That's the comment made by Anne Wairimu, our friend & craft-woman, when I gave her a brown doll for her daughter today (9/30).  Ann's eyes lit up as she looked at the first brown doll she'd ever seen.  She knew her daughter would respond the same way.  BINGO!  This is our aim as we continue to distribute hundreds of brown dolls donated by friends in the U.S.  Hard to believe, but every doll we've seen in stores here in Nairobi is blond & blue-eyed.  Think about it...weep with me...then change it!  We have lots more brown dolls. Come with us to distribute them in hospitals, schools, homes.
 I guarantee the experience of a lifetime.
brown Barbie

UBER in Africa....
Yup, our travel was made much easier (and less expensive) due to UBER in Nairobi & other cities in Kenya.  It works even better than UBER in the U.S., tracking your account & your driver's progress while en route.  You get a photo of your driver, name, & cost of the trip.  UBER has lots of competition, from Little Cab & others, which keeps pricing low.    
Getting started:  On arrival at Nyumbani orphanage, our home in Kenya, we were introduced to Izabella, an author from Spain.  I said "I only know one person in Spain;  I've never met her but we've corresponded.  Her name is Joanne Foxford."  Izabella stared at me:  "Joanne Foxford is my next-door neighbor!"   Now what are the odds of that happening?! An interesting beginning to our work.  And work we did, pounding through Kenya with a full agenda & loaded schedule.  First we met with some of the craftwomen & put in our order.  Check out some of the beautiful new items below--just in time for holiday shopping.  On Sunday we attended the beautiful African Mass.  If you had a single hour to spend anywhere in Africa, I'd urge you to attend a church service.  Our brown friends pray with their entire body as well as heart;  the traditional dance, songs, & drum music display a faith that's enviable.

A sweet little one wriggled her way onto my lap & didn't budge all through Mass. I drew faces on my fingers & entertained her with a little puppet show & finger kisses to her cheeks.   I think we're BFF....

Below:  Hand-woven kiondos made by the grandmothers.  World's best Easter baskets.
 Monday began with the purchase of   lots of jars of honey from Nyumbani   Village.  I can never keep enough of   it on hand, so if you'd like to try   this unique elixer, 
contact us.     Made from flowers not found here   in the U.S.   500 ml, $13. 

 At left are some of the many bee   hives at Nyumbani Village (African   top-loaders). Come with us to see   for yourself!

If there's a favorite nurse in your life, won't you consider an "alternative gift card" for them as a holiday gift?  Just $20 gets you a lovely hand-made card & goes a long way to help support our program & contribute to health care in Africa. Who knows how many lives will be touched by these future nurses?  

 To jumpstart our new PLANT A   SEED, GROW A NURSE program, we   headed to Catholic University of East   Africa, where most of the sponsored   students will be enrolled in the   Institute of Health Sciences.  After   meeting with new students &   administrators, I dusted off my   geneticist hat & gave a lecture,   GENETICS & YOUR PRACTICE.

Off we headed to St.   Aloysius Gonzaga       Secondary
 School,   serving HIV orphans
 in the infamous slum,   Kibera. 

We spoke with Beatrice, administrator, & distributed   bras donated by BRA RECYCLING, a great place that   does wonderful undercover (haha) work!
We also dropped off more donated puppets (THANKS, Laura Moustakas!) & showed students how to improvise a puppet stage from discarded cardboard & styrofoam (which we just happened to find behind a store...dear John lugged it around for me). St. Al's & Harambee students have a service requirement. Puppet shows about good health habits are performed at schools & churches in Kibera.

A suitcase of small musical instruments was donated by Deb Z. Davis--a generous soul whom I've never met. Thanks for your many gifts;  you've made a big impact on an entire school in Kenya.  And...Deb was touched by the story of Patrick (above) & is sponsoring his fees at the school. Patrick was found living on the street, cared for by homeless street boys. 
 Oh,how I wish you could hear these   children sing and play music!  We   recorded some of their work, posted   on our Facebook page. Insipiration to   see at the school how much is done   with so little. Electronic keyboards   donated by John & grandson Lincoln   Herring. And a shout-out to 
owner in   Brookfield, Illinois, who generously   packed up the big keyboard for safe   airplane transport from home. They   are the best & I'd love to send some   business their way: 
 Above is Kevin, gifted son of   crafter Ann Wairimu. He'd never   known of a harmonica, but piped out   a tune for us on the spot.  

Patrick didn't forget that I'd promised to bring him a toy.  So he now has a truck & a very soft plush puppy to keep him company. At right is Veronica, another child who couldn't attend school because of poverty. Thanks, Marilyn Woitel, for opening your heart & your checkbook to help her. 
 Veronica received a plush toy with a   music box inside & perfumed sachet   to remind her of the kind lady   across the sea who has saved her. 

A suitcase of joy.  What a gift for these deserving children!
Now for the hard part. Accompanied by two Harambee students, Festus & Calvince, we headed to Kenyatta Hospital to again distribute toy cars & brown dolls to children in the oncology ward. It went well, although rather hectic. When toys are around, word spreads quickly & every little one that could walk, hop, or wheel soon surrounded us! But we had just enough of everything & about 150 children were happy & I hope a bit comforted in their travail. Some children were singing & we were told that one boy, Oscar, was especially talented with mus ic. Luckily, I had one of the donated recorders in my bag. He was so shy & loathe to smile, but by the time we left he was already going strong with a tune.

Quite honestly, I don't know if I can do this again. There are so many who might have been cured, but are now beyond treatment. Poverty prevents the parents getting to the hospital from their home up-country. Some lay in near-comatose state, bellies swollen with malignant fluid. One boy has advanced retinoblastoma, a tumor of the eye easily curable when diagnosed early. This child had baseball-size tumors covering his head and neck. He'll die soon--from a malady that would be cured by now had he been lucky enough to be born in the U.
        Here comes everybody!

Thanks to a great couple at St. Terrence school in Alsip, Illinois, who gave us a suitcase full of these baby dolls.
One little girl, an amputee, didn't get a doll.  I felt so badly, but promised  we'd get one to her soon. Later in our room I found one last--very special--doll that I'd forgotten. This doll plays music & moves like a real baby in her bed. And now she has the perfect home & someone to love her.  

No rest for the weary!  We have lots more to accomplish during our short time here. Collins Yallah, one of our first GROW A DOC grads, has worked hard with  other students to plan another medical camp, this one in Kibera.  It was especially crowded because the nurses have been on strike, closing other clinics.  Lots of stories here, & many more thanks:  Deb Z. Davis, for small medical gear, the McGleams for donated non-Rx meds, niece Pam Muth for donated scrubs. And thanks to the many volunteers who kept things running smoothly & efficiently.  Festus, 4th year nursing student, is in many photos--he's either cloned himself, or he was moving fast, doing so many chores.  

  Clinic activities:  preparation, data   collection with John, teaching oral   rehydration therapy & nutrition.   Little girls with toy stethoscope:   future Harambee docs? Calvince (5th   year medical student) teaching about   blood pressure.  And Festus, jack of   all trades & master of many,   babysitting. 

kitchen & laundry
at the clinic

 RIGHT:  Nancy, Good  Samaritan who brought four boys (below) to the clinic, concerned for their health. 

 She lives in Kibera.  
call her Impoverished Nobility
 The boys each got a toy car. I   asked to hold them up for a photo.   They thought I said "cards" &   compliantly raised their clinic   numbers.  
 Happy kids!  But the boy on the left   looked really distressed. We knew he   needed more help.  Festus later found   him (how, I'll never know!) & the rest   of the story is below....

 This is the boy, Kevin, in front of     his "home."  Festus reported the     mother is an alcoholic & Kevin is   surviving only with the care of   neighbor Nancy.  He gave Nancy   money for food & the team swung   into action, sending a social worker   out the next day to evaluate. Kevin   & mom will be seen at a Lea Toto   clinic, tested & treated. We hope   the mother will enter a rehab   program. It's recommended that   Kevin be placed in boarding school.   We will do that. (How can we NOT?!)   $900/year will do it.  How can you   help save this child? There are so   many  more like him;  we can't reach   them all, but we do what we can. 
 We're indebted to Thomas Nyawir,   our Nairobi Board member, for   coordinating these efforts. 

Still on the go, we next travelled to Naivasha, Upendo Clinic, for one of our favorite tasks, christening goats & giving out chickens (which I still don't like.) Lots of goats...even more chickens (25 pairs).  If you could only see how these animals change the lives of individuals, families, communities! Upendo Village is now a place of hope; the children have a future. 
Goats named Samuel, Vicki, King, Secretary, & others.  Thanks to our donors!  And Christmas is coming... want to give $150 & receive an alternative gift card to give a loved one for a dairy goat?  You get to name the goat!  And yes, we can do this better than Heifer, Int. because we have no overhead or salaries. 100% goes to Africa.
 We'll never forget you, Beth (Samuel)
 A single pair of chickens can allow a 
 mother to start an income-           generating business to feed her   children, pay their school fees. 
 Cost for you:  $15.  You get a great   gift card to give.  Contact us: 

Donating more meds for the clinic. Thanks, McGleams!  Festus again, with Morphine, 1st year medical student at the University of Nairobi
 Miriam, whom I've known for 10       years. I brought reading glasses for   her.  Cost: $1. You'd have thought   I gave her the moon.  Now she can   read her Bible.

Now for some fun! We take students on safari so that they can see their national treasures.

 Left:  breakfast on the savannah.
 Top:  Springtime in Africa means     babies, & ostrich chicks.

Even giraffes take a rest, & even zebra tails are striped.

 Picnic & cake celebration for Jackie,
 newest Harambee graduate.
 Atop a mound of burned ivory,   displayed to educate & discourage   poaching. Africa's elephants are   disappearing!

Finally, the day before we leave for home, an International Healthcare Students Association meeting. New members, new ideas. New continuing ed lecture--  yes, on Sunday, about DNA 
(" like  a recipe for a cake...inside the cake").

Lastly, we bring many "memory cards" of those who have died at home recently. We leave them at churches, convents, & special places in our travels, with
special people. It can provide a bit of comfort to know that a deceased loved one is held in prayer by unseen friends across the world. We left many,
and a final set with the Harambee students. They well understand that we are all brothers & sisters in the human family.