Even though Kenyans typically say, "We are fine, good, we get by", the Hartmann Dadas Karen and Mary were overwhelmed with the need for school supplies on their "safari" visit in March of 2010. They befriended their driver, Joseph, who graciously took them off track to visit the schools where his children attended. They discovered that there was a great need for school supplies, such as books, pencils paper and teaching aids. So when the Dadas returned home, with great passion they began a massive campaign to gather supplies by telling everyone they know about their experience – family, friends, and socially-minded members of their communities from Fort Collins, CO to Peoria, IL.
They expanded their grass-roots gathering efforts by approaching public school system leaders, holding garage sales, scouting out thrift stores, and asking daycare centers for donations. When the donations started pouring in, Karen sought assistance from Help International (based in Loveland, CO) to store what wouldn’t fit in her garage and also make plans to ship the supplies to Kenya in a large container that would arrive directly at the door of the Gilesther Prep School, coinciding the March, 2011 visit. It was filled with pens, pencils, lined paper, soccer balls, rubber balls, hand pumps, disks, chalkboards, clothes, and books galore. A major celebration was planned upon opening the container.
Arrival in Kenya – March, 2011
It was amazing to see that even when we arrived empty handed a week earlier all of the children run up to the bus as we pulled in and ran along side with huge smiles on their faces. They sang songs for us in their classrooms, wanted to touch our white skin and feel our hair. Very happy, grateful children, just for our visit, not for what we brought. They had no idea of what was coming.
NEXT — The Schools