Link to an introduction to the work in Mtito Andei, Kenya.
Early Spring 2020 Kimer-Kamba Center Kenya Update
It’s been about nine months since I posted an update on the work in Mtito Andei, Kenya. Lots of impactful work has been continuing at the ministry and community complex led by Rev. Michael Uthasyo Kimindu, thanks to funding from the Global Justice Institute, Global Roots, myself and my business, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer. I continue to commit at least 5% of my total revenue to this work.
Especially with the water well going operational, a wide variety of work and ministry has been ongoing. Since my last update, this has included:
- Forming an advisory board of local leaders to build trust and stronger bonds to the community.
- Holding educational workshops with girls to discuss HIV, early pregnancy and early marriage, and providing them food to take home.
- Meeting with an area government chief to discuss collaboration on issues of violence, alcoholism, drugs, poverty, commercial sex work and school dropout.
- Faith-based educational workshops to encourage more open acceptance of sexual minorities.
- Collecting cultural artifacts for display so the local people can appreciate their heritage.
- Weekly worship of Neema Metropolitan Community Church, with a non-judgmental message of acceptance and love for ALL people, continues at the worship gazebo.
In addition to these group type gathering, several dozen people come every month for water, foodstuffs and counseling.
Often women with no source of income take the vegetables into town to sell to make a living.
Impact of CorunaVirus: This is impacting Kenya too. The center is providing free water for near by residents to take home for handwashing, as well as free showers at the center.
Future plans: Sometime in the next year, a missions team led by St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church of Raleigh, NC will bring used computer equipment to help set up a lab for vocational training. We are always raising funds to build an additional Kamba tribal hut to house the equipment.
Contributions welcomed! Donations are fully tax deductible and checks can be written to Other Sheep, a US 501-c(3) and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. Or call or email me for additional information, [email protected] 919-787-7315.
Late Spring / Early Summer 2019 Kimer-Kamba Center Kenya Update
BIG NEWS: For those going to the tri-annual MCC Church General Conference in Orlando, Florida in early July, Rev. Michael Kimindu will be attending. Please do be sure to meet him!
Activity is picking up exponentially at the ministry complex in Mtito Andei, Kenya with the new well fully operational. Nearby residents now have a reliable and cheap source of water in their arid region, and the income can help make our work there more self-sustaining.
In terms of the recent progress with the ministry, Rev. Michael Kimindu writes, “We have various vegetables, pawpaws, bananas and other natural vegetation. (See photos!) We now have two monthly meetings one for the villagers where I am the spiritual adviser with 43 members registered so far, and the other one is a self-help group where I am the chair person. We contribute and lend money to members (table banking.) Our vision is to eradicate poverty we are 13 so far.
Ongoing work includes holding worship services (Neema Metropolitan Community Church) that welcomes a diverse set of sexual minorities so often ostracized from institutionalize religion, and creating a small museum with artifacts to help the local residents learn about and preserve the local Kamba tribe traditions. Recently, all the children from Michael and Robai Kimindu’s daughter’s school (Hidden Treasure School) visited the complex to learn more about Kamba culture and farming.
In addition, some members of the community provide labor for which the team there pays, and most buy the produce to bring into town to sell for profit, and for domestic use.
Tax-deductible contribution for this work and the programs are welcome; checks can be written to “Other Sheep” and send me, Stan Kimer at 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. email – [email protected]
End of year 2018 Kimer-Kamba Center Kenya Update
See all the new photos!
I am so pleased to share that the bore hole has been dug and all the equipment installed and lots of water is flowing onto our land in Mtito-Andei! This is huge news for this very dry area where wells are few and far between.
Rev. Michael Kimindu is engaging the local community in growing food and raising some animals to provide jobs and help boost the local economy, especially for those most disadvantaged. Ministry to sexual minorities and oppressed LGBTQ people in Kenya continue to the collaborative ministries at the center.
Seeking a special major donor! Is that you? Two acres of adjacent land has just come on the market and it would be great to expand our work. However, our funds have been used to built the well and are somewhat depleted. A gift of $5,000 – $6,000 would be sufficient to buy the land. Wow! Two acres for $6,000 is so much cheaper than here in the US! Please contact me to discuss.
Donations are fully tax deductible and checks can be written to Other Sheep, a US 501-c(3) and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. Or call or email me for additional information, [email protected] 919-787-7315.
A big thank you to the Global Justice Institute for their fund raising assistance for the well!
Spring, 2018 Kimer-Kamba Center Kenya Update
The first part of 2018 has been quite busy at the ministry center in Mtito Andei, Kenya under the leadership on Rev. Michael Kimindu and his wife Robai. It is important to remember that this work is succeeding because four groups are collaborating and combining resources for maximum leverage: Neema Metropolitan Community Church, The Global Justice Institute, Other Sheep Afrika, and the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Centre.
