Report on August 2014 visit to Hope Academy in Nairobi

Dear Faithful Sponsor:

It is with great joy that I have the opportunity to visit Hope Academy, the school that we have been supporting in Nairobi Kenya Africa for the past 12 years. At the school when I looked at the 200 children lined up waiting for Kevin’s and my arrival, I was overwhelmed. To me the children were absolutely beautiful! I went from child to child holding each child’s hand in my hands and told them some version of Hi how are you? I’m so happy to see you! Some of the children were very shy and waited for me to take their hands and my hands. Other children laughed and giggled and held out their hands waiting for their turn to be greeted by the White American lady. My son, Kevin and I visited each of the classrooms and Amy love beans and rice with them. For most of the children, that deal of beans and rice would be their meal for the day. We saw the tour and sweaters and a little ties that were held around their next by elastic bands. We watch them run and play with old discarded tires and no one else wanted. I met the staff of workers (20 total) who faithfully take care of the children every day without any pay because the poverty is so great.

Lunch with orange soda at Hope Academy.

When we came, we have many surprises for the children that’s a porter gave me money for soccer balls and another gave me money to give the staff as a thank-you for what they do. we were able to purchase playground equipment that would serve as a constant reminder that there are people in the United States that love them and care for them. We also built a bathroom with 8 stalls that is the beginning of a new school that we want to build for the children.

Marsha Grahek standing in the entrance of a new bathroom building at Hope Academy.

Kevin and I walk through the toughest slums area where the children from the school live and were exposed to Poverty such as we have never seen. In the midst of the slums there were children following us and reaching out their hands hoping that we had some food for them. They were starving and desperate for any morsel of food we may have had. We invited many in the slums to a Sunday service and picnic. On Sunday, we had a festival for the students that included Inflatables to jump in, a camel to ride and a puppet to show with lots of music. I had the joy of jumping with these children on the Inflatables, dancing with them and singing with them. I watched as the children swarmed all over the playground equipment before the equipment was set up. The children’s saw things that week that they probably never saw before.

The roadside welcome sign for Hope Academy in Nairobi, Kenya.

On Saturday, we surprised the parents and children with a picnic. We served 700 people a meal of beans, rice, brown gravy and a potato with a bottle of soda. On Sunday, the families in the slum areas responded and we ended up feeding 1200 people the people from the neighboring neighborhood kept coming until the pans were scraped clean and there was nothing left. When we left on Sunday it was very difficult to say goodbye to the children and staff. As we left, I felt more resolved than ever to help build a new school that would allow the 1200 children that are on the waiting list to have a chance to attend school. I discovered that without project respect these children would have nothing. Many would have died of starvation and none would have gone to school.

The children rush to touch the arms and hands of the visiting Marsha Grahek.

As I think about these precious children there are so many things that we need. We need money to connect the bathroom to the sewer line and to provide for a tank that holds water for flushing. We also need more people who are willing to provide monthly support. It takes only $10 a month to provide for a child and there are many months where we are $500 short in needed funds just for the care of the children. We need people who are willing to make a commitment so that the beans and rice doesn’t run out before the end of the month. We also need people who are willing to financially bless the staff that care for these children. Anything you decide to do will be a great blessing to these children whether it’s a one-time gift or a monthly gift — everything is greatly appreciated and needed.

Please visit our website to see a video of the school children and to see plans for a new school from the bottom of my heart I say thank you on behalf of the children at Hope Academy and myself. Thank you for partnering with me to create a beacon of light (Hope Academy) in the midst of a very dismal place. Your support provides hope to these children.


Marsha Grahek, President