Monday, June 24, 2013

Thank You!

Thank You For Your Continued Support!

We wanted to again thank you for your continued love and support in our cause. In May we opened up the new orphanage we built for the St. Anns Children's Home in Kekopey, Kenya. St. Ann's is an amazing orphanage that houses 27 beautiful children. They were facing an eviction from their last home and so we committed to raising funds to help build a home that can now forever be theirs. These children have never had anything permanent in their lives, and as of May 19th 2013, they now have a permanent home that they can grow up in! We are so thrilled with how it turned out and we wanted to say thank you again for making this happen. This home is prof that together we are making a difference with our own two hands! 

Here are some more pictures of this beautiful home! From our heart to yours...THANK YOU!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Asante Sana!

It's hard to put into words the impact we experienced on our trip to Kenya. On one hand, we certainly made an impact with the progress of the orphanage, the trees we planted, the soil we broke, the grass we planted, and the fun activities we had planned with the children of St. Anns. But on the other hand, we ourselves were impacted by the immense amount of love and gratitude we experienced by the children and staff of the St. Ann's Children's Home. We saw the gratitude in the almost tears of the program's director as she gave us a tour of the orphanage we are building. We saw the gratitude within the children's smiles when we took them to parks to play/swim, had fun activities such as yoga and arts and crafts night, or even movie night at our hotel conference room. We were so touched by the smiles and open hearts of the children. Over the two weeks, we all fell in love with the children...their smiles, their laughter, and their beautiful hearts.

We brought the kids to our hotel for a movie night in the conference room!
On our trip, we were informed of the stories of how the children were brought to the orphanage. Some of the stories included a mother throwing her child in a river to drown after birth, a death of a mother during childbirth that left a child in a hospital alone while contracting meningitis where $20 saved his life,  neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, and the list goes on. Our hearts broke to hear the intense stories that these children have lived through. But at the same time, our hearts were filled with love to see the life, the health, and the love filled within these children. We are blessed to be involved with such an inspiring children's home. We witnessed the amazing work they are doing with the children...some of whom would not be alive today without the help of St. Anns. We were inspired by their commitment to provide shelter, education, health, and love to the children.

When I first laid eyes on the orphanage that we are building, I was in awe of its beauty. But when I see the bricks, the walls and so forth I really see hundreds (maybe thousands) of hands that have been apart of making this project a reality. It really has been a profound experience for me to see our local community come together in order to help give back to those in need. When I started this foundation, I had no expectation of what it would turn into. All I knew is that I wanted it to make a difference, whether it be giving kids donated clothes, beds, books, or even building a home. I truly believe that through these last few years WE together have made a difference with our own two hands. You can see the impact within the walls of the orphanage, the tears of the staff, and the smiles of the children and that my a beautiful thing.
First tour of the orphanage!
Myself and Joel (our Program Director in Kenya) in front of the orphanage!

We want to say thank you to everyone that has been apart of our efforts. We still have some fundraising to go in order to complete this project, but we are excited with the progress thus far. I personally want to thank you for believing in us and our mission of creating an impact with our own two hands. From my heart to yours...Asante Sana (meaning "thank you")!

With love and gratitude,

Lindsey Pluimer
(Founder of WMO2H)

To contribute towards the orphanage project: 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pure, Unfiltered Love....

January 16th, 2013

Africa has been quite the experience! I'm kind of bummed I didn't blog about it sooner because now I just have far too much to share. Where do I begin?

Yesterday our group went to the new farm, where the new home for the children is being built, and did quite a bit of manual labor. We moved boulders and tilled the land till our backs gave out and our fingers were blistered and callused. (A sentence that looks very odd to me now that I look back at it. But it's true) it was amazing. It's a very calming and secure feeling to know that you are able to provide a home for these children that they will be proud of. A place they can call there own. 

When we had first arrived to the farm, to see the house, we met Irene. Wonderful, saint, amazingly beautiful Irene. I have never met a woman with so much love to give! We walked around the house with her to check out what was being built and how things were coming along. Out of nowhere Irene starts jumping up and down and has the biggest excited smile on her face! She said that she was so thrilled about what was happening. She told us her prayers had finally been answered and said "my children will finally have a home!". I just about burst into tears when I heard the words come out of her mouth. 

