A little over four months ago, I found myself sitting in a presentation with my wife and daughter that would have a significant impact on our family this year.
The presentation was given by a family in our neighborhood (the Tingey family for those of who know them) who had recently returned from a humanitarian project in Kenya. As they shared their experiences, their videos, and what they personally gained from the experience, I felt something begin to stir inside of me. I don’t know if it was the African culture, the adventure, or the desire to help that was so contagious. But regardless, when I looked at my wife, I could tell she was feeling the same thing and knew it was over.
Later that evening, we talked at length about the service opportunities we had just learned about, and before we knew it, we had decided to make Kenya part of our family’s plans for 2012. We didn’t know exactly how it would work, what we’d do, or how we’d make it happen, but we decided to set the goal and dig in.
Soon we began learning more about the humanitarian organization the Tingey family had worked through for their project. The organization is called Koins for Kenya, a Utah-based non-profit focused on bringing education to the rural areas of Kenya where the grip of poverty has held people hostage for generations. Their focus on education completely resonates with me. I believe education is the key to overcoming poverty and causing real change to happen over the years. I also appreciate how Koins is a volunteer organization where 100% of all donations go directly to fund the projects on the ground. After talking with more with their board members, I decided it was an organization we could trust.
Around this same time, we learned that our neighbors, Curt and Carol Ann Guest (who happened to be at the same meeting with us), had set a similar goal with their family to do some humanitarian service in Kenya this year. So we joined forces with them and decided to build a school through Koins for Kenya along with the oldest children from our families. We set the date for July and began planning our project together.
We wanted to get our entire neighborhood involved so we started by holding a few neighborhood meetings where we shared more information about the school project and invited them to donate. We asked the Tingeys to share a bit more at these meetings, and to answer questions on behalf of Koins. They were extremely gracious and helpful.
The generosity of our neighborhood floored us.
After only two meetings, we had gathered over half the money required to build a school through Koins. We’re hoping to name the school “Hidden Springs” in recognition of our generous community. We plan to leave a little piece of Fruit Heights in Africa.
Despite the positive start, we still have more money to raise. So if you believe in what we’re trying to do and would like to help, we welcome your donation. Feel free to contact us directly if you’d like more details on the project or how to send a check.
The school will be built in one of the Mnyenzeni villages supported by Koins. The project will provide a lot of jobs for the locals. The local crew will begin construction soon and then we’ll show up later in July, during the final stages of construction to help with finishing touches. We’re planning to spend two weeks in the village, learning more about their culture, their needs, and helping get the new school off the ground.
We’re incredibly excited about this new adventure. We hope you’ll join us by following this blog, our updates, and the many photos to come. Thanks for your support!