Many thanks to the Global Justice Institute (GJI) and the leadership of Metropolitan Community Church pastor Rev Elder Pat Bumgardner. GJI funded workshops for local residents, Kenyan lesbians and LGBT-affirming pastors from across Kenya. A short summary and photos are included in the Fall and Spring, 2017 updates below.
To start 2018, three efforts have been funded though my own donations to the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Centre:
1. To purchase supplies for a nearby pre-school that Rev. Kimindu’s daughter Peace will be attending. (see photo)
2. To purchase Kamba tribe artifacts that will be housed in the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Centre classroom building as a way of the local people preserving their history and art. (see photo)
3. And a contribution to a fund for a local resident to pay a hospital bill. Rev Kimindu was asked by local residents to take the lead on fundraising for this effort.
And now onto a major project that will have tremendous impact on the center and local community – digging a well. Most funds have now been raised, permits have been applied for, and we hope to be digging soon. This source of water will allow for larger scale gardening, providing jobs and food for local residents.
We do accept donations! Donations are fully tax deductible and checks can be written to Other Sheep, a US 501-c(3) and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. Or call or email me for additional information, [email protected] 919-787-7315.
Fall, 2017 Kimer-Kamba Center Kenya Update – 2 events and next major project
Excellent work and community connections continue at the Kimer-Kamba Center / Global Justice Institute / Other Sheep Africa / Neema Metropolitan Community Church property a few miles west of Mtito Andei, Kenya, led by Rev. Michael Kimindu and his wife Robai.
In the late Spring, the classroom and office building was completed and named Kituneni Hall, the village name there just west of Mtito Andei. Kituneni means “red clay” which is quite prevalent in that area.
In addition to ongoing daily work and Sunday worship services in the gazebo building, two major activities were held in the early Fall.
First, a community lunch was held to build bridges to and trust with the neighbors on September 15 (funding provided by Stan Kimer / Total Engagement Consulting.) 37 nearby residents attended and were briefed by Rev. Michael on the center’s goal for assisting with community development and facilitating learning about cultural history and heritage, especially among disenfranchised segments of the community. Michael also shared his own person journey including his call to serve LGBTI people.
Second, a 3-day retreat for lesbians (an oppressed minority within a minority in East Africa) was held at the center October 13-15 (funding provided by the Global Justice Institute.) The group consisted of 7 Christians and 2 Muslims from various parts of Kenya, and included a refugee from Uganda. In addition to the women enjoying fellowship and gaining strength from being together, a wide range of topics were discussed. They included theological perspectives, coming out, family relations, love relations and occupational / professional development. Most of the women are entrepreneurs seeking to grow businesses in areas such as fashion, LGBT advocacy, car wash and mechanics.
One of the retreat participants, Nelly Samz, was recently featured in the African LGBTQ online news website The Rustin Times in the article, “Nelly Samz on Being Intersex in Kenya.”
In the future, our next major project requires a significant amount of funding, but can be a huge step toward moving the center to self-sufficiency – digging a well! That part of Kenya experiences frequent droughts, and water supply from the city is expensive and unreliable. A well could allow for more extensive agriculture and employment of local people as well as supplying water to the neighbors. The estimated cost is about $25,000, and we have about 30% saved.
All donations are welcome, and a $10,000 donation would provide the donor naming rights of the well, an exciting way to leave an impactful legacy. Donations are fully tax deductible and checks can be written to Other Sheep, a US 501-c(3) and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. Or call or email me for additional information, [email protected] 919-787-7315.
Spring 2017 Kimer-Kamba Center Kenya Update
There continues to be exciting activity and growth of the community work led by Rev. Michael Kimindu in Mtito Andei, Kenya. My first update of 2017 will include lots of new photos and cover three areas: outfitting of the new office and classroom building, blessing of the new home and baptism, and a visit of students from Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Outfitting of the new office and classroom building. Earlier this year, construction was completed of an enclosed small multipurpose hall (classroom) with an office for Rev. Kimindu and a kitchen. Funds were raised earlier this year to supply the building with office furniture, water tanks, bath and kitchen appliances, and classroom chairs. Thank you to the Global Justice Institute for funding for the classroom chairs. Now with the space outfitted, more community workshops can be easily facilitated.
Blessing of the new home. Later last year, construction of a small home was completed for Rev. Kimindu and his family. Having Rev. Kimindu onsite makes it easier to facilitate ministry and saves the rent of an in-town apartment. On April 24, an official gathering to bless the house was held with 60 friends and relatives who traveled from across Kenya. Rev. Kimindu also celebrated his 65th birthday at the gathering. One adult was baptized, and excellent relationships were built with nearby neighbors who were initially skeptical of Rev. Kimindu and his work.
Visit by Lancaster Seminary Students. On May 10th, about 20 students led by faculty member Jonathan Coleman from the Lancaster Theological Seminary stopped for the day at the ministry center enroute from Nairobi to Mombosa on the coast. After lunch at the adjacent Darusalem Hotel, the group convened on the property for an overview of the collaborative work of Other Sheep Africa, the Global Justice Institute, the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Centre, and Neema Metropolitan Community Church. A “question and answer session” addressed topics such as ecumenism, global networking and LGBTI (Lebsian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexed) rights in Kenya.
