First Day in the Field

Trip Start Mar 04, 2011
Trip End Mar 19, 2011

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Flag of Kenya  ,
Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday we visited Upako Center, which was about a 40-minute drive from our hotel. Upako was founded with 11 students in 2005 by Pastor Francis Odhiambo.  Today he has 127 students, which includes 37 orphans.  The orphans all stay in Pastor Francis' home.  The students are students in up to grade six. The teachers are all volunteers and Pastor Francis himself lives by faith.

When we arrived the children were assembled in an outside courtyard, singing and waiting for us to arrive.  We sat in the courtyard with them, while the teachers introduced themselves. Then it was our turn to introduce ourselves to the students.  When we finished, team member Dorothy read the children a book about the story of creation, while four other team members positioned themselves so the children could see the book's wonderful artwork.  We left five copies of the book, which Dorothy cut and laminated, for the teachers to use

Then it was time to break out into our teams, which included a Bible team, sports, three crafts teams and an academic team. Our plan was to divide the children into six groups and for each team to spend 30 minutes with each group.  Our teams had prepared ahead of time and had crafts, lessons, games and props to use in their work.  It was a great system.

Each team distinguished itself in spirit and preparation and the Center teachers assisted by translating when needed.  Barb Thompson headed our crafts team (Carol Donnelly, Cathi Book, and Evangeline Dempster) and found three wonderful yet simple crafts to do with each child.  Gwen Kelley led the Bible team (Sheran White and Krista Frederick) as they focused on the story of David and Goliath. 

Cheryl Bradbury's sports team (Rick Cotter, Dana Slavic, Hannah Thompson and Donna Sims-Reed) was in the hot sun for four hours as they led the children in volleyball (with no net), relay races and other fun activities.  The academic team (Dale Harper, Carla Bailey and Verdeen Edmonson), led by Karla Byrd, presented some lessons to the students on the solar system and American history. (Pastor Stanko did nothing but walk around and take pictures, in case you are wondering.)

At the end of the day, Pastor Stanko presented $1,000 cash to the Center for their feeding program from his ministry's Sophia Fund, and then the team presented nine of our duffel bags, filled with shoes, toys, books and games.  Prior to that, Pastor Francis showed some of the team the one locked cabinet that holds the supplies our team brought in 2010.  It was painful to think that this one small cabinet held all the supplies Upako Center had for 127 children.

Everyone was pumped up on the way home, commenting on how patient and well-behaved the children were, but also how much children are alike no matter where you go in the world.  After some rest at the hotel, the team went to the Tamarind seafood restaurant not far from the Hilton where everyone enjoyed a memorable meal.  Tomorrow it's off to the Each One Touch One Orphanage with a quick stop to see their latest project, Operation Chicken Coop, funded through Dr. Stanko's ministry.

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dianascimone on

Hi Hannah,

So glad you are on this team! The kids you visit are really going to love meeting someone their own age. What a great experience for them and for you. We're proud of you for taking this long trip!

Diana (Pastor John's wife's sister)
PS: Hi to John, Evangeline, and Karla!

Lynne Bogolin on

Wonderful pictures! I'm so glad your first day went so well and you brought such joy to the children. Praying for a restful night for all. God bless you!
Hannah, it looks like you are having a great time sharing with the kids.

Ellen A. Sandidge on

Have a great time and enjoy the beauty of Africa and the culture of the people. Did you realize that Kenya is a much older country that the United States? Meeting people from other countries is one of my favorite things to do. I like to learn about how they live and I am always excited to see how much we have in common when we seem so different on the outside. Have a wonderful time!

Marge OF CUBM on

This is truly amazing. My heart is overjoyed with the information,pictures, and videos being shared. You make it all appear to be easy, but I know it is hard work, but a work that comes from love. We miss you and say continue on in the Lord.
Hi Hannah, You do not know who I am, but I want you to know that God loves you
and has purpose for you, in that you are able to experience these life changing events.
Blessings to all

Rev. Amoh on

We are praying God will reward all of you in every endeavor. May His grace be upon you.

Shawna on

Hi Hannah! I love reading about what you are doing in Kenya! What an amazing opportunity to serve the Lord! Have fun and tell your mom 'hello' from me, too! With love~

Krista Mueller on

Hi guys!
I'm so excited for all of you and what you are doing. I'm praying for you and cannot wait to hear stories about how these children and people touched your hearts. love you all and we will see you soon.


Mary D. on

I love the children's faces after doing the Jesus Craft. They just are so happy and innocent. Absolutely adorable. Carol D.- it would be nice to see you in a picture.

June Lloyd on

Hi Hannah,
So glad you are having this op to serve Jesus. Say hi to my friend Donna Sims Reed . OIur Bible Study is praying for her. I look forward to meeting you.
Do you know my grandson Remi Burns? Please pray for him as we need a God blessed school placement for him. In Christ

George Lautner on

Hi Hannah
You dont know me, but Dr. John and Karla do, I just wanted you to know how pleased I am that you are giving of your time to serve Jesus.I know what a wonderful time you are having meeting all of your new friends. Please know that I will continue to pray for you , and give thanks for your excellent work. Take care of the the adults while you are there , keep their spirits high and focused on Jesus. God's bless you Hannah , have a wonderful time in Kenya. By the way my daughter shares your name so I am already very fond of you and will be keeping tabs on you and my friends through the next several weeks.

Marcia Merryman on

So happy to hear that the visit to Upako was such a blessing to the children there. The heat of the day brings memories of last year's time at Upako.
Looking forward to hearing about the chicken farm visit tomorrow.

Sherry Steele on

I just got back to a working computer and caught up on all you are doing I am a friend of Cheryl and Dorothy and wish I was there with you. Keep up the good work of blessing these kids and families. Love seeing the games you are doing with them. Maybe next year for me! Tell the Beam family that the folks at East Liberty Family Health Care send their love and prayers.

Lydia Cotter on

Rick Cotter is my father-in-law and i come from South Africa, I am so glad that he is on this team and seeing first hand some of the things that I have experienced in my life. We often talk about life in Africa, but I think this trip will make it even more easy and real easy to talk about the hardships that the people back home face. May god bless you all as you go about your work sharing His love with the people of my Continent.

Marissa on

This is amazing!! I feel like we can travel with you and share your joy as you reach out to the people of Kenya!! THANK YOU for your work!! We love you!

P.S.-Dorothy Martin, you're beautiful, as ALWAYS!!

Marissa Sherrill

Ben, Lauren & Pace on

Hi Hannah, You don't know me... Oh wait a minute. Maybe you do since I'm your brother! We're so glad that you're over there and hope you're taking really good notes about everything you're experiencing. We can't wait to connect with you about it when you get back. How are the SPORTS going?!! (Your nephew says hello). Lots of love!!!

Karen Lupinetti on

Dear Hannah,

We in your mom's Wednesday bible study have been supporting you and the whole team in prayer since your decision to go to Kenya. It is amazing to hear the goings on while we back here just trying to imagine your experiences. I know you will have a lot to share with everyone about the children you have met. Keeping on loving them so they can see God's great example of love in you. Say hi to your mom. Love and prayers to you all.

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