“O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
This last portion of St. Francis of Assisi’s Peace Prayer could aptly describe the individual missions of the American travelers who made their way to Nasaruni Academy from December 26th through January 4th (2017-2018). During this period, American board members Russ Kohrs and Tracy Hough were accompanied by three adults, Matt Klus, Kathryn Klus, and David Lee. Seven Harrisonburg, VA, Rockingham County, Page County, and Shenandoah County high school seniors (Deidrah, Isaac, Gab, Adeline, Asha, Tommy, and Mariah) brought energy and projects with them as well. Their collective mission contained a wide mix of objectives, such as:
-Installing and testing a fluoride reduction system for the school’s well;
-Bringing shoes, books, medicines, and other important relief and material supplies (20 trunks’ worth!)
-Spending time with the teachers and students exploring STEM educational materials and methods;
-Starting a library for the school;
-Board members visiting for the first time and scouting out the successes and needs of the school;
-Taking measurements to explore the efficacy of a biodigestion process for cooking on methane instead of charcaol;
-Taking stock of the needs for a solar installation of some kind in the coming year or two;
-Exploring Maasai culture, Kenyan landscape, and even local Geology.
But, while all of these were all addressed and accomplished, much more was shared between this group of Americans and the good people at Nasaruni. This group’s overall mission sought to give love, build understanding, and give materially and altruistically. What they never could have fathomed was magnitude of love, giving, and depth of understanding they would receive back from the girls and staff at Nasaruni Academy. It was a powerful trip!
The Maasai welcome people like no one else. Upon arrival, the group received an amazing, fun, and music-filled welcome experience (Top). A joint American/Kenyan Nasaruni Academy board meeting, with chai (of course!), and during a much needed rain shower (Left to Right: Michelle, David, Russ, Alice, Jason, Tracy, Moses, Julius).
Water is life! Gab, Isaac, and Russ test the bone char fluoride adsorption system at Nasaruni. The bone char was made in Virginia, but is a resource easily created onsite at Nasaruni (Top). Virginia teen Deidrah, who assembled some amazing educational resources for the school, sharing in the teaching of the water cycle with Nasaruni girls (Bottom).
The entire group, inside of Suswa volcano in the heart of the East African Rift Valley.