It Takes A Village: part 1

Africa, Kenya, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Volunteering & Giving Back — By on April 4, 2007 at 7:55 am

A big motivation for going on this RTW trip was to learn about how other people live. And since we’ve been blessed by being born in middle-class America, we wanted to donate some time and money to a good cause. What better way to accomplish both than to volunteer?

Jen surfed the net and found Village Volunteers, a nonprofit based in Seattle that offered a program helping children at a rural school outside of Kitale, Kenya. We chose it because it was more affordable than some of the bigger volunteer organizations, worked in partnership with international villages for sustainable development projects and seemed like it’d provide lots of hands-on interaction with the locals. What really sold us, though, was the contagious passion of founder Shana Greene when she spoke about Village Volunteers’ mission of helping villages help themselves.

After living for almost a month last September at Pathfinder Academy in Kenya and working directly with the twelve girls who boarded at the school, it was obvious that we were getting so much more than we could ever give. They generously opened their doors for us and let us into their lives. We read them “Harry Potter,” Amanda utilized her gymnastics skills to teach dance classes and we wrote a play for the students to perform. The girls showed us how to do our laundry by hand, braided our hair and demonstrated how to play cacti (a game similar to dodge ball).

By far the biggest lesson these intelligent young women showed us is that life can be incredibly hard and unfair (some had lost parents to AIDS or been physically attacked) but the human spirit is amazingly resilient-and you can’t fail as long as you never stop trying. Their spark for life and unwavering determination stayed with us long after we left. We want to thank the students, and the school’s director, Joshua Machinga, for allowing us to share in their daily life.

If you’d like to help a student at Pathfinder Academy continue their education, we’d like to share some information about a few of the boarders who need sponsorship. Their photos and stories are below:

Name: Calvin Magara
Age: 11 years old
Family: She lives with her mom and is the youngest of five brothers and four sisters.
Favorite subject: English
Favorite game: Cricket
Favorite food: Spaghetti
What she wants to be: A secretary in a big office, like in Nairobi.
Her wish: If she weren’t a secretary, she wants to be a police officer.

Name: Constance Jumba
Age: 12 years old
Family: She has three brothers, two sisters and lives with her mom and dad who are farmers. They grow maize, beans, sunflowers and vegetables. To help, she plants seeds, cooks, washes dishes, cleans the compound. The family sells the food and eats it.
Favorite subjects: Science and math. She expecially likes to learn about health education.
Favorite games: Athletics such as football and netball
Favorite foods: Beef, chicken and rice
What she wants to be: An engineer
Her wish: If she could have only one, it would be for more butter. Her other is to go to the USA.

Name: Claire Nato
Age: 11 years old
Family: She is the youngest of three girls and lives with her father. When she’s not at school, she washes utensils, cleans, reads and helps with cooking. She says she has cows and cats on the farm and her family grows beans and maize.
Favorite subject: Science-especially learning about food and nutrition.
Favorite game: Football
What she wants to be: A doctor
Her wish: To go to school in the United States.

Name: Diana Kasudi
Age: 11
Family: She lives with her mom and is the youngest of two brothers and four sisters. She says she sweeps the house and reads storybooks when she’s not in school.
Favorite subject: English and Science. She likes learning about food and nutrition.
Favorite games: Football

Favorite food: Cake and spaghetti

What she wants to be when she grows up: A surgeon/doctor
Her wish: To have a job that she likes.

Name: Doris Masinde
Age: 15 Years
Family: She lives with her mother and has four brothers and one sister. Her father has passed away. She just started at Pathfinder and walks to school everyday, about 2 kilometers. When she’s not in school, she says she helps her mother to work at home.
Favorite subjects: English, Swahili
Favorite games: Soccer, volleyball, cricket, netball
Favorite food: Rice
What she wants to be: A nurse or farmer
Her wish: She would like to have a plot of land to farm vegetables.

Name: Marcy Watibini
Age: 13 years
Family: She lives with her mother and three brothers and is the youngest child. When she’s not in school, she helps her mom with washing the clothes, sweeping the house, washing utensils, and does most of the cooking for the household (she makes rice, tea and ugali).
Favorite foods: Rice and chapatti
Favorite games: Football and net ball
Favorite subjects: Science, Christian education and reproductive health.
What she wants to be: A nun in the Catholic Church.
Her wish: To go to America.

Here are some examples of specific sponsorship opportunities:

Primary Education Fees for one year: $188
Primary Education Fees plus Room and Board for one year: $492
Boarder’s Uniform and Supplies: $76
Supplies for a Mathematics Class: $7
Supplies for an English or Swahili Class: $7

You can choose to donate towards a specific category above or simply give as little (or as much!) as you’d like. Village Volunteers is 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible. For more information, visit You can mail checks to:

Village Volunteers
5100 S. Dawson Street, Suite 105
Seattle, WA 98118

The Lost Girls and Village Volunteers thank you!

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  • Desert Songbird says:

    What a phenomenal and incredible experience you had with this one. I’m deeply touched by this. The priests from my parish are from Uganda and Kenya, and young people just like these beautiful girls and their education is something our community supports.

    Thank you for introducing these girls to us.

  • the_cookie_maudester says:

    You guys are the coolest, grooviest, funkiest blessings!

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