place to cultivate the land when a war is at your door. Life became a nomadic existence where you prayed to see the next day and where you were fortunate if you had a big enough hole in the ground to hide in.

Fighting continues along some of the North and South borders, but the civil war that raged for decades has come to an end. July 9, 2011 brought hundreds of thousands to the newly constructed “Freedom Square” in the temporary capital city of Juba, South Sudan. Front and center in the square is a massive array of flags from around the world. In the middle, however, there was a new pole that rose higher than the rest. It would become the tallest flag, the flag of the new South Sudan. When the flag went up, people fell down. Ambulances were at the waiting as many people, so overwhelmed by the reality of independence and what the potential of freedom could mean, had their knees buckle, fainting from the combination of heat, anticipation, memories of the past, hopes for the future and just sheer joy.

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