The Lucky Ones.

October 30, 2015 by Nicole Owens

Sukuma wiki is a scrappy little plant in the collard green family, and it usually looks just like this—wiry and half-combed; a mass of leaves perched on a knobby stalk. Its name means “push the week” in Swahili, as it’s a popular culinary choice when one is short on food and long on week. Several of our KKC schools have seeded gardens with sukuma wiki, cabbage, or potatoes, and as the plants mature, the schools augment lunches with chunks of vegetables....

Continue Reading


June 15, 2015 by Nicole Owens

It happens at nearly every school. We step from the car with skin veneered in dust, and half the students constellate around us. The brave among them press in as close as breath to hold my hand and twist my hair through their fingers, hair that hangs in a bewildering sweep instead of wisping into proper clouds on one’s head. The shyer kiddos risk furtive glances before skittering off to giggle in the shade. And nearly every time, at nearly every...

Continue Reading

Servant Leaders.

October 21, 2014 by Nicole Owens

It was a Wednesday, and the sun was cutting its trail across a limpid Kenyan sky. We met up with our KKC teachers on a snatch of dirt just off the highway, where everyone packed into a couple of cars and collectively inhaled as we coaxed the doors shut. If you imagine tins of sardines with wheels tacked on, you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of transport in Africa. This was our first-ever KKC service day, where the teaching staff...

Continue Reading


August 18, 2014 by Nicole Owens

It was a side trip tacked to the tail of a long, blistering day. We’d been out visiting KKC schools, and I’m sure we looked a fright, sporting grime and sunburn, our hair blown tumbleweed-stiff. But still the good folks at Oiti Primary welcomed us like dear friends. They’d been writing for months with a candid plea: Please include us in your feeding program. When we finally made it out to their school, they pumped our hands with gusto, radiating nervous...

Continue Reading

Infinitely sweet.

March 16, 2014 by Nicole Owens

    Last week Kenya Kids Can was invited to attend an academic celebration, and PEOPLE. That thing was so much fun. They sat us front and center, guests of honor at this first-ever Longonot awards ceremony, and with all the stops pulled out: balloons, poetry, song calling, cascades of faux flowers. Hundreds of students packed the courtyard, whooping as their schools were announced and trophies bestowed. Highest performer. Best in the district. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to dance. I’m guessing...

Continue Reading

Valentine’s Day.

February 21, 2014 by Nicole Owens

  The road twisting down from campus to the valley floor cracks me up every time. We braved that bumpy guy again last Friday, a small crew of us riding out with Mark to visit a couple schools, and as our teeth rattled in place Mark joked, “You know, lots of people pay money for seats that shake.” We arrived at the first school as the kids were washing up for lunch, scrubbing small hands under a ribbon of water poured from...

Continue Reading


January 16, 2014 by Nicole Owens

  The whole school has turned out to see us, kicking up dust as they dance and wave us in. We climb from the car into a river of children with smiles bleached white in the three o’clock sun. It’s Wednesday, and Todd and I have tagged along with our friend Mark to open a solar-powered computer center at a school smack dab in what Kenyans call The Interior–undeveloped land, mile upon mile of scrub brush and dirt and sheep. I’ve never known...

Continue Reading

It Will Be Better For Them: The End of the Chapter

July 7, 2013 by Steve Peifer

A student comes into my office and asks, “What is the secret of getting into college?” My response is that there are no secrets, but an important part of the process is showing your passion for the school you are applying for. She says she doesn’t understand, so I use an analogy. Let’s say two guys ask you out. One says, “Yo. Saturday?” The second shows up with flowers and candy, and gives you a poem because you mentioned you like poetry in English class. Who would you most likely go with?

Continue Reading