The Fulmerazzi

…a day in the life

bye bye “cyber” & some closing thoughts October 1, 2009

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 11:16 am

One thing I will not miss about Kenya?…. having to trek to the “Cyber” to use the internet! This will probably be my last post before I fly home over the weekend and I just wanted to quickly type out a few closing thoughts.

I’ve come to realize that I’ll do most of the emotional unpacking from this trip AFTER I get home and not necessarily sort it all out right now while I’m here. Someone told me before I left, to spend every moment of my time here living and serving to the max, experiencing it all….There will be plenty of time to work through it when I’m home. And he was exactly right!

I can’t begin to elaborate on all of the things I’ve discovered by living in this African culture and seeing all of the sad and often horrific things I’ve seen. But a few things I’ve learned:

1) I am blessed and I have everything I need.

I packed for a three week trip in a hiking pack. I rotate the same tanks and cargos throughout my work week. I don’t worry about make-up, my wardrobe back home, my social life, my silly blackberry…. I’m away from it all and it’s been completely refreshing! In America, we have so much more than we need. Even those of us in our mid-twenties like me who find themselves complaining that we never have enough money… Lord help me that I NEVER think those thoughts again! There is such beauty in a simpler life and living on exactly what you need. The rest just gets in the way.

2) “Don’t do nothing just because you can’t do everything.”

Such a simple thought but I’ve been guilty of this mindset when I think about volunteering and serving. I read this quote in a book while here in Kenya and it struck me with how applicable it is to my life right now. Here I am working in such extreme poverty and seemingly hopeless situations every day, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin! Day 1 at the IDP camps I almost had a panic attack after first being exposed to that people group and how they’re suffering, starving, and battling to keep their families alive.

All God asks of us is to do SOMETHING. Help in SOME small way. And it doesn’t always have to be across the world in Kenya. There is need everywhere, it’s all around us, so just do something! Imagine what our communities would look like, the cities we call home transforming simply because everyone pitched in a little.

3) Now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead.

Those are lyrics from a Brooke Fraser song that Lynds had me listen to last night when we were journaling. Again, it’s just a simple thought but rings true to me after this trip. Now that I’ve seen these things, the IDP camps and the Kibera slum, I’m responsible. You can’t play the apathetic card when you’ve been exposed to something like this. The “Yes We Kenya” team is brewing up some big ideas for how to partner with these projects when we get home to chicago, so stay tuned for how you can be involved!

Sorry that was a bit long-winded…. next up, home to the lovely US of A : )




The Adventures of Nancy and Maureen September 30, 2009

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 7:41 am


Soooo no one warned us that having names such as  “Lauren” and “Lyndsay” would be such a huge party-foul here in Kenya. Weeks into our trip, we both gave up trying to correct everyone… thus surrendering to “Nancy” (Lyndsay) and “Maureen” (Lauren) . Haha!

We’re wrapping up our final week in Kenya and it’s time for more pics. We’ve packed a TON of stuff into the final week. Over the weekend we grabbed brunch at Java (the local Mizungu hang), visited the Yia Yia Market, and strolled through Nairobi City Center.  A few pics…

strolling the City Center in Nairobi

strolling the City Center in Nairobi

lpf 006R

lpf 003R

Monday morning it was back to work and we took the day to visit the Jamii School and Brosis, another school in a neighboring slum.  Lynds and I were back at our project, Siloam Academy, for Tuesday and today (Wed) which was our last day at that site.  We made LEAPS of progress with the kids we were tutoring and part of me wishes we were here just a bit longer to catch them up to speed with the rest of their class. As much as I’m going to miss these Kenyan kiddos, I will NOT miss my morning garbage stroll through the mud paths and having to hop unidentified slush puddles.

I realized that I haven’t posted any pics of Kibera slum, so here’s a visual:

lpf 011R

lpf 013R

lpf 014R

my sweet Oleasa

my sweet Oleasa

tutor time

tutor time

i know I shouldn't play favorites with the kids, but.... COME ON!

i know I shouldn't play favorites with the kids, but.... COME ON!

a peak into the orphanage section at Siloam

a peak into the orphanage section at Siloam

Stay tuned for a final update tomorrow…. thanks for the prayers and encouragement from back home!




It’s the Fi-nal Count-down! September 29, 2009

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 9:39 am

I’m hearing the theme song from Arrested Development in my head right now….Gob Bluth, anyone?  If you’ve never seen that show, I highly recommend you get on that…

Anyways, it’s our third and final week here in Kenya and we’re tying up all the loose ends before we fly out this weekend. Clare left a few days ago and Lynds and I are missing having her around!

