Monday, September 17, 2012

Tracy's Cooking Adventures in Kenya

This is a journal entry from another July expeditioner.  Tracy volunteered her time and energy in the Koins kitchen, helping Emily with the food for our large group.  Tracy created some delicious new dishes for our expeditioners.  Expedition food has come a long way in the past few years.  With limited food options, and stores far away in Mombasa, being creative is key to providing a well rounded, tasty meal 3 times a day.  I personally am indebted to Tracy, as my kitchen skills are limited at best, and in Kenya are essentially non-existent.  The joy she found in working alongside the Kenyan kitchen staff, and presenting her food creations to the expeditioners was obvious to all.  With her help we enjoyed scrambled eggs, a delicious cornbread, birthday cake, and a variety of cookies, which were all new dishes for Kenya.

Tracy and Mama Emily in the KCC kitchen

Tracy and Monica work on dinner preparation

Tuesday July 17th, 2012
Written by Tracy Jackson

Today I woke up at 5:30am and made pancakes and eggs for everyone. Myself, Emily, and Ester are the three ladies that have been cooking here at the KCC, (Koins Community Center) and I LOVE it! I got to teach them how to make scrambled eggs for the first time.They had never seen how eggs can form if just heated. Random Africans surrounded the pan as I stirred. They all kept slowly saying over and over, "scrambled eggs!" Haha! They always have so much energy and we are even laughing that early in there. It just makes me want to do it even more the next day.

After a very loved American breakfast we all left to go milk the goats.When we got there they asked that we help water the shambas. (garden) About 15 of us went to the water to go scoop it up with our buckets. It was so muddy we had to let the one African woman scoop it for us while we carried the buckets out to the shambas. Each bucket waters about 2 1/2 plants and there was about 1/2 an acre of them. We finished about half the work, and realized we were out of time and couldn't milk the goats. :( It took us about 45 minutes to do that much)

Tracy and Heidi painting one of the Miyani classrooms

After we came back we went to the Albino school. It was nice to see they had a safe place to stay. They live at the school, and can do the other things they need to do there too. Unfortunately they can't go outside much. It's not safe. There is not a fence around and we were told there are some bad Africans out there who would love to swipe an albino child and sell them, or sell their body parts for trinkets. sad to talk about, but I am so happy that they are in a safe place. We gave them some hats, sun lotions and sunglasses. They were so happy.

Tracy painting a Bofu classroom

After we returned, I went back to the kitchen to get working on our next meal where we made potato balls. They are made from peeled, boiled then grated potatoes, formed into a pattie in your hand, then filled with chicken. We then rolled them into balls, and fried them. I like to learn how to make all these different foods.
Tracy running in the race to Bofu
Tracy teaching a kindergarten class

We also got a chance to to the Sean Michel's School today. It is a school for the children with disabilities. We painted nails, played ball painted faces, shot silly string,and had a great time meeting all the great kids.

Things I'll always remember about this trip:
*Pulling up to the KCC for the first time and seeing the African children surround the bus.
*Cooking in the kitchen and learning how to make all the new foods.
*Riding on a camel on the beach
*Almost convincing a handcraft wood salesman on the beach to buy my shells
*Listening to Benny sing
*Hundreds of children running towards our bus singing before the Zimmerman brother's dedication. 
*Carol Guest reading her magic book to the African teens.
*Listening to Buffalo's life story
*Feeding the monkeys mango
*Fighting a monkey for a basket of rolls
*Teaching Kindergarten
*Painting the schools
*Finding jellyfish
*The safari
*Stopping at the mud hut when Cindy was there
*Learning to hold water on my head
*Shutting the door to the kitchen and dancing/singing with the women in there.
*Seeing elephants close up
*Shopping with crazy good prices
*Taking Sheryl to church
*Giving her my Book of Mormon
*Singing "Jerimiah Was a Bullfrog" for a class in the secondary school that didn't have a teacher.
*Shadowing Agnes.

Feeding a monkey at the hotel in Mombasa

Playing with the children at the Windridge school

Riding a camel on the beach in Mombasa

I love being here in Africa! The people here are amazing and I hope to come back soon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

University Students in Kenya

Nancy and Purity Mrabu, a Koins sponsored university student

The young man sat on the porch of the Koins Community Center, hoping for a meeting with me.  I was unaware of his situation regarding education.

Chirongo had finished secondary school at Mnyenzeni Secondary, and had successfully applied for admittance to Chuka University, in Kenya.  He needed approximately $ 950.00 to be admitted for his first term of school.  In the fall of 2009 he went to the university, only to find out that the $900.00 he had in hand from Koins was $ 50.00 short, and he was not admitted to school.  He had no means to get the needed $ 50.00.  His family could not help.  He was heartbroken.

