Vegas-based NGO founded by 18-year-old conducts relief mission in Kenya
Humid Equatorial July heat amidst a violent election season set the backdrop for an unlikely visitor to Kenya. 18-year-old Las Vegan Robert Flummerfelt arrives on the Tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya on the 22nd of July after an 18 hour layover in Qatar. Unlike most other westerners making the voyage into the heart of East Africa during this particularly contentious Kenyan election cycle, Robert is not on holiday nor does he plan to over-pay for one of many "EXOTIC SAFARI" experiences advertised around the interior of the hangar-turned-airport-terminal. Rather, Robert visits as an ambassador for the 'Central African Relief Effort', a charitable organization based out of Las Vegas for which he serves as sitting President.
Now he sat, in a vehicle packed full with toys and food (maizemeal and rice for cooking Ugali, as well as beans and cooking oil, a four month's supply) on Mombasa road, the winding and partially unpaved highway linking Nairobi to Mombasa, a 9 hour journey. His destination is a small village outskirt of the port city of Mombasa, where a school of 250 children is in desperate need of food to support children with little to nothing to eat at home, especially in light of the region-wide famine extending all the way up to Somalia, Kenya's Northeastern neighbor.
The long winding road was peppered with thieves and beggars, some fashioning makeshift barriers and demanding toll payments for passage or threatening to damage vehicles with metal rods. However, on arrival, Robert was greeted only with smiling, eager children. Calling out "jambo!" (a variation on the Swahili word for "hello") and bouncing up and down in excited anticipation. Although the stockpile of toys were met with classic "oohs" and "ahs" from the children, who pushed and budged to get to the front of the queue and get their hands on new, colorful toys, the even greater joy they expressed at the sight of basic food supplies was devastatingly telling. Joyous giggles and cheers from the children and cries of thanksgiving to the sky from teaching staff were both ennobling and heartbreaking. Robert said his goodbyes and began the 9 hour journey back to Nairobi. The long Mombasa road became all the more menacing with the fall of darkness. Impenetrable lack of light was intermittently interrupted by roaring village fires, the result of riots and violence associated with the upcoming August Presidential election. Women and children cried in anguish as furious mobs trampled their humble homes fashioned from scrap metal and straw and chanted loudly in discontent. Deeply disheartened by the cold displays of hatred and disunity, Robert returned to his small Nairobi hotel at the crack of dawn, with just enough time to pack his belongings and head back to Jomo Kenyatta airport.
Despite the terrible reality of the seemingly intractable situation for Kenyan Civil Society, the Central African Relief Effort's albeit small impact on the community only paves the way for greater and more ambitious relief in the future. Founded in December of 2016, this was the Organization's maiden ground mission, and much to the joy of its small Las Vegas volunteer network, a total success.
Central African Relief Effort
Vice President and Director of Fundraising
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