All Posts By

Lana Sydenstricker

Sierra Leone is celebrating little victories!

Sierra Leone has released their last Ebola patient from the hospital. The country is beginning the 42-day count down to see if the disease is officially terminated. The World Health Organization cannot declare the country Ebola-free until 42 days has passed without a new case.

Adamah Sankoh is the last patient to be fully cured and she is seen in this video dancing her way out of the hospital with the staff celebrating beside her. While the disease has taken many lives, including Sankoh’s son, there is still hope that there will be no new cases. There is joy on her face as she puts her handprint on the wall of survivors outside of the Ebola care center.

Officials from the National Ebola Response Centre are still being cautious and are adamant about hand-washing and screening because cases are still being found in bordering countries.


HEKO Stories: Spreading Compassion

Esther Nekesa is a single mother of four that lost her husband to HIV/AIDS related illnesses in 2002. She was also positive for HIV/AIDS herself and ended up bedridden with no hope. She had no husband, no way of taking care of her children, and no strength or health to live.  Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.07.21 AM

Mocha Club and HEKO began to take care of her by providing food vouchers and giving her education to sustain herself. With their patience, Esther felt their love and kindness being poured into her.

From the ministry, Nekesa says that she learned the importance of being compassionate to those with the disease. She says that she now loves to encourage and help others who are discriminated and abandoned because of HIV/AIDS. She wants to show them that they are important and can be loved.

What are you doing to spread compassion to the people in your community? You can start by joining Mocha Club to impact thousands of people in Africa!

Mochatern Monday: 10.05.15



A few weeks ago at the office we had a visitor named Baraka. She is from Rwanda. I got to sit down and chat with her and learn about her life. As she shared her story with me, I was overwhelmed by her courage! She grew up during the Rwanda genocide and was only 14 years old when these tragic events happened. She and her family survived, but later returned to Rwanda and to lots of devastation. She ended up becoming a nurse and now she helps with trauma counseling for children and training adults in her community. Imagine this : There are only about 1 mental health professional per 1 million people in Rwanda. And Baraka is one of them. She told me about the joy she has because of how God has been good to her and how he has given her a specific path in life. 

Our conversation really made me think about how everyone experiences pain, suffering, and trials, just in different ways. Every person on this earth.

FullSizeRenderMy conversation with Baraka was a great reminder that God is the only provider of joy and even when we are unsure, He is constant. She also reminded me that people need love and are made to help each other get through the tough things. I am so thankful to have gotten to meet her!

That is one of the many reasons I am loving my internship here at Mocha Club! I love the people here and the new stories I get to hear everyday.

I am working on writing stories about our health care projects and specifically women impacted by the HEKO program that Mocha Club supports. Check out one of the stories I wrote here and be on the lookout for more!



5k in Uganda Raises Money for Cancer



Last week a Rotary Cancer Run was held at Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala, Uganda. This was the fourth time people have gathered to run this race to support efforts to build new cancer facilities. Over 1,500 kits were sold and thousands showed up to participate in the Pepsi-sponsored event.





The proceeds from this 5k run are being used to build a cancer ward at the Nsambya hospital and a new blood bank at Mengo hospital. Rotarian, Dennis Jjuuko, says that they hope to set up more cancer wards and to create a greater awareness of cancer to Africans in the future.


“…From being frustrated and broken to inspired and powerful.”

Wondering what you are supporting when you support the Mocha Club and its mission?

You help support the HEKO program, a program for mostly women who are suffering from HIV/Aids. Through this program, they receive counseling and nutrition education on how to take care of themselves with this disease.

Here is the story of one member of the HEKO program that has been impacted in a meaningful way through YOUR support!

Dorcas Atieno Oluoch was 44 years old when she began herdorcas new life as a single parent of six after being stigmatized and discriminated by her husband upon learning of her positive HIV status. Soon after, he abandoned her and the children and moved in with another woman.

When Dorcas joined the program after learning about it from an awareness workshop organized by HEKO through elder Peter Odero and his wife Monica, she instantly felt encouraged. The program helped her change her life and make a positive change for herself and her children. She moved from being frustrated and broken to inspired and powerful.

At HEKO, she says she learned the importance of good nutrition and how to manage stigma and discrimination. She was also trained in micro-business finance for self sustainability.

She later formed a group at Kiberia DOs office and became a leader for the community. Today Dorcas lives a normal life with her children and volunteers in her community with social health work.

Thank you to everyone who supports the healthcare efforts of our organization at HEKO.

By joining Mocha Club, you too can change the life of a person just like Dorcas!



Mochatern Monday: 09.21.15

Hey Mocha Club,

I have exciting news! Last week I found out that I will be traveling to Kenya for two weeks during Christmas break! I am excited to use what I learn about Africa at the Mocha Club during the trip. I’ve never been to Africa and I know God will use me to serve the people there. Please be praying for safety in Africa, that funds will be raised for all of the team members, and that the trip will be used to show God’s love to all of the people there.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.06.20 PM

Our Mocha Club merchandise closet is close to empty after our sale – thanks for all who purchased! Head over to the store now to see what’s left before we release the new stuff! I got to look at all of the new designs and I can’t wait for all of you to see them.


Friday was one of the Mocha Club staff member’s, Katie Rose’s, birthday, so we celebrated at the office with donuts of course! Yum! Why is it so hard to eat just one?

As you may remember last spring, the Mochaterns hosted a Mocha Club event on Belmont’s Campus. Annabelle and I are also working on planning our Mocha Club events at Lipscomb and Belmont, so be on the lookout for news about those.


Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter @Mochatern and ‘like’ the Mocha Club Facebook page!

Thanks for reading!


Mochatern Monday: 09.14.15

It’s beginning to look (but not feel) like fall here in Nashville. Here’s a quick update on what Annabelle and I have been working on these past few weeks!



Last week we helped out with a special event called Coffee + Conversation! I went to Thriftsmart to help set up and get the coffee ready. Our country director from Sierra Leone, Jonathan Titus-Williams was here to share his story with African Leadership partners. Many people showed up to celebrate the partnership and talk about what is currently happening within the two organizations.





We have also been working hard packing up scarves to send out on our artist tours.  Everyone be on the lookout for Mocha Club merch and adorable scarves when you go to a Matt Wertz + Dave Barnes’ Two Birds/One Stone, Jimmy Needham, or Veridia concert! All our artists will be sharing about our projects with Economic Freedom and Women at Risk in Ethiopia. Come be part of the change that is happening in the lives of our African friends.

Thanks for reading!