It was eight months later that I made my trip to visit the village and my scholarship students.  I had not been told of his educational challenge.  As we sat together, tears filling his eyes as he told me his story, he meekly pulled Kenyan shillings out of his pocket.  He had, for eight months, held every single shilling in a safe place, hoping that when I returned to Kenya, he could explain his dilemma and get some aid.

Holding that amount of money for that long was a feat of excellence.  The money represented his new life, his chance to improve his circumstances, his way to a future; and he was not about to squander it on anything EXCEPT an educational opportunity.

Chirongo, a Koins sponsored university student in Kenya

Today, Chirongo is in his last year of a computer science degree at Chuka University.  He smiles, he laughs, he is outgoing and engaging.  His life is changing because of the tuition that Koins has covered.  His life will be drastically different from the one he might have had without the education he has received.

Koins for Kenya also has students majoring in law, education, environmental studies, accounting and engineering.  They will make a lasting difference in life inside Kenya.

Koins is currently sponsoring 15 university students who have qualified to attend university.  These kids are the best of the best – the top of their class.  They have endeavored to improve their lives and the lives of their village.  We believe this is the essence of educational help in Mnyenzeni.
This is where the Scholarship Program can use your help.  We are constantly looking for sponsors, both for our secondary students and especially our university students.  Your contributions can change their world.  You can make an eternal difference in the advancement of the village, the people, and the families of Mnyenzeni.

If you want to invest in Mnyenzeni in a lasting and enduring way, please sponsor a student.  You can develop a relationship with him or her.  You will see report cards and receive letters.  You can watch as your student grows, matures, and becomes a leader in the community.

The chance to sponsor a student is the chance of a lifetime.  Secondary students’ tuition is currently $350.00 per year if the student is in the village. We have about 12 students who have scored so highly on Level 8 testing that they are in national schools around Kenya. Their tuition ranges from $ 600.00 to $1,450.00 per year, but their education is truly a “prep school” education, and we expect all of them to easily move on to university.

University tuitions range from $ 1,200.00 to $ 3,000.00 per year, depending on the school and college of study.   

At this time, we have several students who have qualified for a university education, but do not have sponsors.  Their hard work and scholastic excellence is hanging by a thread.  If we do not find sponsors for them, we will not be able to support them in this dream for a better future.  It is not necessary to pay the entire scholarship all at once, and you can even sponsor a portion of a scholarship if you are not able to fund a full scholarship.

Looking for an area to make a difference?  Want to help change a life?  Do you want to build a monument to improvement in families and communities?  Here it is.  

Go to the donations page and click on the Scholarship Fund line in the Donation Destination drop box, and help us help these kids in ways you can never imagine.  

If you have questions, contact me at

Asante sana, 

Nancy Littlefield
Scholarship Coordinator, Koins for Kenya

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jessie's Kenyan Experience

Jessie was one of the adults in the July expedition group.  Her work experience involves Occupational Therapy, so working with the kids at the Sean Michels School for Special Needs Children was a natural fit.  She found herself stepping outside the comfortable during her two weeks in Kenya, and that experience changed her:

Jessie with students at the SMS

My trip to Africa with Koins was nothing less than amazing.  Throughout my life I have not been much of a spiritual person. This trip showed me there is more that is out there that I have yet to recognize. I was able to witness and experience a kind of divine intervention that I previously would have never acknowledged.  One such experience happened one day when I was working in the clinic. Naomi came, got me out of the patient screening room, and told me my help was needed in another area. I had no idea what I was going to be doing until we walked into the room where they were doing wound care.  Once I became aware of what I would be helping with, I became quite alarmed. I have always been a very squeamish person and have been known to faint at the site of blood. My initial reaction quickly changed as a sense of calmness prevailed over me. I stayed and assisted with treating, cleaning, and bandaging of wounds for over an hour that day. I did have a few incidents where I felt a little woozy and doubted my ability to continue with the process of cleaning out wounds but the feeling very quickly passed and I was able to continue. This is just one example of an incredible ability to defy the boundaries of my comfort zone while in Africa.  

Painting the new classroom at Miyani

Jessie playing with SMS Students

Greeting students at Miyani Primary school

Jessie and one of the sweet SMS girls

Jessie shadowing Betty

Pounding corn with a baby on your back, all in a days work in Kenya

Life as I knew it before Kenya (B.K.) has changed. I am still just on the cusp of trying to accept, process and understand it all. This trip was everything I had hoped for, needed, and much, much more than I could have ever expected. I met some remarkable people who have become lifelong friends.  I am so excited about the future and am eager to see what it has to bring. Thank you Bret, Ingrid, Jami, Sue, Cindy, Leah and all the locals at Koins for opening  up, making possible and sharing this experience with all of us who are so privileged to have taken part in this expedition. I know every single person who was on this trip has been touched deeply by the experiences we had and shared while in Kenya.