Sunday, April 13, 2008

Baby shower helps orphans in Kenya

From Northwest Arkansas News, written by Scott F Davis

Linda Collins of Fayetteville drops off organic diapers, baby bottles, formula, blankets and clothes for Sarah Fennel's baby shower on Saturday.

Collins says the organic diapers work better and last longer than the more common white, cotton diapers.

The dining room table is almost covered with gifts and the shower has just started. More gifts are coming from collection points at Fayetteville Athletic Club and Rolling Hills Baptist Church.

Fennel, 27, is thrilled to get these baby gifts, even though she's not expecting a baby. Her two nieces say they are proud of their Aunt Sarah and glad to be invited to the shower.

"We love our aunt. She is doing a wonderful thing. She is helping kids that have no mothers," Rebekah Fennel, 9, says.

Chavah Fennel, 8, wishes she could go to Kenya to help her Aunt Sarah and to make new friends.

Sarah Fennel already has. She plans to travel for the fourth time to both Kenya and South Africa in October.

A friend of hers, Patrick Lumumba, founded an infant clinic in a rural area of Kenya. He called Fennel recently and said he needed some stuff for babies, she said.

This clinic provides a safe place where mothers can bring newborn babies that they cannot care for, Fennel said. Mothers may deliver their babies at the clinics, too, The babies stay in the clinic until a good home can be found for them, she said.

The clinic was established because of the overwhelming need in the rural area of that African country, Fennel said. The women who might bring their babies to the clinic are typically extremely impoverished, very young and unable to feed the babies they already have, she said.

"People say poverty is a curse. Wealth is a curse as well. We just take things for granted," she said. "I was overwhelmed by the poverty I saw."

People in Kenya live in mud huts with thatch roofs and dirt floors, she said. Only about 3 million of the country's approximate 40 million people have electricity, she said.

"It's just tough (in Kenya ). We are used to just getting into our car and driving to Wal-Mart and getting whatever we need all in one stop," Fennel said. "Something basic takes all day. Especially for mothers, I'd think it's extra hard."

The people in Kenya may live in poverty, but they make the best of it and don't constantly complain about it, she said.

"People there have so much hope, love and joy," she said. "When everything is a lot more simple, you can enjoy life.

"Everyone is so excited. I was welcome everywhere I went."

She said her trip abroad taught her that life is easy in the United States and much of the world lives much differently.

"We take conveniences for granted," she said.

She's been in homes that are smaller than her bedroom where six to eight people live.

"Americans have no idea how the rest of the world lives," she said.

Fennel said her efforts are sincerely appreciated, and she comes home feeling rewarded.

' We are maybe receiving more joy than they are," she said.

Fennel founded Restore Humanity to raise money to build an orphanage in Kenya. She said they've raised about $ 20, 000 and need $ 50, 000 for the building costs. They also hope to raise two years worth of operating expenses and figure out ways to make the clinic self-supporting in a country where the poverty is "absolutely unbelievable."

Restore Humanity's Web site can be found at www. restorehumanity. org.

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