This year’s KenyaHELP Mission Trip was amazing!
Members of the team from left to right are Robert C., Jill T., Bruce C., Nate C., and Betsy M.
Robert shared his thoughts about the trip and the impact it had on him, personally:
During this past summer I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the KenyaHELP Mission team and join them on the mission trip to Kenya. It was a truly life changing experience. Seeing the homes of the students really changed how I view the world around me. Our students’ homes were the size of an average room in an American house. It really made me appreciate what I have.
One of the best parts of the trip was when I visited our partner Kenyan schools for 2 days. I sat through all kinds of classes including a Kiswahili class with no English in it! Every other class was pretty similar to the ones in the US. The Chemistry classes were quite similar as they were reviewing experiments that I did when I took Chemistry the previous year. The history class I visited was also very interesting. All throughout my years of school, my classes presented history from our American point of view. It was a change to view history through another culture’s lens.
In all, it was an amazing trip. I was able to develop friendships. Our KenyaHELP students may come from humble beginnings, but they are determined and ambitious and will soon be leaders!
As always, we were well taken care of by Bundi, or guide. This year we stayed at the hotel Emily in downtown Nairobi, which was convenient for our graduates to access and had great facilities for holding our Nairobi Graduate Networking Day.
KenyaHELP Graduate Networking Day in Nairobi
Karen, Leen, Carol, Chelsea, Caroline
Networking and Catching up Over Lunch
Isaiah, Salim, Jimton, Gregory
We were able to tour several campuses including JKUAT, which had a large agricultural school.
We said our farewells to our Naroibi based graduates and headed to Meru. We used the time prior to the retreat to prepare the materials and games that we would be using.
Preparing for the “Teens Can Make it Happen” Retreat
Our first arrivals were our graduate leaders for the retreat.
From left to right and Back Row to Front Row – Carol, Solomon, Bibian, Festus, Gladwell, Valentine, Davis, Benson
Our graduate assistants jumped right in and set themselves up to deliver content during the retreat as well as handle the logistics of checking the high school students in, helping them find their rooms, getting pictures taken, and helping with getting to background sheets completed by the students. We couldn’t have done it without them!
Teamwork in Preparation for Retreat
After a whirlwind of preparation we were ready for the arrival of our high school students. There were lots of hugs and catching up as our returning students reconnected with everyone.
Warm Greetings and Catching Up
Our three days of retreat time allowed us to cover the “Teens Can Make It Happen” material in such a way that the students were able to personally identify with the concepts and the graduate leaders shared personal stories relating to the messages.
Graduate Leaders Working With Their Teams and Mr. Rincanya, our faculty adviser at Kaaga Boys, who joined us on Saturday afternoon
Kenneth, a future Civil Engineer Solving the Nail Puzzle
Developing SMART goals that are Specific, Measureable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Time Bounded
We learned. (Bruce and Bibian teaching)
We shared. (Adan sharing)
We danced, we sang and we made memories.
KenyaHELP – pursuing our commitment to Make a Difference
The retreat was a success. This year we embraced 40 high school students from four different schools. We were able to connect with and learn more about who they are, what their goals are, and what their challenges are. Through this ongoing connection we work closely with the schools to set boundaries and expectations, and our schools have shared with us that our students are very proud to be a KenyaHELP student and that our students are becoming leaders in their own right.
We took the opportunity, prior to and following the retreat, to visit our partner schools, visit with some of our students, and make some home visits as well.
Visiting Kaaga Boys School and attending classes
Visiting and spending time with some of our KenyaHELP students
The Meru Graduate Networking Day was help following the retreat. This gave our graduates an opportunity to have lunch with our high school students and connect and share stories in order to help our high school students understand what’s possible with hard work and dedication.
Graduate Networking Day in Meru
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: This year’s Harambee Fundraiser and Silent Auction will be held on Friday, November 10th.
WHEN: Friday, November 10th from 6PM to 9PM
WHERE: Stadium View on Holmgren Way
COST: $40 per Adult, $20 per student
CONTACT KenyaHELP FOR TICKETS: eContact Jill Thiede at (920) 655-3612 or email Jill at jillmariet
OUR AGENDA: Celebrate KenyaHELP, it’s students, partner schools, and the Network of generous and committed donors that make it possible. The Randi Faye Trio will be performing and there will be appetizers and a dessert buffet served. The evening will culminate in a silent Auction. Highlighted items include autographed Packers items, vacation packages, golf packages, spa treatments, Restaurant Certificates, Floral Gift, and much, much more.
Nate (Spring 2017); Mohamed (Summer 2017); and Skyla (Fall 2017)
KenyaHELP is very proud of the work that our interns, Nate, Mohamed, and Skyla have contributed in order to help us. Nate played a critical part in preparing the “Teens Can Make It Happen” material for the 2017 retreat. He reworked the presentation materials and the workbook; Mohamed spent time helping to solicit and collect donated items for our Harambee Fundraiser and Silent Auction; and Skyla has allowed us to tap into her videographer talents in order to prepare presentations for sharing with the community at large and at our Harambee Fundraiser.