The group was also given a tour of the grounds and buildings including seeing the huge ripe watermelons and chickens, and experiencing their first view of an authentic rural Kenyan home. Everyone hopes that this will be the beginning of an ongoing relationships and discussion.
Would you like to contribute to this work? Donations, grant contacts and ideas are welcome – please email [email protected] Tax-deductible contributions can be written to “Other Sheep” designated for Kenya project and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609.
End of 2016 Update – Classroom completed, Gardening underway, Seminars Held
I am glad to report that excellent progress continues at the Kimer-Kamba Center in Mtito Andei, Kenya on three fronts.
First, the next phase of building is completed – the classroom and small office are finished! The next stage is to raise funds to buy office, classroom and kitchen equipment so the space can become fully utilized.
Second, Rev. Michael Kimindu has started gardening on the land and is starting to harvest spinach, kale and cowpeas. He hopes to partner with a local elementary school to learn more about irrigation and how to secure grants for an enclosed “hot house” type setting.
Third, over the past two months, Rev. Kimindu has organized and led two seminars. Many thanks to the Global Justice Institute (Link) for funding these two important meetings. One was held with local sex workers, who are often shunned by their community and church, to discuss health and economic needs. And a multi-day retreat was held with gay and gay-affirming ministers to study how to make Christianity in Kenya more welcoming and accepting of LGBT people.
Finally, I am glad to share the local minister and leader for the Kimer-Kamba Center and associated ministries had his biography added to the Pacific School of Religion’s LGBT Religious Archives Network database (Link to Rev. Kimindu’s profile.)
Please remember that donations, grant contacts and ideas are welcome – please email [email protected] Tax-deductible contributions can be written to “Other Sheep” designated for Kenya project and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609.
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Early Fall 2016 Update – Rev Kimindu in house, next building phase to start
When I last provided an update in May (see below), construction on the small home for Rev. Michael Kimindu and his family was well under way. In early September, Michael did move into the home with his wife Robby and daughter Peace. With Rev. Kimindu now being “on site,” it will expedite progress and ministry of the Kimer-Kamba Center, Global Justice Institute, Other Sheep, and Neema Metropolitan Community Church.
Also in the last update I shared the exciting news that Rev. Kimindu and I were going to lead a workshop about creative global collaborative ministry using this work as a case study, but Rev. Kimindu’s Canadian VISA was not approved in time to take the trip.
Our next steps is to begin a small classroom and office building on the land. An enclosed building will be more conducive to doing workshops with classroom white boards, overhead project etc and will be a nice complement to the current open gazebo.
Now that he is on site, Rev Kimindu will be scheduling his next set of meetings with community activists to discuss economic opportunities for locals and with sex workers to discuss safe sex practices and alternatives to sex work in a non-judgmental environment. The water flow situation has also improved, so we hope to start community gardening soon. Rev Kimindu will be seeking nonprofits who help with equipment and seeds for local small-scale gardening.
Grant contacts and ideas are welcome – please email [email protected], as well as tax-deductible contributions written to “Other Sheep” designated for Kenya project and mailed to 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609.
Please enjoy the included photos of the completed house.
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May, 2016 Update! Continued progress (building and programming) at the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Centre!
My last major update was this past January where I summarized my exciting visit to Kenya in November with MCC Church Elder and Global Justice Institute Executive Director Rev. Pat Bumgardner. We officially dedicated the complex in Mtito Andei, Kenya and some photos and a short video are immediately below this update.
Work has continued at the center since the beginning of the year. I have three areas to report on.
1) First, due to a generous gift from the Global Justice Institute which covered half the cost, water pipes and the infrastructure for electricity hook up to the land have been completed. Water is now flowing to the site albeit via a slow dribble (photo above right) due to a current draught, and hopefully the national power line will be extended soon for the hook up following the Kenyan President’s upcoming visit to the area.
2) A small house (photo above left) is almost complete on the property for Rev. Kimindu and his family to move into. We anticipate moving in within a month. Having Rev. Kimindu on site will both reduce his living expenses, enabling more funds for ministry, as well as making it easier for additional community activities on the property since Rev. Kimindu will no longer need to commute to the site.
3) Rev. Kimindu has kicked off a series of community conversations (photo at right) where a cross-section of the community in Mtito Andei will be participating in moderated discussions on life, marriage, death, education, integrity and other topics. Rev. Kimindu’s goal is to build a report including data that can be used in the future for securing program grants.
In addition to these three items, meetings are continuing with local sexual minorities, university personnel and others to grow community outreach possibilities at the location.
