The Birth of a Dream
January, 2005 - a team from Birmingham, Alabama travels to Nanyuki, Kenya and is overwhelmed by the plight of the city's street children. Upon return to the United States plans are immediately set in motion to obtain property and open a children's home in East Africa. Harry Coates becomes the first donor to financially contribute to the vision and insures that the project will go forward.
August, 2005 - a team from Birmingham, Alabama, in conjunction with a team from Nairobi, Kenya begin the process of locating land for a future children's home. After consulting with a well respected local orphanage in Nairobi, the team confirms that the region near Nanyuki, Kenya is a realistic target. The team travels to Karatina, Kenya (about 1 hour from Nanyuki) to view a 5 acre plot of land. Upon arrival they learn that the property has a 3 bedroom/2 bath house with a 1.5 car garage. The structure was constructed during Kenya's colonial era. The owner has previously expressed a desire for the land to be used for a children's home. A deposit is placed and the property is set for transfer in December, 2005 upon payment of the full $20,000 purchase price.
December, 2005 - fund raising efforts in the US have been slower than expected, so an additional deposit is forwarded to Kenya and the transfer is rescheduled for January, 2006. A $10,000 estimate is obtained regarding the refurbishment of the existing structure.
January, 2006 - a donor steps forward on the day final payment is due and provides full funding for the project. Local work crews begin removing the old tin roof and replacing it with a new tile one. A team from several parts of the United States travels to Kenya, to assist with the renovations. While there an underground spring is discovered that feeds fresh drinking water from Mt. Kenya to an adjacent piece of property. A system of underground pipes carries the water to a holding tank on the property. Local workers continue the restoration project in the months following the US teams departure.
June, 2006 - a team of high school, college students and others from the United States travels to Kenya to complete the renovations of the facility. While the foundation fo a large cattle enclosure is literally "unearthed". Additionally, irrigation pipes are found to exist that service all of the cultivated areas of the property. The garage is converted to a dorm-style room for children and furnishings sufficient for the care of 12 are moved into the house. Renovations are essentially completed, but the team is forced to leave before arrangements can be made for the arrival of the first children. The permanent American director is left on site to prepare for the arrival of the children.
July, 2006 - Kenyan officials give preliminary approval to the facility, but require that it house a minimum of 25 children rather than the 12 originally planned for. Additional furnishings are obtained and 25 Kenyan orphans move in.
September, 2006 - Kenyan officials visit Pavilion Village and find it to exceed national standards and their own expectation. Officials are confounded by the fact that each child has their own bed and request that we double or triple our capacity by placing more than one child to each bed. Since this change would violate the exit strategy that has been established, a compromise is reached and Pavilion agrees to construct additional facilities on site in the coming months.
January, 2007 - a team from the United States, including the facilities visionary founder, Elisa French, arrive on site to formally welcome the children to their "new" home. Gifts, including handmade blankets and gift boxes for each child, are presented to the children. The front porch/entry way is officially dedicated in Honor of Pavilion's First Donor - Harry Coates. Harry passed away in 2006, without seeing the literal fulfillment of the dream that his initial $1,000 donation breathed life into, but we know that he understands more fully than those of us who remain, just how much impact this vision will ultimately have on the people of Kenya, East Africa and the rest of the world.