Earlier this week, I had a very vivid dream that I was back in Kenya (I also had a dream that I was Laura Ingalls Wilder, living on the Dakota plains a century and a half ago, but that one isn't relevant at the moment). Like all my dreams, there were lots of elements that didn't make sense, like the fact that Matt, Tricia and Angi were there with me (you make it to Africa in my dream, Angi! Congrats!). But I remember seeing my kids from the orphanage and being so happy to be able to hold them and hug them and run around in the red dirt with them.
The next morning, i realized what the likely cause of the dream was. The night before, I was reading a newsletter from the organization that I worked with while I was there, Fadhili Helpers. The founder, James Njuguna, is starting a new orphanage in Nairobi and it sounds like things are going well with all his projects. I'm so glad.
This is my plug. My personal attitude towards charities is that I would love to give assistance but I'm naturally hesitant and leery of organizations that ask for money because I don't want it to be misused. This is why essentially all of my donations are given to my church, because I feel much more confident that they won't be misused that way. However, the LDS church can't cover everyone's needs, especially in Africa, where we still have a limited presence. And having met James Njuguna and his employees and having worked at one of his affiliate orphanages, I can confidently say that money donated to Fadhili will be used properly to care for orphans and street kids in Kenya. Money donated to my host mom, Lucy, and her Gathiga Children's Hope Home will also be used directly to clothe, feed and educate these kids.
So, for what it's worth, I think you should check out these sites. And next time you're considering donating money, take these two organizations into some serious contemplation. Having lived in Kenya (briefly), the oft-repeated concept that a small amount of American money can go a long way is very, very true.