BIG NEWS: Rev. Kimindu and I will be together at the Metropolitan Community Churches’ tri-annual conference in early July in Victoria, Canada and leading a short workshop on how American church congregations and individuals can team with and support important work like this globally.
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January, 2016 Major Update! November Trip to Kenya and the Official Opening of the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Centre!
Link to a 5 minute video clip from the opening service including my 3-minute ribbon cutting address.
In my last update this summer, I shared that the first building of the Kimer-Kamba project was completed and in use. I also shared that the ongoing work can expanded and accelerated by forming partnerships with other groups to maximize resources and to increase usage of the facility. The partners include the Global Justice Institute (GJI), Other Sheep – Africa, and Neema Metropolitan Community Church. Rev. Michael Kimindu has moved to Mtito Andei and is involved with all the different groups and is leading the overall effort.
In November, Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute and I traveled to Kenya! There we officiated at the ribbon cutting and the grand official opening ceremony of the first building, even though the building was in use for a few prior months.
While in Mtito Andei, Rev Pat and I met held with local residents who serve on Rev. Kimindu’s GJI’s African satellite committee. A wide range of topics including sexual orientation and human rights, poverty, sex work and the needs of children were discussed. Mtito Andei and the new center, the first satellite location of the GJI, provides a rich opportunity to develop a partnership that truly engages the intersections of social justice work.
The land surrounding the Institute holds great potential for the future. A partnership to bring water and electricity to the site was negotiated, with the Global Justice Institute and myself each providing half the funding. This work is starting now, and will allow, among other things, the cultivation of some of the land, which will provide an opportunity for local community members, especially women engaged in sex for survival, to engage other means of support for their families.
The opening ceremony and service was held 8 November with Neema MCC and about 75 local residents and special guests in attendance. Rev. Pat preached, officiated at the Holy Union of Rev. Michael and Robai, and baptized their infant twins, Milembe (Peace) and Uthasyo (Freedom). I had the honor of standing in as one of the godparents!
After Rev Pat departed, I also visited a new college campus that recently opened adjacent to the center, and two schools nearby to discuss some possible future teaming. (See photo from Matulani School which has been receiving stateside assistance from my initial partner Global Roots.)
As previously shared, 5% of gross billings from my consulting practice are donated to this ongoing work; please contact me for information on how you can make your tax-deductible contribution.
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June, 2015 …. Major News on the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Centre – A Change of Direction …. A Collaborative Approach …. A New Lead Partner …. And the First Building is Complete!
UPDATE JULY 2015: These first two photos are new from July! When Rev Steve Parelli from Other Sheep was in Africa, he co-led a workshop for local pastors with Rev Michael Kimindu in the new building. And a new sign was placed on the roadside letting the community know the building and ministry are there!
(NOTE: Naming of the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Center; Kimer is my surname and Kamba is the Kenyan tribe that inhabits the southeastern portion of Kenya including Mtito Andei)
I know it has been a while since my last update on my work in Kenya, Africa, and that is because there was a change in direction. If you look at my original Africa Center Page first created in late 2010, you will see the short story and my vision to want to make a significant impact in one of the poorest medium size cities in Kenya, Mtito Andei.
After a number of false starts and being frustrated with local corruption, I needed to put the work with my initial partner Global Roots on hold. While considering how to reengage in this work, I was having a growing relationship with Rev. Michael Kimindu; pastor of Neema Metropolitan Community Church in Nairobi, Director of African Affairs for the Global Justice Institute, and leader of Other Sheep – Africa. (At that time I was board chair of Other Sheep in the United States.) Since Rev. Kimindu is originally from the area near Mtito Andei and speaks the native Kamba tribal language of that area, I felt he could be an ideal partner to help this work progress.
Rev. Kimindu visited me last May while in the USA (see photo) and we further discussed teaming on this project. I ended up moving my church membership from my local MCC Church in North Carolina to Neema MCC so I could provide my church tithe support, and discussed the idea of Neema MCC and Other Sheep Africa teaming with me to make the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Center a reality. Sometimes multiple groups with a similar vision and mission need to combine efforts and resources to progress the hard work.
Rev Kimindu agreed and at the beginning of the year he and his wife Robai moved themselves and Neema MCC from Nairobi to Mtito Andei so he could start this ministry and oversee this work. Using some existing funds and with additional generous donations from Bobbi and Kathy Graham-Ward of North Carolina, 2 acres of strategically placed land near a new university was purchased and building began.
And now the building is complete for the first activities starting this month! Multiple ministries and organizations will now share the space:
• The Kimer-Kamba Cultural Center which will focus on vocational and cultural education and economic empowerment
• Other Sheep Africa / Kenya, providing a positive accepting ministry to sexual minorities
• Neema Metropolitan Community Church, part of a global denomination of over 200 local congregations located in 40 countries worldwide, providing an open and inclusive ministry to all people
• Global Justice Institute, focusing on increasing global justice and equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people in all areas of the world.
I am hoping that my original partner Global Roots will also want to become a part of this innovative collaborative work after Executive Director and my good friend Rick Montgomery or his deputy Patrick Firouzian travels to Kenya this summer to access progress and applicability to his work.
Activities at the complex will include education, affirming worship open to all people, nurturing people in need of justice, education around early childhood development and more. The future vision includes collaborating with the new local South Eastern Kenya University – Mtito Andei Campus, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. We also need to build Phase II which will include two classrooms, an office and a guest room, which will facilitate most of this work.
Tax-deductible contribution can be made to support this work. Checks should be designated for “Kenya work” and written to Other Sheep, and mailed attn.: Stan Kimer, 4404 Pamlico Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. Additionally, 5% of gross receipts of my consulting practice, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, will continued be contributed to this work.
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January, 2015 Update on the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Centre – A Shift of Direction
I know it has been almost a year since my last update. There have been some issues with the project and I needed to take the time to evaluate the situation and access going in different direction.
Yes, there have been some false starts getting this project off the ground. Some excellent work has been coordinated by Global Roots, (link here to see a summary of some of the work I have been funding via Global Roots,) but there really is no “Kimer – Kamba Cultural Centre” at this time.
During much of 2014,I have been seeking some additional partners to assist in the work, including finding a trusted proven partner on the ground in Kenya. Within the next two to four months I should have some exciting updates to share and am confident that significant progress will be made in 2015.
Thank you for your support and patience.
January, 2014 Update on the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Centre – HIV/AIDS education outreach
Link here for an overview and the history of the Kimer-Kamba Kenyan project.
In my August update, I shared that the decision was made to move the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Center from the more remote tribal land into central Mtito Andei to make the programs more accessible to the community and the truck drivers that stop in Mtito Andei for the evening. Unfortunately, the building that we anticipated renting did not have electricity, and the expense to use mobile generators for programs would be too cost prohibitive. However, the work is not stopping! While we search for a good location for the center, local project manager Ritchie Mutua has held several HIV / AID prevention training for truck drivers, local women and local teens as various locations around Mtito Andei.
Global Roots, the non-profit I have teamed with on this project, now now launched a new comprehensive web page (link) detailing the work going on in Mtito Andei. The page includes many photos and explains the HIV/AIDS outreach, children’s gardens and hen houses. The details include content of the programs, oversight assignments and metrics. Link here to read this comprehensive web page.
August 2013 Update on the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Centre – Up and Running!!
Link here for an overview and the history of the Kimer-Kamba Kenyan project.
Great progress has been made thanks to the hard work of the new Global Roots project manager Ritchie Mutua. On of the main goals of this center from the very beginning was to educate the people of Mtito Andei about the AIDS epidemic and to give all children in the area access to our learning tools. Therefore, after a great deal of soul searching, the Global Roots team decided to establish the center closer to both the heart of Mtito and the Nairobi/Mombasa highway to improve access. The “thatched” building that you saw in previous updates will be used by Chairman Leva to educate his tribe and Global Roots Executive Director Rich Montgomery is still hoping to send volunteers down one day to live in the tents they built for Leva.
So the new relocated building is completed and Ritchie has the keys to it when he needs it!
The official launch announcement from Global Roots:
We are pleased to announce that Ritchie Mutua, the regional manager for GlobalRoots.org in East Africa, recently launched the Global Roots HIV/Aids educational program in Mtito Andei — one of the hotspots for the Aids virus in Kenya. After working for more than two years for Global Roots as a volunteer “roving” educator, Ritchie now has a center that he can work out of. The Kimer Kamba Cultural Centre was made possible in part by generous donations from Stan C. Kimer, founder of diversity and career consulting firm Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer.
Stan has played a key role in helping Global Roots gain an intellectual foothold in the the Mtito Andei community. After visiting this impoverished town for the first time in 2010, Stan could not forget the images of needy children he had seen. He carefully negotiated the construction of a cultural center with GlobalRoots.org — a US based charity that has been active in Mtito Andei since 2002. Mtito Andei is one of the main epicenters for the spread of HIV in Kenya due to the itinerant nature of the town. Truck drivers, most of whom have no education and rarely come into contact with health care workers — spend a night in Mtito after either delivering goods to Mombasa or Naironi.
Mtito is halfway between Kenya’s two largest cities and it is impossible for any driver to deliver two loads in a day. These drivers therefore stop in Mtito for a dinner and many of them search the town for sexual opportunities. Unbeknownst to the drivers, they usually contract sex with women who have lost their husbands to HIV and are desperate to pay for the lives of their children. Many of these women are unaware that they, too, are HIV positive. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many of the drivers already have some form of STD. They do not understand that their diseases can be treated by inexpensive antibiotics. After paying for sex, the drivers, especially those with open wounds, have a very high chance of contracting the virus. Sadly, they then take the virus with them all over Kenya and East Africa.
