Friday, November 26, 2010

Duncan - A Kenyan Success Story

Bret with Duncan,  June 2001

A while back, Bret received a hand-delivered letter from Brent H., a fellow humanitarian working in Kenya.  It was given to him by someone mistaking him for Bret.  The young man in the photo above, Duncan, had been trying to track Bret down for some time.  The following is his letter to Bret:

Dear Sir,

Greetings!  I hope that you are fine, healthy and progressing well.   I, personally, am well, only striving hard to achieve my dreams and goals in life.

It has been a very long duration, approximately 8 years ago without meeting again.  I remember that we lastly met at Samburu High School when I was in third year of the secondary course.  During that time, you brought for me and my friends who you were sponsoring with school fees attractive t-shirts.  That was the last moment of our meeting.

Since then, I have written several letters to you but mostly I don't get any feedback.  They are returned to me with information that the postal organization and personnel could not deliver those letters because the address I used is wrong and the owner unknown.

When I completed my secondary school course, I stayed at home for a whole year because there was inadequate resource to enable me to pursue further studies.  But in September of 2005 I enrolled in Kaimosi Teacher's Training College and trained as a Primary school teacher.  I completed my two years course in the year 2007 and fortunately, the following year I was employed.

Currently, I am teaching at the Chigutu Primary School, which is along and adjacent to the Murvani road leading to Kinango district head offices via Samburu town.

Surely, I have been enthusiastic and wished to meet with you but communication means have been the biggest obstacle to me.

Recently, I came to realize that you are the donor who launched and operates the Koins for Kenya organization.  In addition to that, I wish to share a lot with you, only when we meet again because it has been almost a decade without meeting.  Currently, I am attending lessons at school, but I have seen the need to write this letter for you, reminding you and hoping that you will also remember me, communicate to me and make arrangements even to meet with you again.  I will feel honored when you do so.

Finally, I have dearly missed your company and great aspirations; and words full of wisdom which I used to preserve after chatting with you.  I also register my appreciation and gratitude to you for the kindness you felt and aid that you offered to me.  You kindly paid school fees for me just like my own parents.  May God bless you and your family abundantly and empower your life with love and prosperity in everything that you undertake.

I hope that you will soon communicate back to me, create time to meet once again with you before you go back to America.  Otherwise, may God's love that makes everyday a joy to live nourish your life.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Fumo Komato

Duncan and fellow college graduates, 2007
As we approach 2011, it will mark ten years since the first visit to Kenya made by Bret and I.  It was fun to read this letter from Duncan and to see the progress in his life since that time.  We can only hope that as Koins continues to sponsor secondary students that go on to the university level, we will see many more such success stories, and receive feedback from our students.

If you want to make a change in the lives of Kenyan students by providing a scholarship, either at the secondary school level ($300/year) or at a university level ($1,500/year, but can vary by school), please communicate with our scholarship coordinator, Nancy Littlefield, and she can connect you with a student in need.   If a lump sum won't work for your budget, she can set you up for a monthly or quarterly payment that will go toward the yearly fee total.  You will receive letters from your student, and an regular report card update.  For a small amount you can truly change a life.  

Asante Sana! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Charo's Tree - Vernal Trees for Charity Gala

Charo's Tree
Sherrie Christensen, one of the August expeditioners to Kenya, has made and is donating a tree to the Trees for Charity dinner and auction to be held next Monday, November 29, 2010 in Vernal, Utah.  Following are the details:

Trees for Charity
Gala Dinner and Auction
Monday, November 29, 2010
Doors open for tree viewing at 5:00 p.m.
Dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Auction 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $20 per person
Western Park
302 East 200 South
Vernal, Utah

Tickets can be purchased at the door that evening or from the Vernal Chamber of Commerce prior to that night. 

Please take the time to view my tree this year.  It is number 5, and it features handmade beaded heart ornaments from middle school children from both Kenya and Vernal.  You won't be able to miss this colorful tree!  The garland is made from konga cloth material which the Kenyan women use for their skirts.  This garland makes a path from village to village on the tree with handmade huts and banana tree leaf people depicting everyday life in Kenya.

The charity which I have chosen to donate the proceeds of the sale of this tree is Koins for Kenya.  This charity is a Utah based 501(c)3 humanitarian organization which donates 100% of all donations directly to remote villages in Kenya.  This is the organization I traveled to Kenya with last summer.  While we were there, we learned of the death of a twelve year old boy named Charo who lived in the village of Gona.  The day after he died, we visited his school mates to hand out pencils, and in a ceremony, the local chief proudly handed over an envelope containing ten percent of the cost of building a school building, which is required by the Koins organization before work can begin on a new school project.  I fell in love with the people of Charo's village.  The parents understand that the future of their children depends on their receiving a good education because without education, they have no opportunities and the cycle of poverty will continue.

The cost of building a two room school building in Charo's name is $10,000.  If you would like to contribute a specified amount to this charity without actually having to purchase the tree, please contact the Vernal Chamber of Comerce at (435) 789-1352 and tell them you would like to add a "Tree Topper" to this charity.   All donations are tax deductible.