In July, you may have read about our excitement to have Andie Young join us as our Development Director. We are heartbroken to announce that Andie passed away in her sleep from a catastrophic medical event. Our hearts go out to her family, her best friend of 20 years - husband John, and her parents and siblings. There are no words to express the shock of losing a healthy 40-year-old.
Her abundant energy graced us for two amazingly successful virtual fundraisers. Andie produced videos, managed new auction software and revitalized events that we’d been delivering for years. She brought courage to those of us who were fearful of virtual events, and guided us through each with grace and humor. She will be greatly missed by the many people she touched. To Andie’s family, please know our loving thoughts embrace you.
What’s in our December 2020 Newsletter: Notes from the Field ~ Christmas in Kenya; Season’s Greetings, Partners; Solving Life’s Puzzles ~ Meet Volunteer Monica Blykowski-May; Non-Profit Survival in the Time of COVID -19; Thank You Donors July 1- November 30, 2020
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite the darkness. ~ Desmond Tutu
Notes from the Field ~ Christmas in Kenya
By Nereah Obura, P4P Kenya Program Coordinator
Dear P4P Friend,
Christmas is known as festive season in Kenya. It coincides with the long school break, which in non-COVID-19 times, begins in November and runs through to January. We celebrate with these common traditions:
Traveling to the home village. With the long break, most families living in the city choose to travel upcountry to be with their village relatives. In most cases, it’s the only time the city families, especially children, get to meet extended family. Towards December 25, most buses plying the upcountry routes are fully booked. Scores of people who didn’t make reservations early end up being stranded at the bus parks with no means to travel home. Buses don’t just carry people though, and they are often loaded with furniture and boxes. Anything that will not fit on the passenger’s lap is tied to the top of the bus, which gives it the feel of a Santa’s sleigh.
Special meals and outings. Christmas is a joyous time for most families. For the low-income families, this may be the only opportunity for children to get new clothes, shoes or have an opportunity to go the nearby shopping center (even if they do not do any shopping when they are there). The family will share a sumptuous meal of chicken, meat with ugali, rice or chapatti (flat bread). Nyama choma (barbeque) is a common meal among the middle-income earners during Christmas.
Decorations and photography. In cities, you will meet many people. Children from the slums in the central business district often paint their faces and attach a balloon to their heads. Photographs are always welcome, however, smart phones make it easy to take pictures and share with friends and family. Not many homes are decorated for Christmas, save for a few families who hang fairy lights, balloons and crepe paper decorations.
Night vigils. Most Christians go to church for Christmas Eve service. They sing Christmas carols and often enjoy a play on the birth of Jesus. Services usually end at midnight. Christians then go to church again on the December 25 for a Christmas service. Churches are often decorated with colorful balloons, ribbons, paper decorations, flowers and store-bought Christmas trees.
Seasons Greetings, Partners
It’s the time of year where we take a moment to reflect on everything that has happened in the past year. 2020 has certainly been one for the books. Thanks to you, our donors and volunteers, we have been able to help and support our partners in Kenya during their difficult time.
We know it is hard to look for the good in 2020, but we have so much to be grateful for. This past year has made our organization think about how to connect with you all on a virtual level, and we did just that with our Civic Theatre and Into Africa Auction events. Your attendance made all the difference, and we sincerely thank you.
Because of your donations, we were able to teach farmers how to yield more crops from vertical farming. We taught caregivers of infants in the Power of Milk program to add an egg to their baby’s nutritional supplement, resulting in the children gaining weight faster and graduating from the program. Families benefited from COVID-19 baskets filled with cooking oil, sugar, grain and more to help during this critical time of food shortages. Students were able to continue their education through our scholarship program. Safe drinking water was supplied at schools with new water tanks.
We understand that this has not been an easy year for most, but we are so grateful for you and your continued support. We look forward to seeing you all in person in 2021.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year. Asante Sana!
Solving Life’s Puzzles
Meet Volunteer Monica Blykowski-May
By Renée Sande
Monica Blykowski-May likes puzzles. Maybe it’s because, like her life, it’s the small pieces that create the big, beautiful picture.
A California girl, born of Polish immigrants, Monica loves to travel, and new itineraries constantly fill her bucket list. A few years ago, this wanderlust led Monica and her family to Tanzania where they went on safari.
“Africa is just beautiful. In some ways the barriers to health care there are no greater than what they are for some groups in the U.S., they are just very different,” Monica says.
As a physician’s assistant for CHAS, Monica wanted to expand her community involvement when she stumbled upon Partnering for Progress. Now, a year in as a P4P volunteer, she serves on the Health Committee as a physician advisor.
“I like working with the team to bring our strengths together to help a community and create a connection with another culture,” Monica says. “Primary care is so important everywhere but can be especially impactful when a structure or system of care is set up somewhere that previously didn’t have much.”
When Monica isn’t piecing together her latest puzzle, she likes to spend time with her husband, Dr. David May, Interim President at Eastern Washington University, and her daughter, Emily, a junior studying kinesiology and sports psychology at Western Washington University. She also likes to hike, play tennis and enjoy a good glass of red wine.
Non-Profit Survival in the Time of COVID -19
By Linda Hagen Miller, Communications Committee Chair
COVID-19 turned the world upside down. It seems that everything – from the way we do business to the way we gather – has undergone cataclysmic changes this year.
Even more important, is the staggering number of deaths and illnesses that have impacted hundreds of thousands of people. COVID has caused most of us to appreciate each other, to voice sentiments of care and love, and to reflect with grace and gratitude on the small things in life.
Businesses have suffered greatly, and it may be years before the economy gets back on its feet. Non-profit organizations like Partnering for Progress have faced a cascade of new challenges. Suddenly we needed to recalibrate fundraising, Kenya services and programs, service team travel to Kopanga and our budget.
In the beginning, Partnering for Progress staff and volunteers felt like we’d been pushed off a cliff. We kept in touch with all of you with the monthly newsletter, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with hopeful but honest messages about what was happening in Kenya. Organizing and implementing our critical fundraisers, the Civic Theatre benefit and the annual Into Africa Auction, took us into new territory.
Both went from live (and lively) events to virtual programs. The learning curve was so steep it gave us “virtual” nosebleeds.
But the teams pulled together and all of you, our supporters, rallied along with us. The result: financial success with both virtual events. We learned, somewhat to our surprise, that all of us are capable of more than we imagined. Not to our surprise, we found that P4P friends like you were with us all the way.
In this season of caring and sharing we want to say Asante Sana, stay healthy and best wishes for 2021.
Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.
~ John Lennon
Thank You to Our Donors July 1 - November 30, 2020
You make a world of diference, a world away!
SMILE, Shop and Donate to P4P
‘Tis the season of gift giving, and online shopping will probably be one of your primary go-to methods to play Santa. If you order on Amazon, don’t forget to register with Amazon Smile. Your purchases will give-back to P4P, and we always like that present under our tree.
How? Go to http://smile.amazon.com and register first. Then whenever you make a purchase, log onto smile.amazon.com and .5% of your purchase will be donated to P4P.
Easy, right? Now, smile and enjoy the holidays.
Get the AmazonSmile App for Your Phone!
STEP 1: Join AmazonSmile
If you are not already an AmazonSmile member, sign up on your web browser. Simply select your favorite charity to start generating donations, at no cost to you.
STEP 2: Get the app
Download or update to the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. You can find it in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.
STEP 3: Turn on AmazonSmile
Open the app and find ’Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Tap on ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.
Partnering for Progress
P.O. Box 28191
Spokane, Washington 99228