Thursday, February 25, 2016

Leaps and Bounds

One step at a time

Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other to make it through life.  It's amazing how far, however, one step at a time will take you!  The Chipulukusu Young Peace Maker Community School is an excellent example.  It started 7 years ago as a one-room school house in a church building and today boasts 9 state-of-the-art classrooms, a library, an office, and a constantly used Kafwa Center.  The lives of 364 orphans and vulnerable children are being impacted daily in a conducive learning environment.  The kids are now past slow steps and are taking life in leaps and bounds!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Special Valentine's wishes are coming to you from this cutie in Zamtan.  Her mother, Christine, is a devoted Kafwa who spends many hours serving the community.  This little Valentine's dress was most likely previously enjoyed by some little girl in the U.S., compressed into a clothing bundle, shipped to Africa, and purchased by Christine in a street stall.  What a wonderful way to repurpose items in the stream of life! 

The Zambia team (Jac and Sherri Kirkpatrick, Mike Keeble, and Lauren Hall) arrived back on U.S. soil Friday evening after being in transit 40 hours (Ndola Zambia to Jo'burg South Africa, to London, to Chicago, to Kansas City)!  Great trip but always good to be home.

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at HealthEd Connect! 

Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
Co-founder & President 
HealthEd Connect
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050
816 519 4925

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Missing Edith

Edith holding Violet in 2011
We were sad to learn last week that our friend, Edith, passed away.

We first met Edith 5 years ago when she assumed responsibilities to raise her grandchildren, Violet, and Bwaya.   In addition, Edith cared for a "mentally ill" sister who came from the village. At that time Edith was having problems with her legs and unable to walk.  The Kafwa visited her regularly, assisted her with gardening, and literally got her back on her feet.  She said their visits "Bring me strength."

Edith had a tough life.  Her father died in a mine disaster and her husband passed away in 1994.  Edith herself went to school through the 4th grade and was determined her grandchildren were going to go even farther.  The last time we saw Edith she was an enthusiastic participant at the PTA meeting. 

Edith's story is not unlike thousands of grandmothers throughout Africa.  Incredibly resilient heroes raising grandchildren against all odds.  

Leading the way

What a treat to follow the Zamtan Kafwa into the homes of the clients they care for weekly!  Over the years we've  become good friends with one in particular, Sophie,  an elderly woman who suffered a stroke some time ago and has come to rely heavily on the Kafwa.  We always look forward to visiting Sophie when we're in Zamtan. It's like following celebrities when you're included in the Kafwa entourage.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Treasurer's work

Isaih hard at work
Isaih has been championing the school programs in Kasompe since day one.  As treasurer for the school, his bookkeeping skills have been a huge asset.

So what does a School Treasurer do in Zambia?

  • Keep track of expenditures
  • Withdraw funds from the bank to run the school
  • Pay the teachers
  • Purchase and transport food for the school meals
  • Negotiate rates with contractors
  • Monitor construction of new classrooms
  • Send copies of ledger, bank reports, and budgets to HealthEd Connect on a quarterly basis
  • Attend School Board meetings
  • .....AND find time to farm to care for his family!
Isaih has been a blessing to the many children who have benefited from his compassion and spirit of volunteerism.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Babies front and center

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Sherri Kirkpatrick" <>
Date: Feb 6, 2016 8:55 PM
Subject: Babies front and center
To: <>

Mother's chatted and shared news as they showed off their decked-out babies at the monthly Under 5 Clinic yesterday. This week was special!  The district health officer prepared a variety of nutritious foods for toddlers.   It's doubtful any of these recipes are offered by Gerber but just in case you want to check, here's the list:  mashed avocado and sour milk, rice and mashed white beans, pounded hamburger mixed with pumpkin leaves, kapenta, and nshima.

The Kafwa are recognized by the health department as a go-to group when they need to get something done.  In addition to providing them with training sessions and flip chart nutrition books, they've also given each Kafwa a purple smock to wear while weighing the babies.  Nice recognition for our Kafwa!

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Students of all ages

One of the exciting new projects in Nepal is literacy lessons for the women.   Some are wanting to learn English but many are just beginners wanting to learn to read and write their own language.  Pinkey is working with a group of women -- all ages --- to open the world of literacy.

Can you imagaine the thrill of unlocking the secret of those funny shaped squiggles other people call alphabet letters?  Go Pinkey!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

They're at it again!

Tracie Twombly delivering antibiotic ointments to Sherri
Last year Tracie Twombly organized a drive to collect tubes of antibiotic ointments for the health workers in Africa.  Everything they donated was delivered last year.  Now she's organizing another drive for this year.

In the meantime other families and church groups pooled their good wishes for Christmas and collected 180 tubes!!  There is absolutely nothing that makes the health workers any happier than the antibiotic ointments.  You cannot purchase them in developing countries (I know I've tried!) so even the hospital staff beg the health workers to share with them.

These little items are truly miracles in a tube!  Every health worker can tell you stories of the miracles performed for clients who had leg ulcers for years or children with infected burns or people who walked miles to reach them in quest of the "magic" ointment.  

Monday, February 1, 2016


What a Royal welcome!!  All 427 children at Chipulukusu lined up this morning to sing songs, give readings, make speeches and otherwise warmly welcome us to Young Peace Makers.   One little girl in the front row belted out every song with such gusto we're positive she'll be hoarse for days!  The whole complex was charged all day with tangible excitement that culminated in the afternoon with the ribbon cutting for the new school block. 

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