Next Foot Forward

Kenya has changed everything for me. Pioneering a children’s charity and living in Kenya for the past 17 months has revolutionized, challenged and motivated more than anything I have undertaken. We started with the idea that it was to just get something off the ground. That it would be in a short term time scale. Set a few things up then pass it on to the next set of volunteers. However, things changed and for me it went from 6 months to 8 months and then 12 months. Coming back in October last year, I arrived with a renewed energy and a belief that if we put a strong structure, planning and initiatives in place, this project could live for the next 20-30 years.

In October we got a new leg for one of our students who his lost his right leg in a road accident. In November we bought 1 acre of land and planned a 10-20 year working strategy. In December we sent 3 teachers to teacher training school for their second semester. In January we decided that we would register as an international NGO (Non-Government Organization). In February we began the work towards establishing a HIV-Aids program along with, running our first Medical Camp that assisted 318 patients in KCC slums. In March we moved house and set up an official office-working space for KCC. I also got my own little space at the side of the house (they call them servants quarters – but I love it! I have a separate entrance, good space, toilet and sink).

Our plans for this year are ambitious. Even more so than the past 17 months. But the reality is, these goals are necessary and are the very things we need to do in order to make a lasting change. We are a long way from getting there and the road is going to be the exhausting but at the same time exhilarating. Construction of a fully self sufficient primary school and childrens home, bore hole drilling, solar energy, raising significant financial capital, establishing an effective HIV-Aids program, future medical camps, networking with key business, organizations and government sectors.

So where to now for me? This is a question I have been working through for quite some time. As this whole project has changed everything for me personally and professionally. Its also cost me a lot in; finance, time, energy & health: but the flip-side to this is that’s its provided a platform to exercise my ideas, passion, heart and vision for working towards new future for people living in poverty. I have had a lot of people ask how much longer I see myself living and working here. My answer has either been, I’m not sure, or my flight departs May 31 and ‘I will work it out then’. The past 6 months have really made me think about the future and my involvement here, and to be completely honest I have had a hard time working out my how I can actually afford to keep doing it. Ive put my life on hold in some ways, but in many other ways I’ve propelled it forward. Financially it’s insane and it doesn’t make any sense to keep doing it. But this has become my life. I’ve made my own path here. It’s given me a reason for living. It’s what I love and enjoy most.

I didn’t graduate from Uni and left school at 17. From this age I was searching and working to make a living. Here, I’ve found something that doesn’t pay my rent but has paid over and over in satisfaction, tears of hope, ambition and internal peace.

But where to now for me? Last year I secured a 2 year visa that has allowed me to stay in Kenya. This expires in May 2012 and has the option of renewal. So this gives me a time-frame in order to structure my work.

However. I have finally come to some resolve with how long I would like to remain here. I sense now more than ever that, this is the place I want to be for the next 5 years. With return trips back home in the UK and NZ for rest and relaxation. But essentially, I want to live here to develop this charity into one of the most; innovative, tangible, sustainable, transparent organizations in Kenya.

So to do this, I need to raise a salary. I have friends who have supported me since 2009 and I have been moved by their generosity. This support has helped me keep on top of things. But to see the future in its fullest and make a lasting impact in Kenya, I need key sponsorship in order to live and plan properly. The funds that come through the project go directly into making the school happen. And to make this project work properly, I need to raise a separate personal financial support pool.

Key sponsorship could come through; the corporate sector, individuals or organizations. I need living costs, transport, travel and health insurance and flights met. Whether this is an organization or business that is looking for ways to support projects, or individuals who have the ability to support people like myself. I need sponsorship. And the guarantees I can offer, are beyond what money can buy. The only thing, only thing, that is holding me back now is capital. I want to be here more than I ever have and can see a bright future working and living here. The wall I have in front of my face is simply the means.

So the question now is, how will I be able to do this?

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this far, you are stars and I love you beyond words.

For any questions or feedback on this request please send me an email: marcusgregarrive@yahoo.co.nz

Grace and peace
Marcus.

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