At the Siloam Academy in the slum, we’ve been assisting the teachers with tutoring the kids that seem to be a bit behind. Let me say one thing: I have a new-found respect for teachers after this trip! Who would’ve thought teaching ABCs and numbers to kids could be nearly impossible? I pulled a few kids out of the pre-unit (their version of kindergarten) and tried to work with them individually but the language barrier made it SO hard.

They have a completely different teaching style over here. The kids learn through songs, such as the alphabet song, and can certainly sing the letters in order….but when I point to just any ol’ letter, like “M”, they’re lost. It’s interesting, but somehow it clicks with them in later grades!

Also coming up this week: Final trip to Baruku IDP camp. This time the chicken coup is finished, so we’re bringing the chicks with us. Here’s a visual: packed rental safari van with us girls and 200 baby chicks packed in! It will either be hilarious or completely obnoxious, but I can’t wait for the moment we pull up to camp and finish the project we started just a few weeks ago : )

That’s all, folks!



FINALLY…. pics! September 25, 2009

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 10:36 am

my dust babies at Baruku!

my dust babies at Baruku!

clothes from our first clothing-drop...Thanks to all who donated!

clothes from our first clothing-drop...Thanks to all who donated!

safari girls

safari girls

sweet, SWEET dust babies at their camp

sweet, SWEET dust babies at their camp

Kenya handle this sunset!? (pun intended)

Kenya handle this sunset!? (pun intended)

Recess in the slum! Some of the kids at my school project in Kibera...

Recess in the slum! Some of the kids at my school project in Kibera...

our "little man" in Baruku with his new outfit !*(we apparently forgot to snap him in... haha)

our "little man" in Baruku with his new outfit !*(we apparently forgot to snap him in... haha)

Yes We Kenya team (minus Jenn & Tami) by the lovely Great Rift Valley

Yes We Kenya team (minus Jenn & Tami) by the lovely Great Rift Valley

face paint day at the Baruku camp

face paint day at the Baruku camp

That’s all for now!

Much Love,



Watch Where You Step…

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 8:44 am

Happy Friday, everyone!


Lynds, Clare, and I have officially been at the Cyber Cafe for an hour+ trying to upload pics to our team blog…. and it’s looking like a no-go. In the meantime, we thought we’d lighten things up a bit and share some of our highlights from Week 2.




1) Clare’s “Feminist Moments” throughout the week:

“BABY?!? Women don’t like to be called baby.”  — when a man in the slums hollered at her.

“If I was a MAN… he would’ve given me change!’ — after the clerk at the supermarket wouldn’t break her shillings


2) Fulmer stepping in an unidentified pile of brown juice/slush/puddle in Kibera slum. Extra points for flinging said puddle onto Clare’s arm.


3) Lynds having to partake in the Luo tribal dance in front of Kenyan high school kids.


4) Sitting in on a Parent/Teacher meeting at the high school connected to our project and being offered lunch in the slums. We couldn’t think of a polite way to say: “No thank you… I’ll pass on that mystery rice dish, and as much as we love eating off of plates washed in sewage-water, I’m full from breakfast.”  


5) Dancing at a Kenyan club with our host mom to a mix of Beyonce, Gaga, MJ, and authentic tribal tunes. Got a chance to switch up the lyrics of “Single Ladies” to “All my Mizungu ladies… all my mizungu ladies….” It was a HIT!


6) Clare getting peed on by a Dust Baby.


7) Lynds getting invited to karaoke while standing outside the Cyber Cafe by a man who said he liked her “moves”. We’re still not sure how those two are related…


8 ) A city-wide electrical outage that turned our dinner into a candlelight discussion on Kenyan life, love, and politics.


9) The fact that we’ve now watched High School Musical 1, 2, and 3 multiple times. Don’t ask.


10) Our first ride in a “matatu” (Kenyan group taxis…basically you and 14 of your best friends, chickens, and crying babies). It involved a subwoofer, Lil Wayne, and a giant flatscreen TV. Then some lady hopped in at the next stop and made Fulmer hold her groceries!


More to come. We miss you all! Thanks for keeping up with us and our stories.



Lauren. Lyndsay. Clare.


“I Left My Heart in Baruku, I Lost My Lunch in Kibera” September 23, 2009

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 11:05 am

Open our Eyes,

To see the things that make Your Heart cry,

To be the Church that You would desire,

a LIGHT to be seen.

– “With Everything” by: Hillsong

Alrighty, time for an update on the Baruku project. Our team made another trip out Monday to their camp and I have good news to share: Their community leaders took the weekend to think on the Chicken Coup idea and it’s a GO!

