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Preparing for the Art Camp

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Part of my position here in Nairobi is to assist in planning The Diaspora of Hope art camp in the settlements of Mathare. We will hold the camp at the end of November and into December but it was only in the last 3 weeks that we began to look for ways to fund the camp. At first this daunting task of finding enough money to house, feed, and purchase supplies for the 80 children and 20 volunteers we are planning to take. We began by contacting local churches however this only resulted in a small amount of money. We decided then to calculate how much money it would cost to send each child to this camp, in hopes that asking people to just sponsor one child to attend would personalize the giving process and allow people to give even if it was just a small amount. Between Moses (in charge of the Inspiration Center in Mathare) and Gideon (the head of CTM) and I we each began to share the vision and barriers of this art camp with people we knew. As emails were sent, phone calls made, and conversations shared it was truly amazing how the money just fell into our laps. In 2 weeks time it seemed like each day I was hearing of more people who had decided to contribute and give to the children and the camp. People seemed to respond so well to the idea that by only giving $15.00’s they would be able to send one child to a 5 day camp and so in the end raising funds was not so much of an obstacle! Now, however, there is another serious obstacle because we have yet to find a place to have the camp, which is a big concern since this camp is less than 2 weeks away!

So yesterday Moses and I agreed that we would find a place to go once and for all! We were on a mission on Wednesday which first led us to the Tumaini Orphanage in Kikuyu. I am realizing that Kenyans use lots of not verbal communication, which is how the head of this orphanage has been trying to “talk” to us and we just haven’t been understanding the message. But after traveling all the way there for the second time to talk with this woman about the option of hosting the art camp at the orphanage and not finding her there, again, for the second time- we finally got the message she is trying to send. So after this we walked back down the hill with our dignity over our shoulder to explore the more exciting and perhaps more complicated option… MOMBASA!

Moses has a friend who owns a bus and so we went to negotiate how much it would cost to use this bus for an entire week and believe it or not our succession of failures is coming to a close! We have now gotten a bus to drive all the children both ways and have use of the bus in Mombasa for a very low price! I still cannot believe we are planning to go to Mombasa. It felt surreal and weird that Moses and I were making all of these huge decisions at the drop of a hat, only consulting one another to decide the location of where to go! Mombasa is a very beautiful place on the coast of Kenya, about 6 hours away, where all the tourists go. I highly doubt any of our children in Mathare, however, have ever been to Mombasa or even dreamed that this would be the exotic location of our art camp… SURPRISE! Tomorrow we will start spreading the word slowly, first to the volunteer artists at the meeting tomorrow night and then to the children on Saturday! I cannot wait to see these kids faces when we tell them the news that they will do art classes each morning and then we head to the beach or other touristy things in the afternoon.

Tomorrow night I am going on a bit of an adventure though to scout out our location to host the camp in Mombasa… our 2 location options are the Mombasa Lutheran Parish or Rise and Shine Primary School. I will pack my bag tomorrow afternoon and after our artists meeting Moses and I have 2 tickets on an over-night bus to Mombasa! Hopefully I get some sleep that night and then on Friday we will run around the town to find the best option. Ack- we have options!! Then Friday night we will be spending the night at his friend’s place before returning to tell the kids our good news on Saturday afternoon! I am leaving the painting class in the good hands of some of the teenagers at the Inspiration Center so hopefully they will do ok.

This opportunity to take the children to the ocean is even better than I thought. Now you could just pray that God provides the best place for hosting the camp!