It is so hard to believe our honeymoon is over! But what a trip it was! It is time to share Honeymoon Part 1: UNICEF in Kenya. There will be 4 parts total from our start with UNICEF in Kenya to safari to Giraffe Manor to Seychelles, so stay tuned.
There was no better way to kick off our trip than doing a quick field visit with UNICEF in Kenya. We spent time visiting local health centers that are solar powered (Solar power for hospitals and health centers is my personal current focus with UNICEF so to see it in action in Kenya was one of the biggest highlights of my trip!) and we also spent time visiting the local slums which are some of the largest slums in the world. It was eye-opening as it always is, but this was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It also was incredible to have Carey by my side so he could experience my field work first hand for the first time.
We started our visit at a neonatal health center where women are encouraged to come for free exams throughout their pregnancies. It was incredible to see how many women filled the center considering this time last year they did not have the option for healthcare during their pregnancy at all. Women explained to us that they track their own pregnancies with a UNICEF pregnancy guide book and that having access to nurses and doctors has changed their lives for the better. Seeing healthy babies receiving vaccines and nutritious supplements was exciting. We even met a baby who was just 15 minutes old and had been safely born in the center!
We then spent a good amount of time in the local slums that surround Nairobi. It was some of the worst living conditions I have ever witnessed with trash and tar filling the alleys to the small king-size bed sized rooms made out of metal scraps. One kind woman invited us in to explain to us the challenges of living in the slums and the dangers she faces every day. She lives in the small dirt-floored home with her husband and 3 children, one of which is a newborn. It was extremely difficult for Carey and I to keep our composure as you can image. UNICEF is currently working on solutions to resolve as many of the issues as they can in the slums, but there is most certainly a long way to go.
We ended the field trip visiting a school that has been created in the middle of the slums thanks to UNICEF’s work. There are no toilets or showers readily available in the slums so UNICEF assisted with putting in an energy efficient system for showers and toilets. Slum members pay a small fee to access these facilities and the money goes directly to funding a primary school behind the building. Prior to this development, children in the community had no education option, so it is incredibly exciting for these children to finally have the opportunity to learn. The “school” is simple, but the most important thing is that these children are having the opportunity to learn.
It couldn’t have been a better way to start our trip especially to understand some of the challenges some Kenyans are facing. Every field visit is a reminder that everyone has the right to a safe and healthy life and I am incredibly thankful to be involved with UNICEF to help create positive change for people around the world.
I hope you enjoy the photos from our field visit. A huge shoutout to UNICEF Kenya for all the incredible work they are doing!