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June Newsletter: Letter from Jill; Trip of a Lifetime; Fund Our Ride; Security in Kenya.
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Letter from the President

Dear Walindwa Supporters,

Last week I once again hopped on a plane and am now in Kenya! I've decided to blog this time and hope to post something for you every day, or at least a few times a week. Here is the link for your quick reference: walindwa.org/june-2014-trip. As always, I plan to keep our social media outlets, such as Facebook, updated as well. On this trip a team of eight people have joined me, made up of Walindwa supporters from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), The Village Church of Rancho Santa Fe and Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church. Using their skill sets, which include teaching and construction, we will start a computer lab for the students at Elma Barnett Children's Centre, Kamonong. Later in our trip we will travel to the Maasai Mara where the team will distribute Talking Bibles www.talkingbibles.org and work with illiterate pastors on how they can use these new tools. We will also be following up with the Maasai Mamas with whom we conducted our solar lantern project in October 2012, in order to evaluate the degree of long-term success achieved by the distribution of the lanterns.

As always, please keep Walindwa in your prayers, especially the team members who are traveling in Kenya.
Together in Christ,
Jill


Jill I. 
Weller
President & CEO
In This Issue
 
Trip of a Lifetime
Scott Weller

I am the older brother of Jill Weller, President of Walindwa, and Jill has asked me to share with you my recent trip to Africa. Last December I lost my job after 27 years. My friends and family assured me this was actually a blessing and encouraged me to take some time to check off some things from my bucket list before returning to work. I received lots of great advice and suggestions on what to do with my time off, however I knew in my heart what I needed to do first… support my sister and her work for Walindwa. I shared my plans to visit the Elma Barnett Children's Center in Kenya (EBCCK) with a good friend, John Hewig, who recommended I pop over to neighboring Tanzania and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Another good friend suggested I solicit sponsors for my climb and raise money to benefit Walindwa and its efforts to protect and nurture children in Kenya. I clearly have really smart and supportive friends!

I flew with my dad and sister into Nairobi, where we split up. I went to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, while Marsh and Jill made the four hour drive on to the Elma Barnett Children's Centre in Kamonong. My climb was difficult but I made it to the 20,000 foot peak in 4-1/2 days. My generous friends and supporters contributed over $11,000 and thanks to these donors the Elma Barnett Children's Centre will be connected to the public electricity grid for the first time. I invite you to see my pictures and read the blog of the entire trip, both Kilimanjaro and EBCCK, at www.welldog1262.wordpress.com.

Climbing Kilimanjaro was definitely the event of a lifetime; however it was the time I spent with my dad and sister, visiting the Children's Centre, that made my trip special. I am so proud of Jill and what she has accomplished with Walindwa. Watching her in action in Kenya and at EBCCK was a sight to behold. She has worked tirelessly to build friendships and relationships in the local community. In fact, anytime we traveled through the town of Eldama Ravine, we had to allow extra time for her to greet her friends along our route.  She has an excellent working relationship with the EBCCK staff and board of directors and has worked with the missionary Roy Stover in the development of a clear vision and priorities for the Centre.

I had preconceived notions about Africa and the Children's Centre.  I expected Hollywood’s version of an African orphanage…sad malnourished children. I couldn't have been more wrong. The children are well nourished and thriving; living in a nurturing environment with great leadership and an abundance of love. Most importantly the children are really, really HAPPY. It's a family atmosphere with the older kids parenting the younger kids. It was fun to watch the young adults work as a team to maintain the farm and school. The staff obviously care about and love the children deeply. Observing Jill interact with the kids and the staff at the Children's Centre was special. She has a deep love and connection with the kids and the kids light up when they see her.

If you have the time and the resources to visit Kenya, I highly recommend you plan your trip today. I assure you it will be a trip of a lifetime.
~ Scott

Fund Our Ride

Jill Weller's blog post of May 13 told the story of how, during her February trip to Kenya, she unexpectedly came across a great vehicle that could help our work at the Children's Centre and in the community of Kamonong. The Walindwa Board agreed to step out in faith and purchase the new-to-us car. We subsequently asked for your help in funding our new ride and are so grateful for the support that you have shown. During this current trip, It's been such a blessing to have a car available. With a team of 8 to ferry around, the Land Cruiser is definitely proving its worth! If you didn't get a chance to read Jill's post the first time, we invite you to click here. To contribute to the fund, you may donate by check or by PayPal.

Security In Kenya

On June 19, the U.S. Department of State updated its warning to U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya, with a focus on northeastern Kenya, the Nairobi area, the coastal counties and the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani. State Department warnings are always taken seriously by Walindwa, but after an assessment of the situation we believe there is no reason for undue concern during our current trip.

While international travel always involves a degree of risk, Walindwa’s work in the Rift Valley of Kenya is far from the hot spots in the country. Although air travel through Nairobi is necessary, we plan our trips to minimize the amount of time spent in the city and to avoid locations that could be targets for either local crime or terrorist actions.  When an overnight stay in Nairobi is required, we carefully choose accommodations in the most secure areas of the city.

As U.S. citizens and Christians in Kenya, team members are extremely vigilant with regard to their personal security, particularly in crowded public places. We use commonsense precautions at all times, such as avoiding crowded transportation venues; visiting businesses and tourist areas only during daylight hours, locking doors and windows of vehicles and lodging facilities. We carry minimal amounts of cash and credit cards, do not wear jewelry which attracts undue attention and strive to always be aware of our surroundings

The U.S. Embassy remains open for normal operations and we always register our trips with STEP – the Safe Traveler Enrollment Program. Although travel can never be guaranteed as 100% safe, we endeavor to prudently assess the conditions for each trip and take responsible actions to minimize the risks. At this time, we look forward to continuing our trips to Kenya and our work in the Rift Valley.

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