Below is the blog posts from our most recent trip to Huruma HOPE School in November of 2023.

Team Blog - Last Day - Spinning, Laughter, Tears

This is the day all the Grade 6 students have been waiting for….a day at the Two Rivers Amusement Park.  This is their prize for graduating and working hard for 8 years.  Thank you to all the sponsors who paid for this special day.  Wish you could have been here with them and see them with unending smiles and laughter.  None had ever been to this amusement park or ever hoped to be able to come.

From the HOPE Huruma School they all walked up the road to an awaiting bus to take them to the park.  Anne kept it as a surprise up until yesterday so they were beside themselves with excitement.  They came in their sport uniforms so they could run and just have fun.  They were accompanied by Grade 6 Teacher Samson, Grade 5 Teacher Peter, Assistant Teacher Tomas and Anne.

Once inside the park we were all greeted by a guide who took them to the largest Ferris Wheel in Africa (at least that is what we are told).  Some of them including Arlene weren’t quite sure that was something they wanted to even try, but with the coaxing of the other students everyone took their chances.  I jumped on with 3 of the BIG boys who were the leaders and even decided to stand on the second time around.  I had to laugh though when we got off and one of those brave boys bowed his head and said “Thank God!”  I love those boys.

Then it was off to the Flying Dragon ride that spun them around and up and down and I just watched because there is no way my stomach can handle any spinning.  Then there was The Zipper  you could hear their screams across the park as they free fell from the top.  Once stopped I thought the ride was a little short only to find out one of our girls, Tabitha, was crying hysterically and they had to stop the ride.  She decided to skip the next ride that was called the Flying Spider and was another spinner and we were all glad because I was sure she was going to be traumatized for life.  Thankfully, the next ride was a nice slow ride on the Water log.  You knew things were going to get a little wet when they had everyone put on rain slickers.  Once you saw the first log roll down the slide you knew why they had the rain slickers as everyone inside and around them got wet.  They were a little disappointed they couldn’t go into the bouncy house so they let them ride all the other rides again.

The Zipper .....

.... Would you want to ride this?

Flying Spider!

Water Log Ride!

Ready to get Wet!

We were so blessed because even though we did not encounter rain, the big black clouds were threatening us the whole time.  To end our time there everyone had lunch with the kids having 2 sausages, chips (that’s French fries to you Americans) and a Fanta soda.  The teachers and us got some very dry fried chicken, chips and soda.  We laughed because those threatening clouds broke loose into a tropical downpour while we were undercover having lunch.

Then came the hard part.  Teacher Samson stood up and told the students that they were now leaving HOPE Huruma and going on their next journey to Jr. Hi.  But, if they ever needed someone to talk to, help or tutoring he was there for them any time.  Teacher Peter also stood and gave them blessing as they were ready to move on to Jr. Hi. In January.  Anne asked if Jadyn, Arlene and I could share a few words.  That’s when the tears started flowing because we were like moms watching our kids taking flight on their own.  Then one by one they came up and hugged us crying and told us they loved us.  Gee, how do you not want to come back and be a part of their lives year after year.  Their lives have been impacted by these teachers for over 8 years and the many teams that have come year after year since before 2015.  All of us who have been on teams are not the same for this experience and we thank God that we are not the same.  These kids have changed our lives so much more than they can ever know and they will ever be a part of our lives.

To all of you who are sponsors, Asanta sana (Thank you very much) you are heroes in these kids lives. To those who may be thinking of becoming sponsors, there is no more rewarding way to invest $35.00 a month than in a child’s life that will be changed forever.   We will have 20 new PP1 students coming into the school on January 2024.  Please contact Suzan (541-971-8061) if you want to sponsor one of these sweet little ones or you can wait till January when we have them up on our website.  

See you back in Albany Saturday November 18.  BTW, Happy 52nd Birthday to my son Paul on Saturday.

Team Blog - VBS Day 3 - Let them Grow!

Today was one of those days that you wondered if you were going to accomplish everything you planned and wondered why you even made those plans.  Back to that later.

Today was Suzan’s turn to present the Bible Lesson from Ephesians 2:10.  She filled a large bag with 6 different shoes and had 6 students come up and take out one shoe.  Each shoe was different and each student explained the different purpose of that shoe even though it was still a shoe.   The emphasize was that  God had made each of us and created us to do good works and we each look different and do things differently but have the same purpose to serve God and others.

As we stepped into the school compound we were surprised by a large hole in the middle of the cement and a tree sitting in the middle of the hole.  Anne and Chairman David had decided that the courtyard needed a tree for much needed shade for the hot months plus Nov. 12 was Holy Tree Planting Day.  Kenya is very aware of their environment and do all they can to encourage conservation of their resources.  The hope is that the tree will grow high enough in the next few years to shade the entire courtyard.  The tree is called an Umbrella tree, but it looks like a household Ficus tree.  We took a picture of the little PP1 students standing around the tree with hopes that by the time the they are in Grade 6 the tree has grown to totally shade the courtyard.  That picture will be fun to see.

Mateo was joined by another young man from Karura named Joel,  The singing and dancing was as intense as it has been for the last two days and we are actually getting to know the steps, but still can’t keep up with all the moves.

We dismissed each group to their classes and that’s when I realized perhaps we had been a bit over zealous in what we thought we could accomplish with our craft.  Giving them each a small cloth tote to paint was the easy part, but it dawned on us that to make 145 butter and jam sandwiches for each child was totally insane.  At first we thought the Grade 6 kids could help with making the sandwiches for the PP1 and PP2 class but that proved to be a slow process as most of those kids have never made a sandwich before.  So much for our “Happy Meal” idea.  Jadyn and Suzan went to work buttering bread and slapping on jam in assembly line and passing them off to Arlene to deliver to the classes.  While all that was going on we had Mateo and Joel running from class to class handing out juice boxes, Rice Krispie squares, lollipops and “Prize” for each “Happy Meal”.  Needless to say all the students ending up going to lunch an hour late.  I may never get the butter and jam out of my pants.

As we got ready to leave all the kids lined up by class in the courtyard to say goodbye.  That’s when the hugs and tears started. Those kids grab hold of you and hug you and tell you they love you and don’t want to let go.  And you don’t want to let go of them.  Arlene and I have watched the Grade 6 kids grow from Baby Class over the past 8 years.  You just can’t let go because they are a part of you.  Our prayer is that they will continue to grow not only in stature and education but in their relationship with God.  We may have planted a seed 8 years ago, but God has watered and nurtured them to this day and will continue in the years to come.  

Team Blog - VBS Day 2

These little ones just continue to blow us away.  Tomorrow I am going to record them all opening the program with reciting the Lord’s Prayer including the little Pre-Primary 1 class.  They memorize verses with ease and sing and dance with all their being. 

Our song leader Mateo has them on their feet singing and dancing for almost 20 minutes straight and they would continue if Mateo wasn’t totally exhausted with all the singing, clapping, jumping and dancing.

The kids absolutely love him.  He and another young man come every Friday to do Bible Stories and songs with the kids.

After being dismissed to their classes they were anxious to memorize their verse so they could earn their 2nd charm for their bracelets.  Their craft was to paint a picture on the back of a potholder that Suzan had made for each of them (150 in all).  Front side with bright fabric and back was white fabric for them to use paint pens.  All the rooms were quiet as they concentrated on their drawings.  We told them that the potholders were for their mothers, grandmothers or anyone in their family.  They were painting masterpieces and so happy that they were actually making something to give for Christmas.

The kids were just sitting on the edge of their seats as Jadyn gave the Bible Story today.  Her talk was based on I Thess. 5:17 & 18, “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  She illustrated the need for prayer with a flashlight that needs batteries, a plant that needs water and sunshine to grow and a candle that needs oxygen to burn.

After lunch we left the school and were invited to visit the Regis Academy.  This is the private school that has invited our older kids to come and learn to swim.  Upon visiting we found out that the school now hopes to invite students in 2024 to come and take part in art, drama and music classes.  This is huge for our kids who would not have this opportunity without this invitation.  The campus was equal to any you would see in the States, but not attainable for our Huruma kids. We are thankful for the Head Teacher’s desire to open their doors for our kids to attend special classes.  Also, we found out that our Sally and Tabitha have been invited to join their girl’s soccer team for a special soccer tournament in December - Go Sally and Tabitha!

Jadyn’s observation on the people of Kenya - "The people are more willing to help and give with what they have.  They are so kind along with being very warm and welcoming and eager to know us."

Team Blog - VBS Day 1 

Mateo leading the kids in songs and dancing! Suzan was in the back getting jiggy with it!

Arlene teaching God's overflowing love for us!

Denise did a great job on coloring on the ornament.

Students enjoy crafting and always enjoy when we visit. Love them so much

It started with a downpour and changing into boots to make it up the path to the school with all our supplies.  We had to get some of the older boys to help us carry our bags up the sloshy path to the school.  

The kids were already waiting for us even though we had arrived a half hour early to set-up.  It makes no difference, rain or shine they are going to be there.  Anne had them all in the 1st floor main meeting room that is actually the Grade 1 and 2 classrooms that has a large dividing door between them.  

