People would be surprised to learn that it is not one organization I am working with on this adventure, but two. I have already written briefly about Mama Hope, a fantastic nonprofit based out of San Francisco, but I have only made mention of the non-governmental organization (NGO) on the ground in Kenya.
Our Lady of Perpetual Support for People Living with HIV/AIDS (OLPS) is a registered NGO based in Kisumu, Kenya founded by a former nun, Anastasia Juma. The organization was initially started to help Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) but it has since expanded to a broader mission centering around the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The organization now provides testing, treatment and counseling for people with HIV/AIDS as well as a wide range of support for the orphans of HIV/AIDS, including fostering, adoption, medical services and school fees.
Truly, the scope of this organization is phenomenal.
The partnership between Mama Hope and OLPS started back in 2006 when together they built the Rita Rose Food Security Garden, something that is particularly near and dear to my heart. The food produced in that garden supplements the HIV/AIDS patients nutrition as well as feeding the orphans OLPS houses and sponsors. Any surplus crop goes to the market where the proceeds fund OLPS’s programs.
This year the borehole was drilled to help water that garden, but so much more water came than was ever expected. So the next step of this project is to expand into water kiosks in neighboring communities, giving up to 30,000 more people access to fresh clean water as well as having a garden built at each site (my favorite part of the project). I began to describe this project in far more detail, but this post got much to long so I will save that for a future blog post and you will all have to be on pins and needles in anticipation!
Mama Hope is also partnering with OLPS to build the Rescue Center, a place to house the OVCs as they transition them into more permanent homes. Katrina will be working on that project, the other Advocate that will be stationed in Kisumu with me. As we will be living in the same home, I imagine you will be hearing a lot more about her once I am in Kenya!
On January 14th I will be flying to Kenya to work with OLPS both on the expansion of this water project and on their garden. I am excited to be working with such an extensive and established NGO on the ground. Just 70 days until I fly!