The Matsiko Children’s Choir will be performing at Northwood on Feb. 2nd at 7:00 P.M. Our school is going to have the privilege of providing host housing for the choir for Feb. 1st to the 4th. I am looking for approximately 10-12 homes. There are 25 kids, 10 boys and 15 girls. They are between 7 and 14 years old. I was hoping you could send something out to all the PTSA members and extend this offer. It is a great experience!!!
The host family would be responsible for feeding them in the morning and packing them a lunch. They would drop them off in the morning, usually around 8:00 unless the host needs a different time because of work. They would drop them off at either Northwood or Covington Christian Fellowship in Covington (this depends on where they will be performing that day). The host family would then pick their kids up around 5:00 PM. They would have them for three evenings.
Another host family’s experience
Host Family's experience
Deerfield-Review.comMember of the Sun-Times News Group
Local residents bond with Ugandan guests
August 6, 2009
By MATT KIEFER firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month, Lee and Mark Mulert agreed to do a favor for a friend and ended up having the experience of a lifetime.
When the friend, Jamie Senkbile, asked the Mulerts to host a few children from a Ugandan orphanage in their Deerfield home for one night, they went along with the idea.
They ended up rooming with 20 children and three adult chaperones, over a period of four days.
And they "loved every minute of it."
"I didn't know they were coming until days before and I didn't know much about them," Lee Mulert said. "I just decided to go with the flow."
The Ugandan group stopped in Deerfield from July 13 to 16 as part of a cross-country trip, hoping to raise awareness of poverty in their home country and around the world. To draw attention to their sponsoring agency, the International Children's Group, the orphans, ages 6 to 13, perform as the Matsiko Children's Choir. They put on shows from Chicago to Waukegan, including one memorable evening in Bannockburn.
It was a unique experience for the Mulerts to host two dozen guests under one roof: Children slept four to a bed. Special schedules were made for the showers, and food was served up cafeteria-style.
For the children, though, it was routine.
"They're family, they're all orphans and they're used to sleeping really close," Mulert said.
"Sometimes they actually sleep on the ground, so this seemed really good to them."
Senkbile, a personal trainer at Midtown Athletic Club, arranged the group's Deerfield stopover.
Four years ago, she visited Uganda with the International Children's Group to help out with the orphanage. So when she learned the group was making a trip through the Midwest, she decided to lend a hand once again.
"Everyone was very helpful and very willing," said Senkbile, who turned to the Mulerts for lodging. "They were real quick to help out and have them at their home."
A highlight of the trip was a July 15 visit to Midtown, where the Matsiko Children's Choir performed after a swim meet. The crowd received them warmly.
"I think it definitely helps to put a face to a problem and just makes you more aware of what's going on," Senkbile said of the visit.
At the Mulert residence, the community support was obvious. Restaurants and grocery stores offered discounts on food for the children. An owner of Italian Kitchen came in to the restaurant on a Monday, when it was closed, to prepare a large carry-out order for the group. When she learned the customers were orphans from Africa, she threw in some extra food.
Some of the children hit growth spurts this summer and needed new clothes. Phone calls were made to friends and neighbors, and the next morning, eight bags full of spare clothing lay on the Mulerts' doorstep.
The children "thanked us over and over," Mulert said. "They were very affectionate and very polite, and they really showed that to us. Everyone who met them was impressed."
For the Mulerts, the week offered an opportunity to make a direct impact in the lives of African children. They once helped raise $50,000 for an effort to build schools and orphanages in remote areas of Kenya and Angola. This was more personal, however, since they were able to hear stories from children who lost their parents and had to forage for food before benefactors took them in.
"It brought us a little closer to Africa," Mulert said. "We got as much out of it ourselves as they did."
Within four days of arriving by vans from Ohio, the Matsiko Children's Choir was gone again, this time heading for Minnesota.
"We really miss them," Mulert said. "It's so quiet!"