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Fairview Care Crew Travels to Kenya

Six residents of the Fairview area embarked on a three-week adventure to Kenya and East Africa on January 17. Led by Hillie De Jong, co-owner of Fairview Kennels, the group includes Ramona Polukoshko and her daughter Sophia, Kerry Hesse and her daughter Mia, and Brenda Kendall—a crew that is there to care.

“I’ve been traveling to Kenya since 2007 and have been working closely with different communities on various projects. This year, I’m excited to go again—this time with three other women and two young ladies—to continue bringing resources to Kenyan communities,” said De Jong.

On the itinerary, the Fairview crew will travel from the Kibera Slum in Nairobi to Victory Academy School in the Maasai community in Suswa.

Pictured: Hillie, Ramona and Sophia, Kerry and Mia and Brenda

“In 2013, the Victory Academy was built with a previous group I led. At the time, we received fundraised support from the Town of Fairview. During this trip, we’ll continue to work alongside local people to provide clean water to the Victory Academy. The town of Suswa recently obtained access to fresh water through which we will install pipes from the water site to the school,” said De Jong.

From Suswa, the Fairview crew plans to attend an agricultural project in Kisumu, near Lake Victoria, to revisit a water well that was built in 2018 when Hillie was last in Kenya.

“It will be good to see how the families living on this property are doing. We hope to help out with purchasing more livestock for them such as chickens and goats as well as bags of seeds for planting crops. The families are excited we are coming,” said De Jong.

Next, the crew plans to head to the countryside of Naivasha to see the small coffee and tea plantations. Then, they intend to return to Nairobi to meet up with Mama Mercy, who Hillie says runs an orphanage called Good Samaritan where she cares for over 600 orphaned children from ages 0-18.

“We will help them purchase new mattresses and bedding, along with a stock of beans and rice,” said De Jong.

From Nairobi, the group plans to hop on a train to the coast of the Indian Ocean, so they can get to a community outside Mombasa.

“During our six-day stay here, we will oversee a water well that’s being built for the people living in this community. Currently, women walk several miles to haul water. Needless to say, I think they’ll appreciate having access to water where they live,” said De Jong.

Hillie says all materials needed will be purchased locally and locals will be paid for their labour.

“We want to support the people, and they know their land and have the expertise to guide us through these projects. It’s all about reaching sustainability. Water is the driving force for every living cell on Earth, so it should be accessible to everyone. By working together, we can make this happen for more people,” said De Jong.

Because these donations were previously received and construction has already occurred, the Fairview crew looks forward to celebrating these developments with the communities.

“We send funds before we arrive, so they had time to put the project in action. The water in Suswa is now set up, so the school kids are enjoying it,” said De Jong.

The Fairview “care crew” intends to blog about these worthy projects on Facebook for anyone who would like to follow along with them on their journey. Follow them at: The Kenya Project 2024.

Hillie points out that all donations received from fundraising are for the projects only. The group is paying for their own travel and accommodations. If anyone would like to donate to a future trip, e-transfer to Text Hillie at 780-251-0288 for more information.

“We would like to thank everyone in the Peace Country communities for their tremendous support. Your donations make these goals possible. Many hearts will be filled with gratitude from the generosity—from our community to theirs,” said De Jong.

This article was written January 13, 2024.

By Tormaigh Van Slyke | Photography submitted

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