This year, Nate, our spring intern, was able to join the KenyaHELP team that went to Kenya. Nate shared the following thoughts and insights about his experience:
I was not entirely sure what to expect before going on the trip. Growing up, I have heard about absolute poverty, studied the challenges of third world countries through textbooks and classrooms, and witnessed different portrayals of African nations in the media. My team members gave me plenty of their own personal accounts of voyages to Kenya and the characteristics of the country. Working with KenyaHELP beforehand, I already knew a lot about our students and their struggles. I was aware going into the trip that I would be seeing things that I am not used to, a reality different than the one I live in the U.S. Despite all this, there was no proper way to be prepared for the visit.
My time in Kenya contextualized a lot of the issues that I have studied in a way that I never expected. Being there in person made everything resonate deeper than I could imagine. While I was pleasantly surprised to see signs of economic development, such as modern looking areas of Nairobi for example, it was also discouraging to see signs of economic disparity right alongside it, such as expansive slums. From my observations, it was clear that while some citizens were well off, many others were struggling. Kenya is a beautiful country with its scenic views, but its challenges are also plainly laid out there for all to see.
I made a lot of friends during my time there, some of whom that I still talk to today through Facebook and other forms of communication. Meeting KenyaHELP’s students and graduates was easily the best aspect of the trip for me. What really stood out to me is the resilience of our students. I’ve gotten to read their stories, see their schools, and visit some of their homes. It is clear that there is an abundance of trials in their lives. Yet upon meeting them, I realized that these kids are certain to break free from the cycle of poverty as long as they get supported through high school. They are bright, ambitious, positive, and hopeful for their futures. They hold on to optimism, despite all the reasons that life has given them not to. And they display a high degree of dedication to their studies, going to lengths that many would balk at. Sometimes literally. They told me what their days were like, with many of them being forced to walk an hour or more just to get to school. This is often just the beginning of their obstacles to education; they also have to worry about school fees, proper nutrition, having enough light to do their studies, and many other extreme problems that test their perseverance at such a young age. I have the utmost respect for them and I look up to them for setting an example that I do not think I could do if I were in their situation.
The mission trip and the students weigh on my heart every day. Even though it has been a few months since we have gotten back, they are always in the back of my mind. Seeing Kenya has changed my perspective on America and the world in general. I am painfully aware of the privileges that I enjoy simply due to my country of birth and the dilemmas that the country of Kenya and its citizens face daily. However, if there is anyone that I think can help solve Kenya’s complex problems, I firmly believe that it is KenyaHELP’s students. They are tenacious, hard-working, and amazingly positive. I’m incredibly grateful to KenyaHELP for introducing me to these wonderful individuals. After meeting them in person, I am convinced that as long as they get the assistance they need now, then they will blossom into the vital leaders that Kenya needs for its future.
LETTERS TO OUR DONORS FROM OUR STUDENTS
FROM IRENE NJAMBI:
I can’t hold the tears of joy when I envisage one milestone achievement I have made in life through your support. I honestly don’t imagine where I could be ,the type of person I would be if KenyaHELP never chipped in in my studies. When I look back to some of my friends who never got such a golden opportunity as the one you gave me ,I can only look up and thank God for you KenyaHELP!
How can I pay this? You may never understand the impact you’ve had in my life! An eternal testimony I will keep for the generations to come.
I thank God for using you to bring hope,light and an awakening call in my life,pushing me towards unlocking my potential and making me achieve my dreams! The candle you lit in my life since form two will never go off.
In addition to that am delighted to let you know that am graduating next month on fourth I.e 4/8/2017. You can be sure am the happiest girl at this time of waiting for the day. I will be awarded a bachelor’s degree in commerce Accounting option and don’t forget I have got CPA (K) .Who can deny this is not a double achievement? Just because of your presence in my life has earned me a title I could never have. It was not easy but you’ve been there for me . Jill thank you for giving a shoulder to lean on when I felt that everything was falling apart,thank you for your counsels and encouragement.Sometimes I even contemplated death but you reminded me the purpose for which I was on earth for. Thank you dearly.
I promise to extend the same kindness you have shown mean to the community and more so mentoring the high school students by example.
I already got a job even before I get my certificates and after I got this job, I have received two more interview invitations for jobs and I believe God to sustain me in the college where am tutoring students.
Thank you for being instruments of change in my life.I value and treasure you.May the Lord bless you mightily.
Lots of love
Thank you to everyone who came out to Art Street this year. We did have a 1/2 day more with Friday evening added this year, but we also had some rain in the mix. We are tremendously grateful to everyone who came by the booth and visited with our volunteers and purchased some of our beautiful Kenya arts and crafts. We were able to raise $1,800 for our High School Scholarship Program.
PIZZA RANCH FUNDRAISER: