Alabaster in Kenya: Highlights from our 2016 Trip

Betsy StewartBlog



Alabaster Team 2016 poses in front of the new water tank with members from the Endonyolasho community.

Alabaster’s 2016 team spent 12 days in Kenya in July. We went to many of the same places and saw many familiar faces – and we also have some exciting new developments that we’re excited to share with you.

One of them is this blog. We plan on sharing weekly updates and stories – some in-depth details about our trip this past summer, as well as introductions to our partners and friends in Kenya, news and stories that provide context for the landscape of global health and how Alabaster fits into that picture, as well as exciting vision for our future. We hope you’ll join us!

First things first: our 2016 trip. Here’s a rundown of where we were and what we did.

Our first six days, we visited Endonyolasho. This is the rural, arid, Maasai community we visit every year. It’s a six-hour drive from Nairobi, we sleep in a tent, and we have no running water while we’re there. It can be tough, but our hosts take such good care of us, and we experience so much joy in this community that we often forget about the conditions that can make this stay hard.

This year, we checked in on the First Aid Clinic building we helped to launch last year, and also witnessed a truck bringing water to the water tank we partnered with the community to establish. In addition, we ran clinic for two days, provided preventive health support in schools, and connected with local healthcare workers. We also launched new programming designed to build deeper relationships with and provide support to the students. This included health education and mentoring, as well as creative arts classes. Check back in for more stories about all of these initiatives. We have a lot to tell you about!

Back in Nairobi, we had the opportunity for a rest day (read: showering, sleeping in, and hanging out at the nearby mall). We also had the privilege of spending a day with Mercy, the leader of our NGO host in Kenya. She welcomed us in her home, which was an opportunity for us to rest and also build important connections with our partners there through meetings that were scheduled throughout the day.

Alabaster Team on our rest day in Nairobi. From left: Doug, Ashantha, Veena, Callistus, Jamie, Shannon, Betsy and Michelle.

Alabaster Team on our rest day in Nairobi. From left: Doug, Ashantha, Veena, Callistus, Jamie, Shannon, Betsy and Michelle.

The next two days, we provided preventive health support in schools in two informal settlements in Nairobi. At Light Rays Primary School in Kangemi, we brought vitamin A and deworming, and also repeated some of our non-medical programming that we had piloted in Endonyolasho, including a photography club. The next day was our first visit to Joy House Primary School in Mukuru, where we vaccinated 200 children to prevent typhoid. We enjoyed making this new connection and hope to return next year.

Our last few days were spent on safari in Maasai Mara. It’s always fun to spend a few days relaxing as a team and to celebrate all the good work and relationships we were able to invest in.

We hope you’ll check back for more stories soon!