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  • Writer's picturePeter Demko

January 11, 2024: Kibera/Nairobi, Kenya

It’s quite late at night here in Nairobi as I send today’s blog of our Seven Hills Global Outreach work in Kenya.  After we visited with the orphans and friends at our Children’s Garden Orphanage yesterday, today was spent meeting with the Kenyon Ministry of Commerce, along with Ministry of Health officials, to discuss the prospects of bringing several hundred Nairobi University students to Seven Hills Foundation in Massachusetts to work at our various clinical locations and programs. However, the highlight of our day was an emotional reunion for me with Mary Adinda, the headmistress of the new Kibera-Bethel primary school embedded within the largest slum on the continent of Africa. I’ve been coming to Kibera to visit this school we support and to see Mary for the past ten years. Last year, the school literally fell, as it was built with rotted wood and metal sheathing. I first met Mary a decade ago, bringing my Clark University students and several Seven Hills staff with me to visit Kenya and to determine what we could do on behalf of the many Kenyan staff of Seven Hills. I was immediately connected to this small school and met a remarkable older woman who had dedicated her life to serving the poorest of the poor children in Kibera. Over the years, we’ve supported Mary and the school with financial contributions I’ve obtained from the many donors with whom I’ve worked. More recently, however, we recognized the need to replace the school structure completely, and in doing so, we had to reach out to more donors and more people who would listen to the story of these children.

 

On a wing and a prayer, we started the effort and only weeks ago were able to fully raise the funds necessary to build a brand-new school, comprised of two floors and eight classrooms, which will eventually educate over 250 children once the school is completed in late February 2024. I hadn’t seen Mary in over a year, and our reunion was joyous. Our team could see firsthand the impact that Seven Hills has made on the lives of thousands of people and, indeed, the hundreds of children served by this new school in the slums of Nairobi. Later this week, we return to meet the children and listen to their dreams about a future involving them committing to attending school and learning as much as they can to move themselves out of the depths of poverty and deprivation.

 

This is an actual labor of love in raising funds, hiring architects from Germany, creating the block system unique to this building, employing local labor, training them to build a large structure, and then committing to the construction within a challenging environment. Thank you to all the donors and friends at Seven Hills, including the staff who contributed and the many businesses I’ve begged money from. Your efforts will change the lives of thousands of children who will engage and participate in this new school over the decades to come.

 

We ended this evening with our entire team, Andy, Tracy, Brian, Patrick, and myself, sharing our pearls on what we experienced today. As always, their pearls were profound and moving, and I’m sure that we will all come back to Massachusetts a bit changed and hopefully a bit more aware of the conditions that billions of people in our world live in.  And, as a result, be more compassionate about those who have so little among us. Our work at Seven Hills Global Outreach is essential to so many people and has continued since our founding as part of Seven Hills Foundation in 2009.  I pray that even as I become older, I will continue this work for decades. And so, from Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, I wish you a beautiful evening.  Tomorrow, we will continue our work!  Enjoy the photos of today, which follow. 

 

—Dr. David A. Jordan


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