Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oprah and Africa

Friday I was watching Oprah, and an African woman, Tererai Trent, was on her show.  She is from Zimbabwe, and her story is that of nearly every rural African girl.

Transcript of video:

As a young girl in rural Zimbabwe, Tererai Trent lived without running water and electricity and had no hope for her future. "I remember very well my father pointing to my brothers and the other boys in the village and saying: 'These are the breadwinners of tomorrow. We need to educate them. We need to send them to school. The girls will get married,'" she says. "And that was just a painful experience for me."

Watch her story. Watch

Desperate to learn, this little girl with big dreams secretly did her brother's homework. "I learned to read and write from my brother's books," she says. Soon, Tererai's secret was exposed, and the teacher begged her father to let her learn.

Tererai attended only two terms before she was forced to marry at age 11. By age 18, she was the mother of three. "When my husband realized that I wanted to have an education, he would beat me," she says. "I have nightmares of that time of my life."

In 1991, a visitor changed Tererai's life forever. Jo Luck, from Heifer International, asked every woman about her greatest dream—something many of them didn't know they were allowed to have. "I remember very clearly saying: 'My name is Tererai, and I want to go to America to have an education, and I want to have a BS degree. I want to have a master's, and I want to have a PhD," she says. "And she just looked at me [and said], 'If you desire those things, it is achievable.'"

Hoping her daughter could break the cycle of poverty, Tererai's mother encouraged her to write her dreams on a piece of paper. The 20-year-old placed them in a scrap of tin and buried them under a rock in the pasture where she used to herd cattle. "As a woman without an education, life will continue to be a burden," she wrote. "I truly believe in these dreams, and I hope one day to work for the causes of women and girls in poverty."

Tererai not only broke the cycle—she shattered it. In 1998, Tererai moved to Oklahoma with her husband and now five children. Just three years later, she earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural education. In 2003—the same year her husband was deported for abuse—Tererai obtained her master's degree.

After every achievement, Tererai returned home to Zimbabwe, unearthed her tin of dreams and checked off each goal she accomplished, one by one. In December 2009, the now happily remarried Tererai will realize her greatest dream of all—a doctoral degree.

Tererai is a symbol of hope in her village. On a trip home in 2009, Tererai and her mother encouraged a new generation of girls to dream, giving them pens, paper and tiny metal tins. "It makes me feel happy, but at the same time, it makes me feel empty that there are more women who could have the same opportunity but they are not getting it," she says. "My story is not about me, but it's about what can come out of my story."

Tererai has a dream to build a school in her village in Zimbabwe, and Oprah, in her typical generous way, has donated $1,500,000 (1 1/2 million dollars) to help Tererai build that school, that will educate 1,000 children.

I appreciate Oprah's generosity, but let's do the math.  It costs us $15,000 to construct a 3 room school building, that will host 250 children.  That breaks down to approximately $60 per child.  To build a school campus that would educate 1,000 children would cost us approximately $60,000.  With the remaining $1,440,000, we could build 24 more such school campuses, that would provide a place to educate 24,000 additional children.  So with the same $1.5 million donation, we could construct 25 school campuses, educating 25,000 children per year.

Does someone have a connection to Oprah?  Can someone tell her about the work we do, and how far her money would go if she donated to Koins?  The reason we are able to do so much is because every penny that is donated to Koins for Kenya goes directly to our projects in Kenya.  There is nothing kept in the states for "overhead" or "administrative fees".  The reality of donating to many (most) NGO humanitarian organizations, especially the large ones, such as Save the Children, which will be assisting Oprah and Tererai to build this 1.5 million dollar school for 1,000 children, is that many pockets will be lined and salaries paid along the way, with money that should otherwise be meant for helping out these children.  Those of us involved with Koins for Kenya work very hard to ensure that the money donated towards our projects actually is spent on our projects.  Every member of our board is a volunteer, and by making this our mantra, we are able to finish many projects with relatively small amounts of cash.

Thanks to all of our donors.  We don't need $1.5 million to build a school.  Even a $25 donation can be used and makes a difference.

Asante sana,


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eat for a Cause

Eating out this summer? Have dinner with us and you'll help build a school in Africa.

Karen and Tara Timothy are doing a humanitarian service project in Kenya, Africa this summer and need your help!

Come have dinner in our backyard with friends and neighbors. Donate what you would have spent going out to dinner to "Koins for Kenya." (Suggested donation: $10-$15 per meal) Tax Deductible.

Eat with us Tuesdays and Fridays as many times as you like, weather permitting! Pick and choose your days or come twice a week! Take out is also available! Call or email us at least 2 days prior to reserve your seat.

Fruit Heights, Utah

Menu for Friday, May 20th:
Tuscan Chicken - Tender chicken breasts cooked in savory sauce with herbs and flavored cream cheese. Served over angel hair pasta with a spinach salad and homemade French bread. For dessert, a walnut Jubilee bar with browned butter icing.