It still hasn't fully settled in that I am actually in Africa and that we are making such an impact on all 25 of these children's lives. It feels too natural and too easy to provide for these children. If this is really how easy it is to help children in need I don't ever want to stop doing it. 

I have never met more deserving children in my life. The amount of love these kids have for everyone els is absolutely unreal! Just pure, unfiltered love that every single one of these children want to share with every person they meet. The first night we met them at the orphanage they all greeted us with open arms. Literally. Most of them just hugged you with a running start or asked to be carried and I had only just seen them all for the first time.

I tend to forget about where these children came from and how they were found because of how much light they bring to my life every day. After talking to Irene, we are finding out different stories about how the children landed in this safe place that she has provided. One boy was found in a river as a new born infant. His mother had thrown him away and he was basically left to drown. He was found later that same day, was taken to St. Ann's and was named Moses. Kamau, a little boy who is about 1 1/2 was brought to St. Ann's due to neglect. He had not been fed for so long that his legs and arms were the width of you little finger, his belly engorged, and his hair had become orange. Irene tells us that he was so mall nourished his body had shut down and was not able to use the food that they were giving him. The children thought he was so scary looking, they didn't want to go near him. That's not even the worst of it.

These children inspire me to be the best that I can be everyday. If all of these children can experience awful events, I could never fathom and still be as happy as they are on a daily basis then.... I don't even know how to finish this sentence because I am just so constantly blown away. 
I have been consciously practicing this entire trip, to be able to hold the amount of happiness and love these children carry daily and so naturally. Its sad to know that most of us in the states have more than just about anyone in the entire country of Kenya and yet most of us find it incredibly difficult to be even remotely as happy as these little ones. 

I can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning and see there bright shining faces again!

With love from Africa,


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Tuesday From Thiango

Happy Tuesday

We’ve reached the halfway point of our time in Kenya. On one hand it seems like we’ve just arrived, and on the other, it seems like we’ve been here a lifetime. The relationship and bond we’ve created with the kids is deep and personal. Today started EARLY, Like 4:30AM early… I couldn’t sleep- so I woke up and went downstairs to read and prep for day. It began with a 7AM yoga class taught by yours truly. We focused on the Sanskrit word and concept of Abhyasa or practice. Specifically two aspects of Abhyasa. One being focusing on the practice of right action and secondly the idea behind practice is that is when you practice something daily it really means that’s is a priority in your life. Our time here in Kenya has been a practice of right action, through helping with money, time, love and physical effort.

Later on in the afternoon we joined the children at school to help with their lessons. This was such an eye opener for me. The school itself had only 6 classrooms in total and was on church property. As we drove up the driveway, they children were on recess running, laughing, playing, and rolling old tires around and just plain ole having fun. Once break was over we jumped into class with them as they learned how to count. I was blown away by how amazing and dedicated the teacher was she. She kept every students involved and kept it lively! They were dancing every few minutes and singing songs when the students answered was correctly! The amount of interaction was just awesome! After lesson, we helped the teachers feed the students. I was able to see with such clarity the amount of Abhyasa the teachers had committed to on a daily basis. The children truly are a priority in their life. The energy behind what these women were doing was flowing with great force. It was a beautiful thing to see.

After school we met the kids back at the orphanage to have an “Arts and Crafts” day. Lindsey brought tons of crayons, construction paper, markers and coloring books. This went on until dinner, at which point  I was informed that the kids named me Thiango – Which really has no special meaning, it’s just a Kenyan name like Michael or Robert. I asked why they named me, and the house mother shook her head, smiled and said it means they care for you and wanted to call you something other than uncle(or they just couldn’t say Anthony and made something up!). This  just warmed my heart.  For me it solidified my being there. It meant that we were having an impact. As the day wound down, I once again found myself thinking about Abhyasa and how powerful it really can be. All the little things done over and over again out of love and devotion, how out of keeping concepts and ideas a priority in our life they end up manifesting into such powerful energetic forces. All year we talked about building a home for these lil people. All year we kept to our daily practice of yoga and awareness. We kept spreading the word, we led classes, we led fundraisers, and the result is this. A community, a family and home being built that literally didn’t exist three months ago. Lindsey had a vision. And through her dedication and unwavering belief in it, it has become something real and meaningful.

Abhyasa is not about results. It’s about showing up daily, and taking right action, because you believe in it, it’s about making those rights actions and beliefs the cornerstones for which you live your live. I believe the results, aren’t all that important when you live your life from such a place. But every once in awhile, the results of our practice show up in ways that can’t even be described on paper. They show up in ways that literally change the course of 25 little lives forever…

With love Thiango ;)
(Anthony Chavez)

To support WMO2H Foundation: 

Safari Day: Near Charge By A Rhino!

January 14th, 2013

Today we took time out to observe God's handiwork in the beautiful country of Kenya. From sunrise to sunset, we were in awe as we saw baboons with babies on their backs, giraffes eating from treetops, rhinos so close you could almost touch, hippos soaking in the lake, zebras with their beautiful stripes, hundreds of flamingos throughout the park and the list goes on.

As we continued to drive, we saw a black rhino probably 15 ft from our van but he didn't look happy and then started to charge us but before we could take a picture our driver (and friend) Joel sped away. I guess safety comes first.

A picture of the rhino who almost charged us (after we drove off)

To end our amazing day, Joel saw from a distance a lion sleeping under a tree and to make our journey complete he went off road and drove very close to the lion so we could take the perfect picture. We are in good hands with Joel!

Our day was breathtaking seeing how God has put so much beauty in the world for us to enjoy but now I'm excited for tomorrow to see those beautiful little faces that we have grown to love in such a short time!     

Usiku Mwema, (Good Night in Swahili)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday January 13, 2013

To state it simply: Today was a wonderful day in Kenya. Our group has now had the pleasure of planting trees at the new orphanage (the “farm” as they call it), spending a heartfelt day at the park with the most joy-filled little beings you could ever imagine, and then topping it off with another incredible day with these precious children.

The day began at the St. Ann Orphanage & Children’s Home with a Sunday Service held by Irene, who heads the orphanage and Pastor Alfred, a committed staff member who has truly dedicated his life to the children of St. Ann. Irene introduced her committed staff to all of us. As they spoke to us during that service, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the loyalty and devotion of the staff to these children. From what I have seen and experienced so far, they are truly acting as a mother and father to the children and the love and compassion felt is overwhelming. I was humbly brought to tears today, as I witnessed and experienced the affection between the children, the staff, and all of us.

After the beautiful service, Jodi Sagorin and I ran a small health clinic for the kids for a basic check up. It felt so wonderful that I could contribute my experience as a nurse to these kids. They were so well-behaved and brave as we checked them!
We then proceeded to the best part of the day! Thanks to the hard work and generosity of Jodi and her sister, Gabby, each child received their own disposable camera to take their own pictures and play with. Numerous Flip cams were also donated to the orphanage. It was so much fun watching and interacting with the kids as they experienced taking their own pictures. The joy on each of their faces was priceless!

Every time I have the pleasure of interacting with these kids, I am reminded of the amount of love that is truly within each of us. Their happiness is absolutely raw, from their deep belly laughs to their wanting to be held or hugged. Each of them just wants to give and receive love. Such a simple lesson for all of us to take in.

With gratitude,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Leaving Our Mark

  • Today I found myself planting trees alongside strangers --- strangers who quickly became friends. The people involved with this project have a work ethic and spirit that are nothing short of magnetic. Their passion for the children and their new home is contagious. The organization's leader has devoted her life to the work here, leaving behind her family in the U.K. to focus her efforts on making this home a beautiful sanctuary.
    I will never forget planting trees side by side, thinking of the generations to come. And to think, for only twenty US dollars, more than sixty trees will share and bear fruit for these children.
    I am in awe at how little goes an incredibly long way --- love, laughter, Anthony's animal noises, the flashes from our cameras --- and is absolutely treasured. The kids have welcomed us with open arms. Smiles of gratitude can be seen on faces all around.
    Our team was fortunate to practice yoga together on African soil, an experience that was truly magical. Core Power's Nicole Hyink led us through a series of poses, as we listened to the wind rush across the valley. She ended with the reminder of recognizing the best in ourselves so that we can do the same for others --- a perfect motto for our trip here. What a substantial difference we can make when bonded together, concentrating our focus to encourage others to reach higher and dream big.
    I can't wait to see what's next.