Monday, May 31, 2010

Packing the trunks

The trunk is being packed for Zambia! We packed 40 aprons for the new CHW's, 50 nametag badges, 50 oral rehydration spoons, 50 hand-made book marks, 50 HealthEd Connect letter openers, 30 baby-weighing seats, 8 fish scales from Bass-Pro (to weigh the babies in their little seats!), etc. etc. I had just closed the lid and weighed it when we received another email saying we would have more women at the training than I had planned on. So all of the items now need to be increased.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

IRB approval

We received IRB approval today for our research project with the Orphans & Vulnerable Children and Caregivers this summer. Another big item checked off the list!

Coming of Age!

We met with our CPA today to make final plans for independent financial operations. With our own 501(c)3 approval, a donor receipting service, and board approval mechanisms in place, we're ready to set up operations June 1. It has been an incredible plus to have Graceland providing those services for us during our first year of operation. But it's time to assume more of the responsibility ourselves. We're 'growing up'!

Team springs into action for Congo!

We received an email from Congo this morning indicating the 6 ladies we had invited to attend the CHW training in Zambia were eager to come. BUT they didn't have the money needed for visas, passports, transportation, etc. to get there. We, of course, would reimburse them when we arrived but the upfront money wasn't available. By afternoon a team of people had gotten involved, a flurry of emails had crossed back and forth across the Atlantic and money had been wired for travel. I'm sure they are as excited as I am!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To train or not to train..

Another nail-biter email this morning. We still don't know if the Ministry of Health in Zambia will provide training for our healthworkers in Chipulukusu -- and it is scheduled in 3 weeks! Email contact is so frustrating since the Ministry of Health doesn't have internet connection. They have to go to a cybercafe to receive messages. Our good friend Gershom is making personal trips to meet with them but not receiving definitive answers. Yikes!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Uniroyal to bring smiles to Colombia!

Uniroyal sent an email this morning saying they would provide soccer balls for our trip to Colombia. From the dirt fields in Zambia to the barrio sidewalks in Colombia, Uniroyal is bringing smiles and laughter. Thank you Uniroyal!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yeah Jenny!

Ever try to find someone in your hometown that could translate a questionnaire from English to Chibemba? Not easy, trust me! I called a large group in Washington DC that works in Zambia and even they couldn't do it. But we are fortunate to have Jenny, a HealthEd Connect board member, that has that language skill and has volunteered. Now Washington wants a copy of our materials! This research should provide excellent information we can use to design support groups for the OVC's.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


By the speed of email, the Gates Foundation Letter of Inquiry was rejected!! Big Bummer. We apparently didn't fit with their focus area closely enough. We'll keep trying...

Gates Foundation

It was a late night last night but we now have an official Letter of Inquiry filed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hopefully we will get the nod to submit a full proposal. Exciting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Independence Optimist Club

Thanks to the Independence Optimist Club, we were given the opportunity to share the latest HealthEd Connect developments at their lunch meeting today. Great experience to meet with people who share a compassion for kids wherever they might live.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Position Descriptions

Position Descriptions for the Zambian school projects have now been approved by the local Zambian Steering Committee and are in place. Writing them was easy -- figuring out exactly what each officer was to do was the hard part!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Awesome performance!

In a very unbiased opinion (ahem!) Graceland was hands down the best performing team on stage. Obviously the judges liked them too! In the end, Graceland was first runner-up for the finals which means out of the 600 teams that started, they ended up in the top 8!! What a terrific team! The really awesome thing to remember, however, is the tremendous amount of good they contributed to the world through their projects. The schools in Zambia represented only one of the many projects. We felt fortunate to be included! On behalf of Mirriam and the other OVC's, we'd like to say CONGRATULATIONS to an abolutely terrific group that can play duck-duck-goose just as well as they can compete at Nationals!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exciting news!

Our Graceland team won their first round of competition!! Now they are scheduled to compete at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. This all started with over 600 teams from colleges big and small coast to coast and now we're down to the final 20.

What a Team!

HealthEd Connect was front and center in the SIFE presentation today! There was a small video clip of me (Sherri) talking about the team's terrific contributions in Zambia. The video was shot in my might notice who's on my screensaver!

Great start for SIFE team!

The Graceland SIFE team is in Minneapolis this week competing for Nationals. They won their Regional competition and are now at the next big step. Boss Mirriam was featured in their presentation today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Exciting start!

The BIG opening ceremonies were held tonight with a list of CEO's, CFO's, and VP's that sounded like WHO's WHO. WalMart is a major supporter along with Wells Fargo, Campbell's Soup, Schwan's Food, Jack Link's, and a hundred or so others. The adrenalin really pumps with rock-concert volume music blasting!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Love My Bike Notecards

The Love My Bike notecards have arrived! Thanks to Michelle's creativity, Eddison's original art work of his dream bicycle is now packaged and ready to sell. The note Michelle had printed on the back of the card says: "Eddison Banda attends a newly established school for vulnerable children, many of whom have been orphaned by AIDS, in a small community in Zambia, Africa. With few resources, Eddison's community has risen above the ravages of the AIDS epidemic to create the Kasompe Community School of Peace to support the educational, nutritional, and emotional needs of their children. Through small business projects, Eddison and other members of his community fund the school that is the source of hope for a brighter future for these precious children. Eddison thanks you for your purchase. 100% of the proceeds from these cards will directly support his school." If you'd like to help Eddison, just email Sherri at for details about ordering the cards.

School Lunch Thank you

An email this weekend from Evans, the Steering Committee Chairperson, stated:
"We are hereby confirming having received the funds for school feeding programme,
which is great. And I promise that the funds shall be put to good use and it
shall benefit the school children who are the beneficially (sic), so to speak.
Sherri on behalf of the children and the all members of staff, we would like you to
extend our heartfelt happiness to the donors for their good work they are doing." Amen to thanks to the donors!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

School lunch programs

The funds have arrived in Zambia for the school lunch programs. For the huge sum of $.12 per meal, we will now be providing one lunch per week for each of the 350 school children thanks to the generosity of several anonymous donors. We hope to increase the number of lunches soon. I know lots of little tummies will be smiling over this!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Jac and Sherri Kirkpatrick were recently honored with the International Youth Service Award by Community of Christ. Somehow it doesn't seem quite right to be honored for something that has brought such joy and fulfillment in the doing. Be that as it may, we are deeply appreciative of the recognition which specifically mentioned HealthEd Connect.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Just received an email from the secretary of our Chipulukusu School in Zambia. He apologized for not being in touch -- he's had malaria. MALARIA!!! Isn't it time we conquered that miserable disease???