Alma Lightbody & her husband, Mack, have had a connection with Pender Island since 1993, evolving from a camper to a cottage and finally building a beautiful retirement home. Alma has been an active participant in the community since they arrived, first as an Island Trustee, then an executive for the chamber of commerce, the golf club and the yacht club. She also works as a consultant and therapist for energy medicine and Shamanic healing.
UPDATE: MARCH 23/15
Hello family (and awesome sponsors of Heshima),
Attached for your enjoyment is the YouTube link of our visit to Heshima.
Going to Heshima and spending time with the girls was a very moving experience. The education program they have to allow these girls to have a brighter future is quite remarkable. We were also impressed to see how many other programs they have for the girls to help them be able to support themselves on their own.
It was amazing to witness the warmth and kindness shared at Heshima. Considering the harrowing history of these girls (many of them have children and are not much older than Gabrielle – the kids that you see Abaigael dancing with belong to these girls), it was remarkable that the girls were smiling and clearly had found a new family for themselves within the heart of Heshima. As you may have seen from the website, the girls make beautiful scarves to support themselves – these were made into various clothing items and then modelled for us by the girls themselves (shown in the YouTube). The chicken coop that Abaigael is featured in, is an endeavour that has been sponsored by Rosalind and Steve to help increase the nourishment provided to the girls and their children.
We also visited an incredible area that is home to the Masai tribe – it is culturally rich yet excessively poor, the lack of clean water and proper nutrition is a constant struggle. Here we visited a school that was founded by a local Masai leader and his Australian wife to provide the desperately poor children of this area the opportunity to get access to an education (and at least one complete meal in the day). Again, the warmth of the people was astounding. They even gave Gabrielle a birthday cake and sang to her for her birthday!
Needless to say, all three kids were permanently marked by our time in Kenya and we all had the overwhelming feeling that we must return (I included a few fun pics to give you a sense of the place). In the meantime, the Murray kids are now thinking of what to do next to make a difference – perhaps help support the Masai school we visited… I am sure I will get a list of things we need to do when I return to Montreal (I am currently in China).
Gabrielle actually wanted to stay on in Kenya with Rosalind to volunteer her time with Heshima and the Masai school to help out in any way she could find. We had to insist that it was also important for her to return to school and continue her education. Still and yet, Gabrielle made more than a few desperate requests to not leave Kenya – perhaps a summer of volunteer work when she is a little older could be considered ;).
P.S. Darlene & Alma, can you please forward this on to the Green Angels and friends who supported the girls (also auntie Linda)?
Love, Joanne xxoo
Her nephew, Rob has always been connected with Pender as a visitor and now brings his children to enjoy this special place. His young daughters, Alma’s Great Nieces, have taken on a project to help girls from Kenya be able to go to school and enjoy the education opportunities that Alma’s Great Nieces enjoy. The girls are actively finding ways to raise money and in February, will travel with their family to visit their aunt, who has been working in Kenya for 3 years and they will personally deliver the funds they raise to schools there.
Below is a letter written by the girls to the Greenangels Woodchoppers.
My name is Gabrielle Murray and I am ten years old. As you know, a lot of girls in the world can’t go to school. In Africa, most of them can’t attend school for multiple reasons. Some have no money and some are orphans with terrible history (forced marriage, abandoned and more). My sister, Abaigael, and I have decided to help girls in Kenya because we love school and wish that every one could feel the same way. We started by selling wallets that we made and by walking dogs, but now we have expanded our fundraiser to include our school as well. Let me share a little more about the details of our fundraiser with you:
The foundation that we are working with is called “Heshima Kenya”. We discovered this wonderful organization through my aunt who lives in Kenya. Heshima is a non-profit organization that shelters refugee girls. These girls come from neighboring war-torn countries and have sought refuge at Heshima in Kenya. Many of these girls want to learn and have this opportunity through Heshima. Since several of the girls have small children, Heshima has a ‘kindergarten’ available so the mothers can go to school while their children learn as well. For only $300 one girl can go to school for a full year, including all supplies and a meal (for many, this is the only meal they will have in the day). Another $100 will send a younger child to kindergarten.
On behalf of the many girls in Kenya who would love to go to school, my sister and I thank the Greenangels from the bottom of our hearts for the kind and generous gift that the Greenangels will make to our fundraiser.
On February 21, my family and I will go to Kenya and deliver the first part of our fundraiser to the Heshima school. After that, we will return to Canada to raise more money so that many more girls can have the chance to go to school. Education provides so many opportunities for a better life!
When we come back home from Kenya, my sister and I will write and tell you about our trip and about meeting some of the girls who will benefit from this fundraiser. We will also send you some pictures! Again, thank you for caring and sharing in our passion to help girls in the developing world go to school.
Greenangels Woodchoppers are delighted to support another worthwhile project and hope to send the girls to Kenya with $1000 to go towards educating Kenyan girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity to go to school. If you would like to help, please email us