100 Humanitarians Turned 3 years old in July, after making it through the “Terrible Twos!” Not really, we had an amazing year with three full expeditions and a great deal of love and accomplishments. Some highlights:
Building 3 Water Storage Systems (3000 liter tanks) in three areas of Kenya that have provided rainwater for families in the areas
Donated 5 Water Filters from The Waterbearers organization to provide clean water to families
Built 20 garden boxes and 8 garden towers for families in Bomet and Nkareta, Kenya
Distributed 1000+ Days for Girls Kits sewn by women in the Zariel and Bomet sewing centers
Supported 25 students in school from Kindergarten to Senior year with three graduates and one happening at the end of the year
Donated 3 goats, 5 chickens, and a cow to families in Bomet and Ntulele
Supported our first post-high school student to go to Teacher’s College
Planted 3500 trees
Built the Tabby Training Center in Bomet to serve the community with mentoring classes in economic development
So much more than that happened, but how do you explain all of the emotions and feelings and experiences that happen on these expeditions? You don’t, so we invite you to come with us! Our expeditions are being built out for 2019. There are four opportunities to travel with 100 Humanitarians to Kenya, but these trips are filling up quickly!
February 2019 with Scott and Becky Mackintosh – 2 spots available June 2019 with Heidi Totten – Currently accepting deposits October 2019 with Renae Southworth – Creating the Wait List November 2019 with Heidi Totten – Creating the Wait List
If Kenya is calling, now is the time to let us know what your plans are to join us!
Serve Locally, Give Globally. In early April, Lori Hildebrand and I did an assembly at Rose Creek Elementary in Riverton, Utah, sharing with them our experiences in Kenya. Lori and her sons are joining 100 Humanitarians International for our June expedition to serve kids in Kenya, and wanted to do a fundraiser to help pay for school fees and trees that we are planting on our trip. Lori went to Kenya twice, in 2013 and 2014, and knew that when her sons, Max and Henry, were old enough, she would take them.
Lori approached her sons’ school, and asked if they would be willing to let us do an assembly, and then launch a Quarters for Kids in Kenya campaign for ten days. The school loved the idea, and set a goal to raise $1000, or 4 quarters per child.
Go out into the neighborhood/community and ask people if they have any opportunities to do service in exchange for quarters. Projects could include weeding, lawn mowing, dusting, anything!
Gather quarters and put them in your classroom “Quarters for Kenya Kids” box.
Each day, the teacher turns the boxes into the office to be put in a bigger jar for counting.
Do this for ten days, and then we count.
In ten days, Rose Creek Elementary kids were able to raise $1521.21! They beat their goal by $500. The best part? They want to make this an annual fundraiser and be a part of helping educate these kids in Kenya.
Where Do the Funds Go?
100 Humanitarians International is currently sponsoring 25 children in Kenya in school. Eleven are in Primary School, and this fundraiser will keep them all in school for the remainder of the year. $1000 will go towards those school fees. On our June expedition, we will be planting trees with children at schools as well, so the additional $500 will go towards purchasing trees for our team to plant, as part of a reforestation project that we are working on.
Would you like to host a “Serve Locally, Give Globally” fundraising campaign at your school? You can choose from a variety of projects:
The Mau Forest is a really beautiful area of Kenya, and on my second trip during a very rainy and muddy day, we drove up to visit Tenkes School. When we got out of the jeep, we were greeted by about 15 elders who were on the board of the school. They gave us a tour of the school, and showed us two things that really had an impact on me. First, the desks. There were just not enough for the students, and they were sitting 4-5 in a desk.
There were three classrooms with about 300 students at the school. Each classroom had about 6-8 desks, so most kids were sitting on the floor. Or standing. Can you imagine learning while standing all day? I committed to figure out how to raise funds for 15-20 more desks at least for the school. Turned out that was the really easy thing to do – raise funds. The hard part is cutting down trees and planing wood and building the desks. They don’t have Home Depot down the road with perfect planks for building. That’s the thing you really learn in a developing country quickly; just how unavailable resources are that you can easily get in the U.S.
Next on the tour was the kitchen that volunteer parents use to cook for 300 students each day. Children had to bring their own firewood, or they would get caned or beaten. A typical lunch would be ugali, which is similar to a corn polenta. Kenyans also drink African tea, and so that is often what the students will have. The Mau Forest can get very cold, because it is at a higher elevation than the Maasai Mara. This kitchen was falling apart pretty quickly, and didn’t provide shelter for the cooks when it rained. So my second commitment was to rebuild the kitchen, and we held the event A Taste of Kenya to do just that.
One of the objectives of Tenkes School is to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation through education. These men were very aware of the issue, and were very enthusiastic to share with me how they were working to stop FGM. This was the first time I had experienced that in Kenya from men, and it was really powerful. We spent several hours with them discussing their challenges.
It was a few months later that the kitchen fell down after severe rainstorms in The Mau. We coordinated efforts with the school, and on our first official expedition to Kenya we were able to visit Tenkes School and help build the final desks (we ended up donating 20.) The kitchen was rebuilt, and lunch was cooked for our team in the new kitchen.
The new kitchen was built with two rooms, so that a teacher would be able to sleep on one side. We had lunch with the students and school community, and were invited to eat goat with the elders who were on the Tenkes School Board.
We also planted 75 trees at the school as part of our reforestation project, because trees bring in water, but also provide firewood for the community as they grow. It was a wonderful day at the school and the impact on our team was tangible.
I remember how I felt, after 40 hours of flying and 5 hours of driving to the Maasai Mara. I felt like I had been run over by a safari jeep, and I didn’t look much better. And yet, I was so happy, when we drove up to this scene. A whole group of Maasai celebrating my friend Edith’s housewarming party. It was a few days later that I dubbed the tree in this picture Edith’s “Wisdom Tree” and it has become a symbol of home in Kenya for me over the past few years.
Meeting Mama Helen
It was also where I met Mama Helen, who is my Maasai Mum. Actually, I had met her on my first trip, but it was briefly. It’s amazing all of the things that are so meaningful for me now that were launched on that day. We ate, celebrated, and I was able to hug friends I had met six months earlier.
This was my “scouting trip” after starting 100 Humanitarians in July 2015. At the time, I just wanted to see what was possible to create. I decided to spend two weeks just immersed in the tribe and the culture while waiting for insight and direction. Little did I know how important this tribe would become in my life.
So many tender moments came out of that day. I also met my Maasai Dad, who I had the blessing of knowing for a year and a half before he passed away in June 2017. He didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Maasai, but whenever I saw him he held my hand and hugged me, and sometimes that is all it takes to create a bond.
How do I even put into words my experiences in Kenya? It has been my refiner’s fire. It has changed me to the core. My ability to share my heart and the miracles I have experienced will be limited, but it is my honor to serve alongside the people of Kenya, and I will do my best to honor them.
– Heidi Totten, Executive Director of 100 Humanitarians International