Ritchie Mutua, our local educator and manager of our Children’s Gardens (go to GlobalRoots.org – Kenya to learn more) is now working night and day to educate as many local people as he can reach. Our center will make it possible for him to reach out to one hundred people at a time. Furthermore, Ritchie has worked with Rick Montgomery, the US-based executive director of Global Roots, to create a brochure that all truck drivers will receive as they enter town. The brochure is a very candid look at what the AIDS virus can do to the human body. Ritchie is also creating a data base which will chronicle the answers from a ten-question questionnaire that each driver will be paid to take part in. The drivers will receive $2 for accepting the brochure and answering the questions honestly but anonymously. This is the first research of its kind ever conducted on what is commonly called “the “highway of death” and we expect it to reduce the spread of HIV in Kenya by 1,000 in just a few months. Stay tuned for more data in our next report!
Stan will continue to contribute 5% of his business gross receipts to the ongoing work of the Kimer Kamba Cultural Centre.
JUNE 2013 UPDATE: Continuing Building Progress at the Kimer / Kamba Cultural Center! Great Volunteer Opportunities Still Available in the Fall. Read On:.
Link here for an overview and the history of the Kimer-Kamba Kenyan project.
Global Roots Executive Director Rick Montgomery reports in early June:
We are excited to report from down in Mtito Andei, Kenya that Global Roots has contracted Jared Busi, an American who specializes in the construction of schools, orphanages, hospital clinics and other structures for NGO’s across East Africa, to install the windows and floors of the Kimer/Kamba Cultural Center in Mtito Andei. Busi is also a well builder so he will offer free advise on how we can best supply our center with fresh water.
Global Roots founder Rick Montgomery (longtime friend of Stan Kimer) met Jared when he was working with a Maasai woman to protect Maasai girls from FGM last year. Montgomery knew right away he had found a gem in the rough. Montgomery and Busi immediately shared their stories and became fast friends. Each man has committed the last ten years of their lives to helping children with sustainable projects in tough places. Montgomery would later say that Busi is the first person he had ever met besides Patrick Firouzian (a Global Roots senior volunteer) who has traveled over Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountain range to help orphans.
Montgomery immediately started to test Busi to make sure he could provide the transparency and project oversight that Global Roots requires. Corruption is a huge problem in the world of African charity so Montgomery wanted to move slowly. After six months of chats, emails and face books posts, Global Roots assigned two 5K projects to Busi and his team. Busi leaves in a few days to lay down a second children’s garden in Mtito followed by a “Girls Garden” in Maasailand. While in Mtito, Busi and his crew will spend a few days putting the final touches on the Cultural Center and devising an elephant-proof water delivery system.
The center was thatched a few months ago and should be ready for program launch this August. Everyone is excited about the center in Mtito Andei. We are still looking for four volunteers to help teach and manage this center from September to December this year! Please email Global Roots if you’re interested! [email protected] — a tax deductible donation of 5K per person will pay for your entire experience, including air fare from the USA.
FEBRUARY / MARCH, 2013 UPDATE: 2-3 week and 4-5 month projects at the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Center later 2013.
Link here for an overview and the history of the Kimer-Kamba Kenyan project.
As the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Center nears completion there are now opportunities for short term (2-3 week) and longer term (4-5 month) projects with the Center.
SHORT TERM OPPORTUNITIES:
In July of 2012, Global Roots sent two teams to Kenya. The trip was a great success! They are now planning to offer 2 and 3 week experiences this summer again in Kenya. If interested please email: [email protected]
Click here to learn more about past 2012 service trip to Kenya.
UNIQUE 4-5 MONTH PROJECT!!!
UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY – Four Person Humanitarian Work Team Needed for Project in Kenya, Second Half of 2013
Make a major humanitarian impact in Africa! Help save thousands of lives!
Situated halfway between Kenya’s two major cities of Mombasa and Nairobi on the main A-109 highway is the city of Mtito Andei. It has the unfortunate distinction of being the primary stopping point for truck drivers carrying goods from the port to the capital city and vice versa. Lacking water due to sudden climate change, Mtito is not a pleasant place. Having lost their husbands to the AIDS virus, many desperate women come here to seek work and they are lured into prostitution. Most of these women have no idea they are carrying the virus. Sadly, many of the passing truck drivers, already infected by any number of venereal diseases, hire HIV positive women to have sex with them. Now infected with HIV, the drivers then return to wherever they came from carrying and spreading the virus to new areas, killing parents, creating orphans and infecting the unborn.
The non-profit Global Roots has teamed with diversity and career development consultant / business man and humanitarian Stan C. Kimer of Raleigh, NC to build a community center among the Matangini people living in and near Mtito Andei. The community center along with other projects from Global Roots in the area seek to train local people on alternative ways of producing income, growing vegetables and healthy foods, helping the native people preserve their culture, and teach the younger generation HIV prevention.
