What's in our July 2018 issue: Notes from the Field: Grandmother Never Gave Up Hope; Kenya Project Coordinator to Travel to Spokane; Health Committee Report; When Art, Travel and Compassion Converge; Into Africa Auction: Bid on a Deluxe Safari!


Grandmother Never Gave Up Hope

Vincas Junior April 2018

Vincas Junior May 2018

Notes from the Field by Nereah Obura, P4P Program Coordinator

Dear P4P Friend,

On January 24, 2018, Vickline gave birth to Vincas Okinyi. Already ill when Vincas was born, Vickline could not nurse the baby.  Grandmother Joyce, who is over 70 years old, took over the care of mother, baby and Vickline’s other four children.

“Life has not been easy,” Joyce says, “more so given that my daughter later succumbed and I have been left all alone to take care of Vincas and his siblings.” Worried about Vincas’ health, she took him to several health clinics where she says she got no help.

“When I finally brought him to Ogada, I was referred to the nutrition program (P4P’s Power of Milk),” Joyce says, “Here, I have met other mothers and caregivers who have the same predicament like me and this encourages me a lot, especially when I see children improve and exit out of the program.  My greatest inspiration has been Emmaculate who was also orphaned at a young age and left in the care of the grandmother, who is as old as I am.”

When three-month-old Vincas was brought into the POM program on April 5, he weighed only 2.2 kg (4.8 pounds) and was so tiny he could be confused for a newborn.  Even though he has not gained weight as quickly as we hoped, we are grateful that his weight has now risen to 3.5kg (7.7 pounds) following the introduction of a multivitamin syrup and a few packets of Plumpy’NutTM. We received this life-saving nutritional supplement from the Migori County Referral Hospital, thanks to Emmanuel who is the Subcounty Nutritionist.

The shortage of Plumpy’NutTM in Kenya is critical.  P4P teams have been hauling the supplement to Kopanga/Giribe twice per year, but it is not enough to meet the needs of so many malnourished babies. The Health Committee is exploring alternatives to this nutritional supplement.


Nereah Obura Will Travel to Spokane

Nereah Obura is the dynamic face of Partnering for Progress in our 26 partner villages in Kenya.  Her official title is Program Coordinator, but she is so much more than this title.  Nereah’s passion for helping her fellow Kenyans and her dedication to P4P’s mission make her an invaluable P4P employee as she travels throughout our service area visiting project sites and conferring with educators, community leaders, students, parents and health care workers.  

Nereah will be in the United States in October. She will be the keynote speaker at P4P’s Into Africa Auction on October 13 and she will also meet with Board and Committee members here in Spokane.

 If you know of any groups that would benefit from hearing first-hand accounts of P4P’s work, please contact Dia at diamaurer@gmail.com to coordinate schedules.  Nereah will be available for speaking engagements in Spokane from October 7 through October 17. Service clubs such as Kiwanis and Rotary, schools, church groups, and women’s organizations are all appropriate venues for her informational talks.

Nereah’s background includes working with communities to improve health, implement planning and complete research projects.  She has particularly enjoyed meeting P4P’s scholarship recipients and considers them “her students.”  English is her third language and she holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and sociology from Kenyatta University. Nereah will be in Spokane without her husband Ambrose, who will be minding their two children, Kayla and Krystal.  Please help us extend a warm welcome to Nereah!


Frances and her mother during weekly POM nutrition classes

Health Committee Report

by Gabriella Bulman, Volunteer  

  • 11 children graduated from the Power of Milk (POM) program in May. (They received chickens as graduation gift/incentive.)
  • 7 children were approved for a graduation in June.
  • 47 children are attending the weekly POM meetings at the Ogada Clinic. Technically, 30 are allowed into the POM program. (We are thrilled to be graduating so many that we are able to add more from our growing waitlist.)
  • A permanent hand washing station has been set up at the clinic.*
  • Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) will be receiving “gumboots” (mud/rain boots), to make their travels around the area easier.*
  • There is currently a  Plumpy’NutTM shortage. However, we will be bringing cases of it on the November trip to alleviate the situation.

* These items were at Nereah’s suggestion. She is proving to be an amazing leader in the community. We are thrilled with her hands-on approach and astute suggestions, as we look toward our goal of empowering the people of this region and making these projects sustainable.

Charles Atha, P4P Nutrition Assistant explains to caregivers how to prepare porridge with fortified  flour

Handwashing Station

Emmanuel, Ministry of Health Nutritionist, counsels the grandmother of Vincas Junior


When Art, Travel and Compassion Converge

Last year, artist Katie Staib put brush to canvas to replicate a photograph of a remote, unpopulated Kenyan landscape. The result, a painting of a meandering dusty road surrounded by a wash of green beneath a hazy blue sky, perfectly captures the beauty and isolation of Kopanga, the region Partnering for Progress serves.

From sweeping murals that reflect the ethnicity and charm of the places they represent to intricate figurative sculptures, Katie’s work spans a broad spectrum of skills, interests and experiences.

Amanda Strong and Linda Strong, P4P volunteers, introduced Katie to our organization. When Katie learned about our mission and work and saw photographs from the area, she was captivated by the images and says she couldn’t resist painting them.

She generously agreed to donate two paintings to P4P fundraisers. The Kenyan landscape was raffled at last year’s Kopanga fundraising event and the second, a playful image of young boys, will be auctioned at P4P’s October 13 Into Africa Auction and Dinner.

A fascination with faraway places, languages and cultures has taken Katie to Japan, Costa Rica and Nicaragua where she lived and worked for five years.

 “My work is as diverse as the countries I have lived in and visited,” Katie says, “and range from substantial international community mural projects to detailed sculptures. Only my interest in travel rivals my passion for art.”

Katie studied art with a concentration on ceramic sculpture and bronze casting under Ernest Welke and Bill Riley at Saddleback College in California. She tapped into the analytical side of her brain by obtaining a bachelor’s of arts degree from Whitworth University and continued to study sculpture under Edward Eyth. Her work has been exhibited in several countries, many national venues and regionally.

Katie is currently the director of education at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture where she has worked since 2012 and was previously a Spokane Art School instructor.

Last month, Katie volunteered to instruct print making at P4P’s second Kopanga fundraiser, Art, Crafts & Drafts.  Katie and her coworker Tammy Gabbert helped children and adults etch an image or a pattern onto paper, roll the ink and leave with an original art print.

“I appreciate what P4P is doing to enrich lives,” Katie says.

We’re excited that this energetic woman got the P4P “bug” and we hope to see more of her talent, enthusiasm and passion at P4P events.

Katie and coworker Tammy Gabbert volunteer to instruct print making at P4P’s second Kopanga fundraiser, Art, Crafts & Drafts


Bid on a Deluxe Safari! Purchase Original African Art! Meet P4P’s Woman on the Ground in Kenya!

This year’s Into Africa Auction and Dinner will have standout auction items as well as a very special keynote speaker.

Meet Nereah. Nereah Obura, P4P’s project coordinator in Kopanga/Giribe, hit the ground running a year ago when she started working for P4P, and she hasn’t stopped yet. She combines efficiency with compassion and will share her experiences, hopes and P4P’s accomplishments as our keynote speaker.

Spectacular African Art. On the auction table will be a substantial collection of authentic African art, thanks to the generosity of Bob and Pat Pedersen, parents of an extraordinary man, Darin Pedersen. Darin worked as a structural engineer and project manager in over half a dozen African countries, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Darin loved art – everything from carvings to carpets to masks to textiles – and collected hundreds of objects from every country. He was very aware that his passion for art helped sustain local craftspeople who often struggle to find an outlet for their work.

Darin died suddenly at the age of 39. His widow and his parents collected the vast assortment of art and the Pedersen’s offered to donate many pieces to P4P to be sold at Into Africa this year, a generous and touching tribute to Darin.

Are you thinking about going to Africa?  This year’s auction has a deluxe safari package that will fulfill your every dream. Five-star Angama Mara (www.angama.com), a Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice 2017 award winner, has donated a four-night stay for two at their luxurious safari lodge in the heart of Kenya’s famous Masa Mara Triangle game preserve. Daily safaris, gourmet meals and drinks are included in the package.

Valued at $10,000, this extraordinarily generous donation will give one couple the experience of a lifetime at a top-flight game lodge that prides itself on pampering guests at every turn.

Airfare and ground transportation to and from Angama Mara are not included and guests pay $80 per day for park fees and $10 per day toward the Angama Foundation, a non-profit run by the resort to support local economic development. Validity: November 1 through December 20, 2018; January 8 through May 31, 2019; and Oct 1 through December 20, 2019.

Don’t miss this year’s Into Africa October 13 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel. Individual tickets are $75 per person or you can purchase a table for 8 for $550. All proceeds from the event benefit our programs in Kenya. Go to PartneringforProgress.org or call 509-720-8408 to purchase tickets.


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