Good morning and Jambo friends and family,
The morning call for prayer was just played from a nearby Mosque, the current time here is 5AM. The Kamoti home has just began to stir Mama Kamoti, Miriam, a few others, as well as the rooster in the chicken coop and myself are the only ones awake. As the crickets are singing their unified chorus the rooster is also calling to the rapid approach of the sun. The other roosters in the valley can now be heard echoing the Kamoti roosters’ morning bugle call. Intermittently, mixed in with these noises you can hear the muffled sounds of water quietly being collected from the cistern near the home, the smell of the morning fires beginning to burn. There are no sounds of airplanes or of traffic, just these ancient sounds of humans and their environment beginning the new day. This is so very peaceful, even now as you can hear more of the surrounding village begin to wake. There is a unified focus on welcoming the day and the duties entailed, here in the dawn hours there are no distractions there is something spiritual in these moments.
Today we have much planned and will be going to Boheka and painting the schools mural. Every school that Grant Victor Cares and Koins for Kenya has funded has been adorned with either a mural around the water cistern or one on a wall. The choice as to what is painted is always influenced by the qualities, personalities and history of the village the school serves. The painting serves as a landmark as well as a reminder for the eyes that see it that people they may never meet love and care about the future of everyone in the village and truly in Kenya. An important thing to mention is that here in the rural parts of Kenya as well as even in the cities there are few employment opportunities, this is why Grant Victor Cares ensures to use the funds we raise to employing local skilled and general laborers in the building the schools. Our travel teams have assisted in the painting of the schools and have always painted the murals, so a special thanks goes home to Mandee Thomas for her passion and creativity she has poured into this year’s design. (I’m excited to see this once it’s completed) So today’s plan is to travel to Boheka and work on the mural. There is also a small/large ceremony the village and local supporters of Grant Victor Cares will have to comemorate the “handing over” of the school. Until this is done no one even occupies the schoolrom until is handed over, this is an important custom to the locals as this transfers the school entirely to village. Let me take a moment to try to describe a sample sample of the events. After speeches by William Kamoti (the son of Mama Kamoti) and Madam Carol there was a bit of dancing and I can tell you Jory Burton and Matt Jensen have become quite popular with the ladies. (Matt was busting out moves he hasn’t used since high school, Jory was, well Jory) An important thing to note as well is that for a school in Kenya to receive any governmental funding it must have certain criteria such as a specific number of school rooms depending on the density of the surrounding population as well as latrines and a source of water. This is each dollar, each coin given to Koins for Kenya directly or by way of Grant Victor Cares means so much, so thank you all again.
I want to just take a moment to address something I have been asked several times. “Why do you raise money to help people in Kenya rather than people in you local community?” The answer is complex and at the same time really simple” First, the money we raise goes so much further here it is and to make a larger impact. Secondly, we have all fallen deeply in love with the Kenyan people. Thirdly, through the Koins for Kenya charity we have partnered with Madam Leah and her team giving us locals that can see where there is the most need and direct us there. Finally, everyone I have spoken with about this also gives to other causes, this one just has a special place in our hearts. I recommend seeing if you can be part of a future travel team and then you will know why this effort and these people forever have a special home in our heart that springing from there has becomes a passion.
The sun has begun to rise so I am going to take a break a just be in the moment. Before I go I wanted to give a special shout out to my wife, daughter, son and grandson and say you inspire me to be my very best self, thank you and I love you.
A few later hours and we are all loaded into the vans with a couple of additiins, we now have Peter a scholarship recipient that traveled around sixteen hours by bus from Uganda to come visit with the travel team. We also have Juma who is a professional bodygaurd for the Honerable William Kamoti, he is a MOP (member of parliament). Our first stop is in the school in the village of Kangakamo this village is currently struggling with water shortages making the daily chores of collecting life’s water much more of an endeavor. We met with elders of the village and teachers from the school and they explained the growth of the school as well as their current needs. Then the children gathered in their respective classes and some of the team handed out supplies and teaching material such as posters with multiplication tables as well as maps. As soon as this was completed we had a slightly mismatched football match in the with the school children. Due to the sheer skill level mismatch our game of football quickly began a game of tag Ruby keepaway that ended with a tie of one to one. It’s important to let those of you unfamiliar with previous projects that our visit to Kangakamo was just a short one to drop off supplies, and play some football of course.
Once we were done having fun and saying hi to old friends it was quickly time to say goodbye. We loaded back up and headed to the village of Boheka.
Today is a very special day in Boheka because the school has finally been certified by the Kenyan government, as stated previously this means the school as well the teachers will now receive funding from the government. This is a tremendous blessing and well deserved. When the first classroom in Boheka was built it served 150 students and as of today the school serves 400 students. During my previous visit there were so many children they were still teaching some of the school under a large Mango tree. That is no longer the case since there are now enough classrooms that all the children can learn classrooms with desks. Being back here I saw many familiar faces and was happy to be able to visit and chatch up a little.
We were lucky to have MOP Michael Kamoti and Madam Carol who were at the village to welcome us. It was announced that the village of Kanyanbuni, (the village I visited two years ago) has scored first place in the national educational exam. This exam is given every year and takes a week to complete. This is huge for the Koins for Kenya program as well as Grant Victor Cares but more especially for the Kanyanbuni students as well as the teachers efforts. Congratulations Kanyanbuni!!!
Due to the continued support from Koins for Kenya, Grant Victor Cares and each of you there is so much love shared with us from the local people. Part of today’s visit was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newest classroom that has been added to the school. To really appreciate this you will need to arrange coming on a future trip if you decide to please reach out to Jeff Matthews directly.
We are now back at our residence Mama Kamotis house and are wrapping up dinner. Today did not go entirely according to plan since there was far more rain than we has expected. This is always a fun time full of laughter and silliness partly because we are here with Burt Matthews and also we are all exauhsted. This is such an amazing experience my hope is that some of you will take up the call and come on a future visit.