The Kimer-Kamba Cultural Center is composed of a main classroom building, two platform tent structures and a covered dining area. A small work team is needed to help the local community with program and curriculum development and delivery. What we now seek is a working team of four people, who ideally:
• Know each other and are able to work together harmoniously
• Are able to live among the Matangini people (2 comfortable tent structures sleeping two people) approximately late July – November 2013
• Have a good and diverse skills mix that may include:
o HIV / AIDS education
o Childhood and teen development
o Teaching and curriculum development
o Arts and Drama background (perhaps to work with the local youth to create a play / musical production to preserve their culture and history and to share with tourists)
o General “handy man or handy woman” skills
• Can fund or raise funds to self-support this venture (approx. $2000 airfare and $900 per month per person total living expenses)
In addition there will be an opportunity to take some time off to tour the beautiful wildlife areas of Kenya and Tanzania.
Investment in this venture is totally tax deductible (except for any tourism type of side trip expense).
To express interest please contact Global Roots Executive Director Rick Montgomery at [email protected] or 503 866 9525. Rick will give you several fundraising suggestions if this is a dream you want to pursue.
JANUARY, 2013 UPDATE: Great Progress on the Building and Programs of the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Center.
Global Roots (the non-profit I have teamed with to build the Kimer – Kamba Cultural Center) Executive Director Rick Montgomery spent the first week of the New Year in Mtito Andei, Kenya and reports fantastic progress over the last two months!
“We are happy to report that the thatching of our cultural center is almost complete and the building will soon be ready for all of the finishing touches including glass windows, solar panels, desks and tables. So much to do!
Project manager Ritchie Mutua has completed an HIV/AIDS outreach curriculum that he will use for one of our center’s after-school programs.
We are currently looking for two volunteers to travel down to Kenya, live with the tribe in the tents we built and help Ritchie at the center.
The big news is that the Kamba tribe has agreed to provide staffers for a secondary HIV/AIDS prevention “Kiosk” off tribal land on the main highway. Mtito Andei is located halfway between Nairobi and Mombosa so it serves as a truck stop. If we want to help children thrive and live long we must educate the truck divers about HIV because most of them do not know how the virus is spread.”
Anyone who may be interested in volunteering to live in Kenya for a spell and help Ritchie Mutua develop and teach the center curriculum, or if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to this work, do contact me. ([email protected])
NOVEMBER, 2012 UPDATE: New Kenyan Project Manager Onboard to Lead Next Phase of Kimer / Kamba Cultural Center Work.
To end 2012 and then into summer of 2013, the focus with the Kimer / Kamba Cultural Center will be on finishing construction and then developing programs and curricula. Global Roots Executive Director Rick Montgomery sent me the below update about the hiring of a new project manager, along with a great photo. Rick writes:
Mtito is one of the driest areas of Kenya and it also has Africa’s largest populations of wild elephant. These two stats, of course, don’t go well together. Human animal conflict is vast. Mtito is also the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in Kenya due to misinformation and poor public education.
For three years now, Global Roots has been working with a poor local tribe called the Matangini to a cultural center. It has not been easy because we are trying to create something where there was absolutely nothing before. Recently, we sent a team to Mtito to search for a man inside the community who could lead this important project into the future.
Fortunately, our founder Rick Montgomery located and interviewed Ritchie Mutua, a young officer with the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) who was born in Mtito and has been doing community outreach for the KWS here for the last few years. Ritchie is a success story because Mtito is one of Kenya’s poorest regions and it’s virtually impossible for anyone from here to gain both a college education and a job with the world-famous KWS.
Ritchie will take over for James Odaba, longtime Global Roots agrabiologist. James did a wonderful job but he had great difficulties bridging the gap between his tribal background and that of the Kamba.
“If I could have dreamed up a man to lead our projects here when we started three years ago it would have been Ritchie Mutua,” said Global Roots founder Rick Montgomery. “I am honored to have Mr. Mutua on our team. With his help, we an get our new cultural center thatched so that we can launch a proper AIDS education program and other classes that will help Kenya’s poorest children keep up with more privileged children.”
NEW VIDEO – filmed in Mtito Andei Kenya when I made my first trip there in July, 2010.
Link to video. This video gives you an excellent look at the people and environment where the Kimer-Kamba Community Center is being built. One volunteer talks about digging ditches for the water pipes that will bring water to the area where the center will be located. It you watch carefully you will see and my partner Rich interacting with the local school children (approx 2:23 into the video) and me dancing (it is not flattering) at the 10:10 – 11:45 segment.
MAJOR UPDATE – late August 2012 – News from Global Roots leader and founder Rick Montgomery on the Kimer / Kamba Cultural Center work team
Note from Stan: Since the center under construction in Mtito Andei Kenya will have an expanded mission and usage, the local tribe renamed the vocational school to “cultural center.” Rick Montgomery provided the follow report and photos:
A six-member Global Roots team from the USA joined five Global Roots volunteers in Kenya to visit the Kimer/Kamba Cultural Center in southern Kenya last month The trip was a great success and the team were pleased by what they found.
