Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sponsoring an Orphan

I know, it has been a VERY long time since I've posted anything. But I'm back in full swing (hopefully) so please continue to be the wonderful blog-checkers you are.

Today I'd like to briefly mention an opportunity I recently heard about. In 2007 I spent 3 months in Cuenca, Ecuador taking care of orphans. I worked primarily with 10 incredible handicapped children, but spent some time in other 0rphanages with babies and toddlers. The organization I went with, Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO) has started a sponsorship program where we are able to sponsor a child. The goal is to make the orphanages feel more like families so that these children can grow up with stability and a sense of who they are. As I learn more about this life-changing program, I'll keep you updated.

Love you all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

African Albinism

My goodness. This story is incredible.

Please take 60 seconds to click the link below and read this story,
you'll be amazed at the enlightenment and appreciation you come away with.
Think of it as your way of making a difference in the world today.

If you'd like to get in contact with Jami, (the American woman pictured in this story) leave a comment on this post. To donate to this cause, let me know by emailing me:, or visit

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some of my favorite pics from the trip:

Woman working in her shamba (garden)

Sunset over the Mwache River

View of the country surrounding our village
(the blue roof is the Koins for Kenya workshop)

Seriously. Who is that cute?!

Friday, October 1, 2010

When I want to complain about cooking...

If I asked a Kenyan woman what I need to do to prepare a meal, this is what she'd say:

"Cut the wood for the fire,

carry the wood home,

fetch the water a bucket at a time,

if you're luck enough to have meat, kill it (normally a woman's job. This boy is either very out of the ordinary, or just wanted a picture to be taken of him.),




And do it all with a baby on your back and a smile on your face!"
And I would reply, "what happened to picking up a rotisserie chicken at the store?!"
Watch the video on the previous post to see how they carry the huge piles of sticks on their head. Seriously impressive.

Kenyan Women Carrying Firewood (they're laughing because the big white man is tyring to help)

Monday, September 27, 2010

An African Memory, written by my mom

Two incredible school teachers, Mama Cindy and Mama Chisi

I love Kenya. I love everything about it, (including the smelly streets of Mombasa). But without a doubt, what I love most is the people. This trip was no different from the seven previous I've taken in that I'm always taken off guard by the awakening of my spirit when I'm with the people. There is such a mixture--gratitude for my life, gratitude for their examples, gratitude that our worlds are no longer separated; grateful that these people will forever be infused in my soul as much as anything else that is or has ever been a part of me.
I really like who I am in Kenya. I love feeling like I can make a difference. I love knowing that we, Koins for Kenya, have made a difference. This trip, the reality of that difference became manifest on more than one occasion. I loved watching the Americans I was with. Many of them, seasoned humanitarians, poured their passion for good into the lives of our African brothers and sisters. Without hesitation they took their hands, they held their babies, they taught their children. I honestly felt overwhelming joy to be a part of something so good. I was unaware still that I would soon need my dear friend, an African woman, to reach out and hold my hand, whipe my tears, and offer kind words of consolation.
One evening as our group was gathered beneath the moonlight reflecting on our experiences of the day and enjoying each others' company, we were interrupted with tragic news that a young boy had just passed away under the mango tree no more than 50 feet from where we were sitting. He and his uncle were trying to reach the dispensary in hopes of gaining access to medication that might save his life. They didn't make it.
His name was Charo.
He was 12 years old.
He had gone to school that day, despite his horrible headache, so that he wouldn't miss out on end-of-term testing. By the time he got home from school and his mother returned from working in the fields near their home, he was terribly ill. They had walked several miles to get help. As I became more aware of this child and his story, my emotions couldn't be contained. I was mourning the death of a child I didn't even know. Everything I love about Kenya was completely overshadowed by everything I hate about it: the lack of food, the inability to prevent very preventable diseases, the scarcity of medical services, the absence of clean water. The list goes on and on. And then a hand reached out and took my hand, an arm pulled me in, and there was a shoulder for me to cry on. My African friend without words, told me it would be OK, that she was there for me, and taught me again the importance of each of us doing what we can to lift the burdens of our brothers and sisters.

Mom, handing out pencils to the teachers at "Windridge, Kenya"

Mom with her kindred spirit, Mama Fatuma

Mom, painting the school that the 6th graders at Windridge Elementary built with their fundraising.

Cindy Workman

Isn't she so cool!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interview with the Scholarship Coordinator

Nancy Littlefield became involved with Koins for Kenya in 2004. Her love of education, and particularly teenagers led to her area of work with the scholarship program in Mnyenzeni. As Scholarship Coordinator, Nancy tracks students who have been chosen to receive scholarship assistance at the secondary school, coordinates student/sponsor information, and raises funds to allow the scholarship program to succeed. Nancy, a homemaker and mother of three daughters and nine grandchildren, divides her time between Park City, Utah and Seattle, Washington.

I grew up with Nancy as my second mom. She has an enormous heart, and she really knows her stuff!
Here are some of her thoughts on the scholarship program:

"We are ALWAYS looking for sponsors for our students. Five years ago we started the program with one student being sponsored. It grew over the five years, and last year we sponsored 97 students at Mnyenzeni Secondary School. The tuition for one year is $ 300.00. It can be paid all together, or in installments. It can be paid by check to:

Koins for Kenya

252 North Preston Drive

Alpine, UT


or by credit card online through the website. The families of these students cannot pay the tuition fees because many of them make only a little more than the tuition EVERY YEAR. Most families resort to choosing one child in a group of about 30 cousins who they think will do the best in school, and that child gets to go to secondary school. The future of Kenya [and the world as a whole] depends greatly on the ability of the children to be educated.

One trip to Costco would almost cover a year's tuition.

Report cards and letters from students are sent to the sponsors three times a year, at the end of each term, and letters from sponsors to students are often sent as well."

If you're interested in sponsoring a student, comment on this post or email me at

You can also go to to get in contact with Nancy directly.