From September 2012 to August 2013 my family and I were blessed with the opportunity to leave the United States and to travel the world. Our trip began at Tenwek Mission Hospital in Bomet, Kenya where we lived and worked for a little more than 4 months. During our time at the hospital my wife participated in a program sponsored through the American College of Surgeons called Operation Giving Back. Here she taught Kenyan surgical residents at a remote Christian Mission hospital far removed from civilization as we knew it.
During our time in Kenya I too found found a place where I could use my construction skills as a way to give something back. For several months I experienced life at a very small Orphanage where they had no running water nor electricity but where 85 orphans spent their lives with little more than the clothes on their back and a bible in their hands. This place, where all the children had to eat was the beans they planted and the little rice they could afford opened up a place in my heart and has forever changed me.
Each day, at the crack of dawn children ages 3 to 15 would rise from their bunks, sometimes sleeping 3 to a bed, to the sound of crowing roosters and darkness. Changing into their school uniforms, the children would walk to a dark room where they were served a small bowl of red beans and boiled rice before they departed on a 2 mile walk to school. These children, orphans of parents dead from aids; children left along the roadway by the sex worker mothers to whom they had been born; children found abandoned in pit latrines by mothers who wanted them dead; or simply children abandoned by families too poor to care for them, were the living souls who populated this little corner of the world. Cared for by people I refer to as "Angels in Blue Jeans" these helpless little children struggled every day just to stay alive...and yet, when they smiled, it was as if they could have been my own kids. These children, destitute beyond ones wildest imaginations were making the best of the life they were given. Through the dirt and their stained teeth, through their ripped clothes and their broken shoes, these children shone with a light I'd never seen before. It was as if to say, "I'm not done yet so don't give up on me".
Helping to build a new dormitory for the orphaned children of Kitoben Vision Center was one of the most special things I have done with my life. It was a time of great meaning for me and a time where I realized the gift I had been given to build things. As simple as it was, our gift of a new home left the children knowing that they were loved in spite of the hardship they had endured in their short lives and in spite of all that they did not have.
My time, living, and work at Kitoben personalized an obligation to help support the lives of those less fortunate than myself. By little more than some cosmic roll of the dice I was born into a world vastly different from the world of these orphaned children...somehow it didn't seem fair. Somehow it just didn't seem right. What came from this was a deep understanding that my trip to Africa trip was opening my eyes to a larger calling: to use what I had been given to give back to those who needed it most. Mixing cement by hand in the hot sun I committed myself to start small and to see where it went. I did this by putting up a link on my web page for people who might want to send a little something whenever they had a little something extra to send. I also committed to contributing a little from every project I worked on to the children of Kitoben.
Anyone interested in helping the children of Kitoben can send a tax deductible donation to the organization dedicated to helping raise funds to cover the school fees of the children. The 501 c3 supporting this effort is called nations to nations and can be reached via this link:
A special thank you to Drs. Tom and Anne Kettler of Kansas City, KS. who introduced me to the children of Kitoben. I want to thank them and their supporters for all of the work they do to support this very special place. Without their ongoing love, dedication, and financial sponsorship these childrens' lives would be significantly more difficult than they already are. May God continue to bless the work of you two very special people. Additionally, my love goes out to Alice and Samwell Langat without whose care and attention on a day to day basis Kitoben Orphanage would cease to exist. Finally, to Mr. Benard, Ms Sharon, and her little boy Brian, I want you to know how much you sustained me as we worked every day in the hot sun to make Kitoben a little nicer for everyone who lives there.
Anything you can do to help the children at Kitoben is appreciated. Working together we can make an enormous impact in our world and by starting small, incredible things happen. In the words of Margaret Mead,
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world
...Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has".
New Dormitory Building and Water Storage Tanks
Kitoben Orphanage Bomet, Kenya
New Children's Playground Kitoben Orphanage
A Gift To The Children of Kitoben from The Kokinos Children
Eleni 14, Anyssia 12, Panayioti 9, Ekaterina 7
Anything you can do to help Tenwek Mission Hospital is likewise greatly appreciated. Anyone interested in making a tax deductible donation to Tenwek Mission Hospital can visit their website to learn more of what they are doing to spread God's word through their tireless efforts to help the sick and the suffering. The link to their website is
Thanks for anything you can do.