“One of the most important things I need to do as the director of Global Roots is make sure that all of our donations make it to source and are spent in most efficient and least corrupt manner,” said Rick Montgomery, the founder of Global Roots who led this year’s service trip.
“I am proud of the safari tent platforms that we have erected and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished Cultural Center,” said Jacopo Franchin, the early-stage manager for construction. “I went to Kenya to help lay the foundation and track costs and I’m pleased with the tribe’s commitment to the project.”
Besides providing a place for the tribe to meet to discuss tribal matters, the Cultural Center will also be a place where young children can go after school to learn life skills. Discussed will be the importance of staying in school and the truth about HIV. Despite the region’s high infection rates, many children leave their pre-teen years with little understanding about how HIV is contracted or avoided.
Director Montgomery met with the tribe and it was decided that the center should also be used for cultural studies and presentations. Montgomery has pledged to bring more volunteers down who will help Kamba elders tell the stories of their tribe in English. The tribe’s children will then act out the stories on stage through song and dance. Montgomery hopes that tourists will stop for a night en route for Tsavo West from Nairobi.
“There is a market need for a stop in or around Mtito Andei but the Kamba tribe has never been able to capitalize on this need. We are hoping to change this. The tribe has beautiful safari tents (with solar lighting and running water – all donated by Global Roots) and soon they will have a cultural center.”
Montgomery thanks Stan Kimer, the project’s first donor. “None of this would be happening without the generosity of Stan Kimer,” said Montgomery. Kimer visited the area with Montgomery in 2010 and was so touched by the welcome he received from the Kamba tribe and so staggered by the need in the area that he decided to take action.
The Kimer Kamba Cultural Center is the first of its kind in the region. Jipe Moyo, the tribe’s safari camp, is also unique. The camp will soon help the tribe raise money in a sustainable manner. Montgomery hopes that income brought in from the camp and cultural shows will supplant tribal funds garnered illegally from the cutting of trees for charcoal and the killing of big game for meat.
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April 16, 2012 UPDATE – Construction Progress This Summer + Summer Work Teams !!!
Major news from Rick Montgomery, Executive Director of Global Roots:
“The construction of the Kimer-Kamba Vocational Training School will continue this July when Rick Montgomery, founder of Global Roots, visits Kenya with Global Roots construction chief Jacopo “Pippo” Franchin. A rocket scientist from Italy (seriously) Jacopo rejected what would have been a great career in rocketry to seek out nonprofit engineering works in the third-world. Knowing that he had found a gem in the rough, Montgomery sent Franchin to Cambodia in 2008 and Franchin immediately rebuilt an elementary school from the ground up for just 10K.
Franchin is a great choice to help Chairman Leva complete a vocational school that all of the local children, parents and teachers are excited about. The vocational school (built next to the already completed tribal owned safari camp “JipeMoyo.com” will give the children of the Kamba Tribe the chance to learn more about the world and connect with children from other cultures through the Global Roots “children meet children” educational network. Each child will also receive a “Personal Plan for Life” education plan – a tool devised for the needs and ability of each child.”
In addition to this news, Rick has just announced that he will be leading two teams to Mtito Andei in July to work on a variety of projects at the Jipe Moyo Camp and the Kimer-Kamba Vocational School. And the teams will stay at the new camp facilities at Jipe Moyo to assist the local people in learning how to effectively serve future tourist to the area! Check out the detailed Summer Work Project information and consider going!
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Here is the update that I published in my February “Total Engagement Consulting” newsletter:
I just received this exciting update from Rick Montgomery, Executive Director of Global Roots, the non-profit I am collaborating with on the Kimer-Kamba Vocational Center at the Jipe Moyo Camp in Mtito Andei, Kenya: Rick writes, “”We have made great strides on Jipe Moyo – the tribal owned safari camp next to the Kimer-Kamba Vocational Center. We now have three tent structures completed near our children’s garden and chicken egg farm. Water delivery has been quite a challenge but we fixed it by creating a shallow well. We filled the well initially with the annual flood waters but we will continue to fill with the trickle of water we get from a nearby bore hole. Construction of the Kimer-Kamba vocational center has already started. We have leveled the ground and we’re laying pipe. Much of the actual labor for the school will be provided by a team of volunteers arriving on site this July. We will use the center’s classroom to teach local children about how to prevent the contraction of AIDS and also to help each child create a “Personal Plan for Life”. Our volunteers will help each child locate his or talents using proven Montessorian techniques. There will also be a kitchen where children will learn how to cook for visiting guests at Jipe Moyo. We are very excited because tribal chiefs from nearby tribes are starting to pay us a visit to learn how we got this far!”. More information including the summer project will be supplied in future newsletters.
Link here for more information on the progress of the Jipe Moyo Camp in Mtito Andei (the vocational school is part of this overall site.)
Link here for the Global Roots non-profit site (the non profit that I am collaborating with on this project)