BBQ Ribs 
Slow cooked pork ribs in a honey barbeque sauce served with sour cream and green onion potatoes and a side of green beans.  Fluffy homemade rolls start this meal and a fruity trifle ends it.

White Chicken Chili
A lighter version of its tomato-based friend, this chili is made with chicken, white corn and Great Northern beans.  Add fresh tomatoes, olives, green onions and sour cream as a garnish for a spicy hot-and-cold treat.  Paired with cornbread and honey butter, this one’s a favorite.  Cream cheese and pepper jelly on crackers will be served as an appetizer with a big chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie for dessert.

Sweet Pork Salad
This copycat salad is an all-time favorite.  Sweet pulled pork on a flour tortilla with rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, and a tangy tomatillo ranch dressing just doesn’t get old.  Since you had a salad for dinner you can splurge on strawberry, blueberry, or cherry cheesecake for dessert!

Swiss Chicken
Moist chicken breasts topped with Swiss cheese and seasoned bread crumbs.    We’ll serve it with a green salad topped with apples, blueberries, walnuts and feta cheese in a poppy seed dressing along with homemade bread sticks.  Tonight’s dessert will be a caramel infused chocolate cake topped with sweet whipped cream and toffee chips. 

Fiesta Grilled Chicken and Tomato Basil Soup
This green salad features grilled chicken breasts surrounded by sweet corn, black beans and sautéed onions.  It’s topped with pico de gallo and ranch dressing and served with a cup of tomato basil soup and a crusty loaf of beer bread to dip in oil and vinegar.  Dessert will be a moist banana cake topped with fresh banana icing.

Pork Chops
Melt in your mouth pork chops in a flavorful gravy over garlic mashed potatoes.  Crunchy Sumi Salad with cabbage and ramen noodles adds a cool contrast.  Served with a big fluffy dinner roll and your choice of cupcakes:  key lime or double chocolate.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Hand battered chicken breasts baked in a pineapple sauce on a bed of jasmine rice.  Served with a side of sheczuan green beans and indulgent bleu cheese biscuits.  Pound cake makes this version of strawberry shortcake a cut above.

Broccoli Mushroom/Pepperoni and Ground Beef Marinara Pasta
Our pasta night features two kinds of sauce:  an original garlic cream with broccoli and mushrooms paired with a spicy pepperoni and ground beef marinara.  You’ll get both ‘cuz they’re just better that way!  Homemade garlic bread and a fresh green salad – Olive Garden-style - round out this meal.  For dessert --- hand dipped chocolate mint and strawberry truffles.

Chicken Teriyaki
This recipe for grilled teriyaki chicken comes straight from Japan but the cheese-topped red potatoes are a favorite from here at home. This meal comes with a medley of baked veggies in a light mushroom sauce topped with seasoned bread crumbs and a loaf of French bread.  Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing makes this meal irresistible.

Butternut Squash Soup with Mediterranean Chop Salad
If you like summer squash, you’ll love this butternut squash soup.  We serve it with a savory Mediterranean chop salad topped with sundried tomatoes, burgundy olives and feta cheese and dressed with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Pumpkin chocolate chip bread compliments this harvest inspired menu, and for dessert: pistachio pudding layered with sweet cream cheese on a shortbread crust. 

Chicken Fajitas
Marinated chicken breasts grilled to perfection with saute`d onions and peppers on flour tortillas…served with rice and beans, of course.  For an appetizer, a twist on traditional guacamole with a basket of tortilla chips and for dessert we’ll serve cream cheese brownies with chocolate icing.

So all I can say is, WOW.  Menu sounds delicious, the effort these ladies are putting for it is amazing.  And what a deal for a delicious meal!  Checking my calendar now...

Asante sana! 


Monday, May 9, 2011

Smallholder Farmers Are the Answer

Typical corn harvest on small family farm

Today on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation blog, Bill Gates makes a powerful statement: Smallholder farmers are the solution to the global hunger epidemic.

But, why farming? Gates explains in his post...

"Many people don’t realize it, but most of the world’s poorest people are small farmers. They get their food and income farming small plots of land. These farming families often don’t have good seeds, equipment, reliable markets, or money to invest that helps them get the most out of their land. So they work hard, but they get no traction, and more often than not, they stay hungry and poor."

He goes on to state, "smart investments in farming families help them become more self sufficient."

This is exactly what the Koins/Self Reliant Agriculture (SRA) partnership is about. Preliminary work has been done, and in June SRA board members will be in Kenya to oversee a pilot farm using Koins land to show the local farmers what can be done. Unfortunately, since the farmers depend on the crops they raise for their immediate survival, there is understandable hesitation to try a new system. Using Koins land as an example, and SRA expertise, we will begin a new chapter in our work in Kenya. We hope to not only expand the production of crops, we hope to increase the nutritional value of the crops being grown with diversity and better choices and food options.

We are excited for this work to begin. We will be reporting back on the progress of our work.

Asante sana!