I was blown away by their organization, planning and research…. crew was prepared for today’s meeting! They had chosen a plot of land for the coup, sketched a few drawings of the structure, and even priced out most of the necessary materials. This really gave us confidence in our investment with these people….and they are absolutely BEAMING about getting back to work.  These people are men and women that are educated in their various crafts and were simply robbed of their homes and dignity.

This is their chance to start over!

It was surreal sitting in the tiny meeting place at the top of the hill at their camp. Before the meeting, we’d been playing with the darling Dust Babies (as we lovingly refer to them) and we had to literally peel them off of us to go into the business meeting : )

There we were, six  young American girls  who back home certainly don’t consider ourselves particularly “wealthy” but who, across the world, had the resources to help rebuild an entire community! If that’s not encouraging, then I don’t know what is! Everyone has something to give… you just may not realize how blessed you are.

Ok… so that’s all on Baruku for now, but we’re headed back tomorrow (thurs) so we’ll have an update later this week!

A quick note on our project in the Kibera slum. We began work at the Siloam Fellowship Ministry academy on Tuesday and have just finished our second day of work. It’s a combined school for grades kindergarten-8th grade AND an orphanage that houses 30 girls and 40 boys of all ages.

As we walked with our volunteer escorts to the slum early Tuesday morning,  words cannot begin to describe what we saw. To put it bluntly, what my eyes and nose took in were segments of what I’ve always imagined Hell to be like. That’s not even meant to be snarky or sarcastic! It was putrid, horrifying, and downright inhumane that people are living under those conditions.  We walk on garbage pathways and look to either side and see children shoveling feces in a ditch or live pigs wandering the streets and nosing through the trash heaps. Children walk without shoes around ashes and bits of glass. This is not ok.

My heart broke for the second time on this trip when we walked in the Kibera slum on Tuesday! It get overwhelmed thinking of how much it would take to move all of the people out and start fresh. To be honest, I don’t know where to begin even making a dent.  I was feeling hopeless until I remembered that I serve a God way bigger than this and that change is possible!

On a lighter note, a funny story from our first day at the school:  Soooo…We weren’t quite sure where we were needed to help and I thought the teacher was joking when he handed us pieces of chalk and elementary text books. Picture Clare, Lynds, and I like deers in the headlights standing in front of the classroom that holds the littles ones, 1st through 3rd graders, with about 80 pairs of big brown eyes looking at us! Haha. As I tried using my limited Swahili and the kids started laughing at my teaching…. we tossed the books and started teaching them songs! Good times. Awful teaching : )

Thanks for listening and sorry that was a little winded! More to come and hopefully pics soon!




Baby’s First Kenyan Marriage Proposal September 22, 2009

Filed under: Kenya,Uncategorized — Lauren Fulmer @ 8:12 am

Hey guys!


Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting/emailing me with support… with such limited internet time, it’s the easiest way to keep friends and fam updated!


Ok, so just a tidbit about my AWESOME safari last weekend before I dig into the real stuff in the next post. All I can really say is that it was hands-down one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had! To describe it in a few phrases: Kenyan wilderness (5 hours from Nairobi),  hot pink and orange sunsets, off-roading in a safari van, being only a few feet from wild elephants, zebras, hyenas, monkeys, giraffe, hippos, and Lions, and camping in tents on the Maasai warrior’s land. No biggie! Just legit African warriors guarding our campsite at night. Imagine my shock when I’m walking to the campsite bathroom in the middle of the night and see a giant man in a red loincloth guarding the fire with a spear!


I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Lauren Fulmer 2.0 : she hikes, camps, and is quasi-outdoorsy.  Ok, you can stop laughing now : )


One last silly story: a fellow Kenyan safari guide came up to our van and offered 100 cows for any of us girls. Excuse me, sir?! 100 cows? Either I need an ego check or my mama used to tell me I deserved the world… I just thought that was aiming a little low.


The convo went a little like this:

Safari Man: “ooohh, Mizungu (white) women…. I’d offer 100 cows for ANY of you! (giggles)”

Me: Let’s bargain here. It’ll take 100 cows and 200 oxen for me to even consider….

Safair Man: (without blinking an eye) “Too much.”


Well, I know where I stand. It was such an amazing experience to see Kenya outside of the slums and IDP camps. This country is breath-taking and such a great reminder of how creative God is : )




PS: I probably dont need to even say this little disclaimer, but I want the friends and family that helped donate to my Kenya fundraiser to know that I’m a good steward of their money and this safari was 100% out of my personal funds! Probably silly to state it…. just wanted ya’ll to know!