Let’s Keep Doing This.

November 1, 2016 by Nicole Owens

  Once upon maybe five years ago, we bumped into Steve Peifer’s blog and fell headlong in love with school children in Kenya. When I first found Steve’s site, where he shared accounts both funny and piercing about his work with Kenya Kids Can, I binge-read the posts in reverse to the very beginning. It was not unlike my Downton Abbey marathons—just one more, I’d say, and suddenly it’s 2am. (If you haven’t traveled back this far in our archives, please...

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Known.

February 26, 2016 by Nicole Owens

  Some three miles down the escarpment sits the town of Maai Mahiu, a truck-stop community built from tin and painted block. The air in this place is fevered and dry, the earth itself a picture of the quality of life. Barren. Hardscrabble. Desolate and unyielding. It’s also one of my favorite places on the planet, because it’s home to some of the small folk I love best. On Sundays Todd and I bring a team of high school students to do street...

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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....

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Ambassadors.

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...

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Shine.

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...

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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...

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Unsinkable.

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...

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