In my monthly blog articles I normally talk about either something that is going on within the “Internet marketing” community or about one of our clients. This month I’m getting a little more personal as I tell you about my trip to Kenya in June with Global Teams.
Global Teams is an international mission group that happens to be one of our clients and a missionary group my family personally supports. So I’m excited to have the opportunity to tell you first hand about my experience with them “out in the field,” limited as it was.
Experiencing Kenya Through the Everyday Life Of Our Friends
I went for a week to visit my friends Bryson and Deborah Samboja whom we’ve had the opportunity to host at our home when they are in Orlando for meetings.
Bryson is the Global Teams African Area Director, responsible for overseeing the missionary needs of all African countries for Global Teams. He has done a tremendous job setting up country coordinators and missionaries in several different African countries.
Even with all of that responsibility, Bryson and Deborah were willing to take on not only Sheryl Shaw, the North American Area Director for Global Teams, and myself for a week, but they are also hosting my 22-year-old daughter Alexi and another young woman Alicia for 2 months as missionary interns.
Living Among The Local Kenyans
The girls are having the opportunity to see what it is like to live in Kenya as a “regular villager,” learning to cook over open fires, washing their clothes by hand in buckets and generally learning how to be very flexible in various things that we take for granted in the U.S. such as bathroom facilities and comfortable public transportation.
Sheryl and I accompanied Alexi and Alicia on the trip to Kenya and visited a couple of the churches that Bryson has help start and the incredible school that he has built. The much-needed school was a dream of his when he first moved to the area of Kwale where he now lives.
Build A Toilet and They Will Come
He started with just a toilet, built out in the middle of the area he had purchased for the school. Once he was able to buy the land, he only had enough money left to build the toilet. So he went for it, hoping that it would build curiosity and interest in the area about the school.
It did the job! The local villagers in the area where the school would be built were fascinated with the “toilet” that was built in the middle of a clearing. Their curiosity and interest were so great about why the toilet had been built that they all started asking about it, thereby learning about the dream of building a school for their children to attend. You see, the school would be Christian based and the people in this area were not necessarily Christian, so it might be difficult for them to accept the school even though it was needed for their children.
The First Building and Class Are Realized
But the dream continued and the first building was built for a pre-k classroom. I think maybe 6 families decided to send their children to the first class being held.
That class of kids has grown to 15 or 20 and they are in grade 3 now! The school has continued to grow each year with more classrooms and buildings. Lunch is even served for the children so they can continue on with their classes in the afternoon.
A few families are not able to afford the lunch, so their children leave school and walk home for lunch, causing them to miss the afternoon classes. It only costs about $2.00 per child per week for lunch, but for some that is more than they can afford.
So Much Can Be Achieved For So Little
I have to admit, it occurred to me how easy it would be some of us who are more fortunate to help provide scholarship money for those students who need the $2.00 per week to remain at school for lunch so they don’t have to miss their afternoon classes. One less latte and we can feed a child lunch for that entire week.
The School Continues To Grow and Enhance the Lives of the Children
There are now around 60 children at the school with classes ranging from pre-k through grade 3. Each year the original “class” of children, and of course all the ones that have now joined them in that grade, move up to the next year and the school begins teaching the next level for that group of kids while they have new students come in for each of the lower grades. The school has been a tremendous blessing for the villagers in that area and the children are very well taught. I believe that they would rival the children in the same grade levels within the U.S. in their knowledge and what they have learned.
Much More Potential On the Drawing Board
Bryson has much bigger plans for the school. More buildings are on the drawing board for more classrooms and even a health clinic, just waiting for funding. He hopes to have the school go all the way to grade 8 as the original class continues to move up each year. But he’ll need more facilities to pull that off.
I had heard about the school for the last 2-3 years since I’ve gotten to know Bryson and Deborah through Global Teams. But after seeing the school in person, it far surpassed my expectations in terms of how well the buildings were built, how many students the school was teaching now, and the absolute dedication of the teachers who love the children and enjoy seeing them learn.
If you are interested in contacting Bryson to find out more about his work in Kenya and the incredible school he has built and continues to build, you can contact him through Global Teams here. Until next month, Kwa Heri (Goodbye in Swahili).