A young man from Karura Community Chapel was there to help us with the opening singing because between Arlene, Jadyn and I there isn’t a song leader between us.  He was great and got the kids singing and dancing and by the time 20 minutes was up all of us had sweat pouring down our faces and searching for water.  You get a real workout singing in Kenya.  

Arlene was the story teller for today and she told the students about God’s greatest gift of Jesus and the love that He has for us that is overflowing and how He is always with us in every situation of our lives.  She demonstrated it by doing an object lesson of pouring vinegar into a jar that already had baking soda in it and it foamed up and bubbled over the side of the jar into a pan.  You could hear a pin drop as she did the demonstration.

We divided the kids into their classes and had Jadyn take the PP1 and PP2 students, Arlene took the Grade 1-3 kids and Suzan had the Grade 4-6 students with the teachers all assisting.  When they got to their classes their teacher taught them the day’s memory verse Romans 5:5.  These kids have no problem learning verses.  When we came into their classes they would each recite their verse and then pick out a bracelet and then add a charm to it.  They will get a different charm each day and then take their bracelets home on Wednesday.  After finishing up doing their memory verse we gave them each a wood ornament to glue on a picture of themselves and then draw a Christmas picture on the back with the Crayon pencils.  These kids are crazy about drawing and doing art and some of the ornaments had some amazing drawings.  They were so excited with the exception of two little PP1 kids that we somehow missed getting their pictures and they were not happy about it.  As always you have to be flexible and we figured we had taken pics of each of them last week and will print out the two pictures once we can find a printer.  We waited out another downpour before we left waking down the path that was now turning into a river.

We’re always exhausted at the end of our but the kids are always so appreciative of any little thing we do with them and we feel humbled by their constant hugs and yelling our names.

Children made Christmas ornaments with their picture on the front and their personal drawings on the back. 

Earning charm and bracelet for saying their memory verse Roman's 5:5

Team Blog - Day 5 - Christmas Carols in November

Today was such a sweet time.   We arrived to the school all decorated with white, red and green balloons and the kids singing Christmas carols in the big meeting room.  When we stepped in to the room all the kids were crammed in and wearing paper crowns they had decorated.  You couldn’t help my laugh and smile and know the next 2 hours were going to be very special.

Just before the program was about the to start we were swept away tp the Grade 1 class because they had a “special gift” they had made for us.  Teacher Lucy explained that she has been teaching the children to knit and they had knitted themselves blue beanies.  It was amazing they had accomplished a task that many of us would never figure out.  Then they decided it would be great to make us Santa Hats.  Well, we were so excited to have our own Santa Hats that we have agreed they will be part of our Christmas outfit for years to come.  We wore them all through the program

After our little side trip we were back to the program that was introduced by Grade 6 student Noah reading Luke 2.  The Grade 4  students began by marching in singing “Little Drummer Boy”, followed by reciting Luke 2:1-7 and ending with “Gloria”.  They left the room to go prepare to be in the Nativity skit.  Then the PP1 students marched in singing “Serve Him, Love Him” and stole the show as usual.  They recited Luke 1:26 & 27 flawlessly.  Hopefully, we can attach them singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.  The classes continued one by one singing a Christmas song, reciting full Bible passages and a Christmas carol. 

After all the classes finished their presentations came the much awaited Nativity skit.  It began with Mary being visited by an angel announcing she would be the mother of the Messiah.  The angel then visited Joseph to tell him he was to take Mary as his wife and go to Bethlehem.  We had to laugh as they disappeared behind a curtain as Mary cried out and then what was a baby crying.  The curtain opened and there was Mary holding the baby (doll).  You haven’t seen real Christmas sheep till you see three boys crawl in wrapped in rice sacks and baaing while the shepherds dressed in Kikoy cloths chase after them and then skip out shouting “the Messiah is born” leaving the sheep behind.  During all this commotion a boy tried to come in unnoticed so that he can pull a string and have the “Star” lead the 3 wiseman to see Jesus carrying baskets of lollipops.  I can honestly say that was the Best Christmas Skit Ever!!!  There was just one thing that had Arlene, Jadyn and I concerned that didn’t seem to concern anyone else.  It was when in the beginning two teachers moved the table with the manager forward and then put straw down on the floor and then LIT TWO CANDLES NEXT TO THE STRAW!  Through the whole skit I had my water bottle ready to throw on the flames when one of those sheep knocked over a candle and Arlene and Jadyn were ready with the tablecloth to run forward and smother the flames.  Thankfully, God takes care of these things and we made it through although the candle was knocked over but was grabbed up quickly.  

After the skit Peter Wakori presented awards to outstanding students from each grade for “Well Groomed”, “Good in Spoken English”, Most Punctual”, Most Disciplined”, Class Representatives and Student Leaders.  The award was one of the lollipops front he Wisemen’s baskets.  Would our kids be satisfied with a lollipop?  Or even think being punctual was a big deal?

One last activity was cutting the Christmas cake and celebrating the November and December Birthday kids.  Anne makes these huge cakes and everyone gets a piece.  Cutting the cake is a challenge in itself because you just can’t cut it fast enough for them.  All those balloons were taken down and each kid got a balloon to take home after lunch.  It was mass pandemonium in the courtyard with kids and balloons.

Finally we were able to meet with the Grade 7 students (last year’s Grade 6 kids) to have lunch with them and talk about how school has been going for them.  There are big concern that they are two Grade 7 classes with 77 and 78 students in each class.  We are in search of some alternative schools for them other than the local government school which is extremely overcrowded.  Pray that God can reveal some better affordable options for them.

Wishing you an early Merry Christmas and may your Christmas lights shine safely away from any straw.

Team Blog - Day 4 

"I'm Kinder, I'm Stronger, I'm on My Way!"

Those were the opening words of a song by our Grade 6 graduates.  They and the Pre-Primary 2 graduates were the stars of the a ceremony filled with songs, recitations, and lots and lots of pictures. It all started with singing the Kenyan National Anthem and the the HHS School Song, “Jesus Loves Me”.  That simple song says it all, Yes! Jesus loves them all!

The little Pre-Primary Ones (4 yr. Olds) started it off with great singing and action and all the confidence in the world.  They knew they were the stars.  From that great beginning, each class came in and performed songs and poems they had memorized.  Before the big finale of honoring the PP2 and Grade 6 graduates the Hururum HOPE Dancers jumped into the room in full costume doing cultural songs and dances.  The room was full of clapping and singing and the dancers brought the guests up to dance with them.  The dancing ended with wild clapping as everyone was delighted by their performance.

Then came the moment all the parents were waiting for with the diplomas passed out to each PP2 Student who patiently waited in their cap and gowns.  The Grade 6 students were presented with a Bible sent by their sponsors.  The ceremony ended with each cutting cakes made by Head Teacher Anne.  Every student and parent got a piece of cake and a Fanta soda.  Then everyone headed for the outdoor area with the happy and proud parents for pictures, laughter and lots of hugs.  

Seeing the contrast of the Pre-Primary 2 students standing with the Grade 6 students made you realize all the growth that each group had achieved and the new journey they are each getting ready to start in January 2024.  Our PP2 students will continue to learn, grow and develop as they enter each grade till they become Grade 6 Graduates.  The Grade 6 Graduates will leave HHS after 8 years at HHS and enter Jr. Hi at another school.  When the Grade 6 students sang the words that they were Kinder, Smarter, Wiser, Brighter and Stronger and on their way it made us all realize that they had come so far from PP2 and they were ready to take that next step to become young adults who will truly be the future of their communities and Kenya.  We now need to continue to pray for these next 6 years for both of these groups that they will continue the path that God has set before them.

Asante Sana to all of you who have made these years of education possible for all our students.  As the little PP1 students recited, “I have a right to Education”

Arlene & Jadyn given PP2 graduate a piece of cake

Cultural dancing is always a beautiful experience!

Proud parent! 

Suzan with G6 graduates

Jadyn with G6 graduates

Happy G6 students!

Team Blog - Day Three - Tour MOHI & Meet Teachers

Tomas letting us know he loves his new Apron!

MOHI Office, School, & Clinic

Peter, Lucy, Tomas, and Samson modeling their aprons. These were made by Arlene's family as gifts for the teachers.

Today took us in two different directions.  We were invited to visit a mission organization called Mission of Hope, International or MOHI in Pangani, Nairobi.  The mission was started in 2000 by a Kenyan woman named Mary Kamau who felt led to help children get an education who live in slums.  Interestingly, the CEO of MOHI is Tim Tobey who grew up at North Albany Baptist Church.  

We were so impressed by their organization and the many facets of their mission.  They have 35 schools with a total of 28,000 students (yes, that’s approx. 800 students per school).  Most schools go through Grade 8 and five schools go through High School.  Their holistic approach to education includes having a social worker for every 200 students who works with the families to help find solutions for their needs and hope through Christ.  They provide free medical and dental through their clinics and provide onsite job training for Youth. There was much more and all this is supported through student sponsorship.  The parent is required to make a commitment of as little as $1 so that they feel the have participated in their child’s education.  We were so impressed with their organization.  The office complex is also a school, library, medical and dental clinic.  We gleaned a lot of very helpful information that we hope we can someday utilize within Huruma HOPE.

After our visit to MOHI we drove to Huruma to meet with the Teachers and Anne.  There were introductions all around and we got to find out a little more about our two recent teachers Lencer and Tomas.  We went over our plans for the VBS next week and the Graduation program for Thursday.  There was a lot of laughs when Arlene presented each of them with an apron her sister had made for them.  She made them each put on the apron and pose for a picture.  The men were especially laughing when told not to give the aprons to their wives or girlfriends.  The meeting was more of a friendship building time and we are all looking forward to all the activities we will be doing together this week and next.

The whole day it poured and we are now glad we brought our umbrellas and invested the 500 schillings ($3.50) for our boots.  We have to hold on to each other to keep from becoming part of a slip and mudslide walking down the Huruma paths.

Sad Basketball Hoop .... we may need to provide a net for this don't you think? 

Look at these beautiful children.  Don't you wish you were there?

Team Blog - Day Two - First Day at School

We arrived at the schooln to all the students standing on the stairs and balconies singing and dancing welcoming us.  Three students were selected to present us with a bouquet of flowers.  It was so sweet to be in their presence again and see the joy they have.  

We visited each class updating them about ourselves.  Suzan and Jadyn then took individual pictures in each class for their 2024 student pics.  It was so fun to try and make some of them smile while others were a perpetual smile.  Arlene would follow- up in each class and read them a story.

It was just a half day for the students so after lunch they all left for home and the teachers stayed to prepare their lesson plans.

The weather here has been almost as strange as Oregon’s weather.  Last night it poured like the monsoons and there was thunder and lightening.  We then woke to sunshine and it was in the mid 70’s by afternoon. We carry our mud boots with us “just in case” we need to change out of flip-flops.

Team Blog - Day 1 - Unpacking & Acclimating

The 300 lbs of things they brought for the school, which included 20 bibles for the graduating students. 

They Made It!

They made it to the Airport and into Nairobi!

Suzan, Arlene & Jadyn made it to Nairobi. As usual, it was an adventure leaving Albany at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and arriving at Heart Lodge at 12:30a.m. Kenya time. They traveled 30 hours which included layovers running, sitting, enduring horrible airplane food, and wondering if they were going to make it with 300 pounds of luggage plus another 150 pounds in carry-ons.  They say they need more than two old ladies and a 25 year old. 

They were blessed with kind men that took pity on them and helpled with the last leg of their flight. Nairobi makes it difficult as you have to go down stairs to the tarmak and then bus you to immigration (two floors up stairs) and then down again to gather the luggage. This took them 2 1/2 hours from landing to get to the car. Even the Kenyans were complaining about the long lines to wait as two officials slowly checked their papers.

Thanks to you who prayed about getting through customs. Normally they don't like to get help from the youn men because they ask for money but this time they agreed and God sent them the right young man. After he helped lug our luggage onto the the trolleys he then stayed with them as they went through customs and when the official tried to grab Suzan's suitcases the young man said, "No, I've got it for them" and they went through without problems. Thank you Lord! The tip they gave the young man was worth every schilling. They got to the lodge and collapsed in bed. 

Upon waking, they had a wonderful breakfast and got ready to unload their 300 pounds of luggage. They are looking forward to seeing the kids, especially Jadyn since this is her first visit. The ladies have decided that Jadyn will be in charge of the electronics as this is what young people do best.

The team leaves on Nov 4th and arrives in Nairobi on the 5th

Come back and see what's going on at 

Huruma HOPE School 



Since 2005 small teams have traveled yearly to serve the little HOPE Huruma School in the Mji wa Huruma slum. As each group arrived in Huruma they have been struck by the level of impoverishment the community suffers, especially the children who are constantly at risk due to lack of basic needs.

We began in 2006 with providing funds for the children to receive a balanced lunch each day knowing this would be the only nutritionally complete meal many of them would have that day. We also paid the salary for an Administrator, 5 teachers and 2 cooks. As we raised extra funds, we would provide classroom and student supplies along with a complete uniform for each child at the beginning of the year. We started to realize that some of the children needed help with ongoing health needs and found donors to help those children.

After a team of seven returned home in September 2014, they began the process of bringing HOPE International, Inc. to its current status as a 501(c)(3) entity. The commitment of Huruma HOPE is to increase aid and educational opportunities to children and break the generational cycle of sickness and poverty that has plagued this community for many years. It is our hope that others will follow in our decision to support this ministry and help children in Africa rise above their circumstances through education and faith in Jesus Christ.