And So it Begins

March 7, 2020 |

There’s been a lot of anticipation, and finally we’re moving forward with construction on the school.  I left Nanyuki on Friday afternoon after having spent another morning with the crew.  Building works differently here, and the protocol for starting a project like this is really different than in the U.S.  The first day I arrived in Nanyuki, people kept walking onto the property.  They asked what was happening, and then they all kind of just stood around waiting.  They were eagerly hoping for a job.  In an area occupied almost solely by simple farmers, jobs are hard to come by.  The project manager brought a crew from Nairobi, but the goal is to use as many local laborers as possible, especially for the informal jobs.

He told me, “We need to make this their project, like they are part of it.”  Indeed, getting the locals involved is important.  They’re our advocates and supporters, the ones who’ll offer security, and without them, the idea could fail.  Kenyans are all about relationships and community, so you can’t just dump a school down in the middle of a place without connecting with all the neighbors.  

So the project manager called a meeting to establish protocol and give everyone a task.  Within 5 minutes most of the neighbors had stopped what they were doing and walked over to the property.  We worshipped God together on the edge of the field, and it felt like a holy moment.  Then the project manager told them that they must build up trust and show they can do a good job, that they must go out and report honestly that we are building a school (not a university or a hospital or something else).  He showed them our surveyor report to indicate we were indeed building in the correct area and not stealing anyone’s property (very common in Kenya).  We made sure to invite the area manager.  She reports all issues to the chief, so clearly we want to connect and know her.  We hired the lady across the street who cooked Edwin and I delicious chapati back in September to be the cook for the crew.  And the projector manager told them to call me by my name instead of calling me mzungu (foreigner or white person).  And then I watched as men went out with their metal slashers and began to hand slash down an entire field of weeds.  It’s tiresome work and looks like someone swinging a golf club back and forth, but no one complained.  When I left, we were in the process of purchasing posts and metal link fence that will be put in the ground and then have beautiful hedges planted over top, which creates a secure fence that no one can break through.  They have to plant the hedges quickly before the April rains come.

So this is the beginning, and now comes the part where we need your help.  Our prayer is that we’ll be able to complete all of Phase 1 this year including 4 classrooms, office space, teacher housing, and 1 dormitory.  We’ve raised part of the money to do this, but we’re still short $150,000.  I know that’s a lot of money, but I’ve also seen miracles happen this past year. 

Our first miracle is that a donor has offered to match the next $20,000 of donations!  This means your $100 becomes $200, your $1000 becomes $2000, your $5000 becomes $10,000 etc. 

If we can raise these matching funds quickly, this will allow us to keep building without having to pause in the middle of the project, to keep the momentum going, and to keep our deadline of opening in January.  Are you able to help?  

You can DONATE HERE 

Or, mail a check here:

Grain of Rice Project

PO Box 91

Brookville, IN 47012

or donate through our Facebook fundraiser.

These are some of the local kids I met who actually live right across the road.  Imagine the impact the school could have on their lives one day.  Thank you so much for continuing to be part of this huge dream. 

Leave a Comment

Share

Expanding the Vision: Starting a School

March 18, 2019 |

I remember 6 years ago when we started Grain of Rice Project that we literally had almost nothing…only a borrowed sewing machine and some beads.  We humbly started working in a tin shack beauty salon with our artisans crammed in one tiny backroom that was so small you could stretch your arms out and touch…

Read More

A baby, a village, and hope

January 20, 2019 |

I’m back in Kenya– baby in tow.  I can actually say that I think flying internationally with a baby is easier than doing so while pregnant.  I wasn’t spending the whole flight watching my legs swell up but instead watching Ellis, which is much better.  Thirteen hours goes by a lot faster when you have…

Read More

A Tribute to Dinah

December 28, 2018 |

After a long battle with cancer, this week Grain of Rice Project lost our dear friend and supporter, Dinah Woelfel.  In our nearly 6 year journey as an organization, there have been a few behind the scenes people who’ve been instrumental in helping us move forward and grow the vision.  Dinah was one of those…

Read More

Simplicity and Advent

December 13, 2018 |

I can’t believe there’s only 12 days until Christmas.  Perhaps like many of you, I find this time of year a little overwhelming.  What I want in my heart is to be reflecting on the Advent season reminders of hope, joy, love, and peace, but instead everything just feels like a lot.   The lines at…

Read More

The Free Willy Club and Lemonade Stand Innocence

September 10, 2018 |

When I was in the fourth grade,  I helped start a Free Willy club.   As best as I can recollect,  during recess a group of friends and I wrote down our plans to raise money to save this whale.   If you’re a kid of the 90s you remember the Free Willy movie, and know what…

Read More

The Reality

April 30, 2018 |

I love iMessaging—it makes the world smaller and easily allows our team in Kenya to send me pictures when I’m not there.  It keeps us connected.  Usually the pictures I get are the happy type: smiling kids, videos of them reciting poetry, and beautiful photos of their artwork. But the ones I received this week…

Read More

Amazing Things

March 5, 2018 |

I know I’m supposed to write a lot when I’m in Kenya.  I know people like to hear about what’s happening–the good things, the funny stories.  And there a lot of those.  But in all honesty, sometimes once the end of the day has reached, I haven’t a morsel of energy left to spend on…

Read More

Parent Involvement

February 11, 2018 |

One thing I have learned on this Grain of Rice Project journey is that it is all about having faith, and being willing to take risks.  All of our programs, from the kids, to girls, to footballers, are exciting, but sometimes challenging, and always so much bigger than myself or anyone person.  Indeed it is…

Read More

The Start of 2018!

January 21, 2018 |

It’s been great to start off 2018 in Kenya with all of our Grain of Rice team.  I arrived in Kenya on January 2, and quickly jumped into all that is happening.  We began the first day with a New Years party for all of our artisans, children, footballers, and staff who are a daily…

Read More

Cultivating Beauty from the Dirt

November 9, 2017 |

It may be November, but this week, I’ve still been uprooting carrots and vegetables from my garden.  If you live in Northwest Indiana, you know that this is nothing short of a miracle.  Fall has pushed itself in, and as much as I wish I could be one of those people who walk around proclaiming…

Read More