Several months ago I started the Adopt-a-Slum initiative after spending a few weeks working with families from the Mathare slum outside Nairobi, Kenya. Having visited in 2011 during my RTW trip, I left with a heavy heart and a desire to find a way to help the kids I met dream of more than a life of poverty, hunger and disease.
While I taught lessons & played games with the kids at Compassion Center No. 755, an organization I’ve been involved with since 2005, one of the most eye opening days of my life was my day in the slum. I went from shack to shack meeting parents who were riddled with disease, forced into a life of destitution in what amounts to little more than a trash heap. It was gut-wrenching and sad, and I left knowing that I just had to do something to help.
I’m happy to say, thanks to your donations, we’ve raised $2,070 to support these families!
While we haven’t quite reached the initial Adopt-a-Slum goal of $3,000, I wanted to share an update on how the money has been used so far.
In June, I sent the first installment of $1,140 that we originally planned to provide as a seed gift for individual families to start their own businesses. However, the staff on the ground at Compassion Center No. 755 determined an even more effective way to help the community NOW.
Voila – check out the new greenhouse!
Here, the families who live in the slum and have no arable land are able to grow produce both to feed their families and to sell. The greenhouse is huge and offers plenty of space for everyone to have a little plot. (And with the additional installment of $$ I’m sending today, they’ll be able to buy more seeds and create and even larger space!)
From the staff at Compassion Center No. 755:
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the gift you sent us, indeed it has changed the face of our project since we are moving toward helping our community come out of poverty through the income that shall be generated from the project.
We decided to start up a greenhouse to plant variety of food stuff so as to support the families in our project e.g. those in Mathare slum.
The church gave us a piece of land to do the farming and we are grateful to God. We decided to start with tomatoes in the green house and in the outside we are still preparing the farm so as to plant potatoes and sukumawiki.
The project is so encouraged, everybody is happy about it. May the Lord bless you abundantly.”
I admit, I cried when I read the email. Your donations, big and small, went directly to these people and now they’re EATING because of YOU. That is no small wonder and I will always be so grateful to you for your help!
If this is your first time learning about Adopt-a-Slum, or if you’ve been putting off your donation, now would be a great time to contribute to the cause. We have less than $1,000 left to reach our goal of helping these sweet children and their parents to rise out of hunger and poverty.
I’ve done several interviews in the last few weeks and have been asked over and over why I think it’s important to help, so here’s my attempt to explain.
At the heart of the travel experience, beyond the rapture of new sights, tastes and sounds, is a world full of real people just scratching out an existence. Travel, more than anything else, has opened my eyes to my own insignificance. There’s so much more going on in the world than the series finale of my favorite show or the latest gadgets or which Kardashian is hooking up with which pro-athlete.
Visiting places like the slums in Kenya or the sewers in Bolivia remind me that my own personal fulfillment is not all that important in the grand scheme of things. And the grand scheme of things is something I always aspire to focus on, more than the piddling day-to-day.
The bottom line is – raising a few grand here and there to help out is the least I can do, after all my travels have done for me.
Thanks for reading & donating & helping to spread the word!