Kathy Lambert seeks to help Kenyans
December 20, 2013
By Sherry Grindeland
New: Dec. 20, 12:14 p.m.
Unlike most travelers these days, Kathy Lambert hopes to schlep a lot of luggage when she goes to Africa on vacation in January. If all goes according to plan, those suitcases won’t be filled with clothes.
They’ll be filled with new toothbrushes.
For Lambert, who represents Sammamish as well as other Eastside areas on the Metropolitan King County Council, this will be a working vacation and the toothbrushes are tools she’s carrying.
Lambert will volunteer with WorldComp Kenya. She wants to help improve dental hygiene in the Nairobi area.
The former school teacher will be working in a school there, with women in an AIDS support group and helping set up some microfinance businesses.
“The team leaders have had a mission in this area for 30 years,” Lambert said. “They have many projects going on.”
Two projects captured Lambert’s heart. She is focusing her free time this month – she can’t do any of this while she’s doing King County Council work – on making them a success. One is to get four sewing machines to women in the village where she’ll be working.
The other is to distribute new toothbrushes.
“When I was there last, I noticed the women’s teeth were in awful shape,” Lambert said. “The women do not have toothbrushes.”
In addition to lack of toothbrushes, she said the water in that area of Africa is full of bacteria, which doesn’t help with dental hygiene, and is muddy.
“It is so bad it changes the colors of the clothes when they wash them,” she said.
A physician accompanying the team will train people how to brush their teeth properly and explain the importance of not sharing toothbrushes. They’ll donate brushes first to the women in the AIDS group and their families.
If Lambert gets enough toothbrushes, she will give them to boys in a prison. She visited the prison site two years ago and was inspired by the training the youth are receiving.
“The boys are learning carpentry, goat tending, and sewing and are receiving an education,” she said. “Kenya is using this prison as a model for changing lives of people who have committed crimes.”
Lambert has high hopes she will receive enough toothbrushes to distribute them to the 583 children in two slum schools WorldComp Kenya supports.
“If I can get about 2,000 toothbrushes, we can cover all these needs,” she said.
Lambert has been asking family and friends to donate the new brushes they receive at the dentist and to pick up extras when they’re shopping.
She’s expanding the request beyond her immediate circle to meet her goal.
DeAnna Haverfield of Pioneer Coffee in North Bend has volunteered to be a drop off spot for people who want to donate toothbrushes. Pioneer Coffee is located at 202 W. North Bend Way, North Bend. The only other drop-off point is also in the Snoqualmie valley at Snoqualmie Elementary School, 39801 S.E. Park Street in Snoqualmie.
It seems like a small request but to the women and children in Kenya, it can make a big difference in their smiles, Lambert added.
“We can spread joy and new beginnings around the world in so many big and small ways,” she said.
To contribute toward the sewing machines or to learn more about WorldComp Kenya go to: