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Sunday, March 4, 2012


I work in public health - we focus on masses. We focus on thousands and millions at a time, not on the individual..that is for the clinicians to take care of.  We work at the policy level, at the ministry level, the system level to try to set up a better way, a more efficient way, in order to make large impacts and help countries take care of themselves.I believe that is the only true path to development - governments helping themselves though sound policies, integrity, honesty, and putting education and health first.  But in the mean time there are individuals out there, millions of them, that could use a break. Just a little lift, a foothold, something to help them climb out with. I would like to ask your help in providing a foothold for someone that has crossed my path.  Her name is Mwikali.

If you don't count girl scout cookies, I've never raised money for anything before...no half marathons for charity, no read-a-thons, no car washes, no mission trips to mexico - nothing. I've often contributed to the efforts of others but I have never raised money for something I've done - If I want to do something, I just pay my way and do it and I don't really talk about it. Over the past 2 years, there have been many things and people that I have found compelled to support and I only sign up for whatever I can do myself with my own household's means. But with this one, Sergio and I cannot do it alone.

This story is about Mwikali.  A real girl that I know. She is the cleaning girl that works for and lives with my cleaning lady (and friend), Rebecca. Her story is just like hundreds of thousands of other girls - she's really not that special. She is 16 and comes from an area way outside of Nairobi called Kitwi. Mwikali was born into a severely poor family - one of 13 brothers and sisters. She had never even seen a car before Rebecca picked her up. Mwikali's father died when she was young -  She tells Rebecca of how they had no money for even Ugali (porridge) as she grew up. They would drink hot water and salt to tide them over until the evening. Her brothers would steal food and bring it back to the family. Somehow, she managed to actually make it through primary school. After primary, she actually passed the exam for secondary school (high school), already beating the odds.  But secondary school costs much more than primary, which is more or less free as long as you have a uniform. And there was no way she would ever be able to afford secondary school.  To make matters worse, her mother has a boyfriend that is inappropriate with Mwikali's sisters and has made advances towards her as well. So, I suppose it was a blessing in disguise that she was able to get the job with Rebecca in Nairobi and has begun her life as a cleaning girl - she cleans in exchange for a place to stay and food. But, it doesn't have to end like this.  Mwikali passed her entrance exam - she is bright and motivated and wants more than anything to go finish high school.  Can't we help her? She is only 16. It may not be scratching the surface of the issues in Kenya but for Mwikali, it will change her life. It will. And it will likely change the life of her future children and you could be a part of that. And that is amazing.
Education is the key to unlock the door that is trapping so many females in an endless cycle of poverty.
We can work together, you and me and Rebecca and we can send Mwikali to 4 years of secondary school.    I told Rebecca that Sergio and I will donate the money to buy all the stuff she needs to get started (bed, uniform, books, shoes, etc) and part of year 1 tuition.  And that I would see who else that I know would be willing to contribute for the rest.  We are talking about $225 per year for boarding school - THAT'S IT! (Most secondary schools are boarding schools since there is a paucity of secondary schools and most people do not live in commuting distance). I told her we will focus on just 2 years at a time. Let's see how it goes in raising the $450 we need right now and then we can re-evaluate it once she has completed her first year. Rebecca volunteered to visit her and take her the personal things she needs throughout the year and I would handle payments.

School started in January - So Mwikali is now in a holding pattern. I cannot promise her anything until I know I have some additional supporters out there. If you believe in this and you trust me that this is an authentic sincere request, please go to this site and donate. Any small amount is welcome.  I set up a paypal thing for the first time ever. And if we have a good response by Friday, Rebecca and I will buy her supplies Friday and Rebecca will take Mwikali to start school on Monday. I have no pictures of her because I really didn't want to meet her unless I can promise her that we can help. So, if we get her started in school, I will visit her when Sergio comes in 3 weeks. It's looong ride out to the school that Rebecca found.

Here is the link again - Please let me know if you have any issues accessing it.

Thanks for your support. I will keep you updated.


  1. never feel ashamed to ask for help for others,,,thats what we were put on earth to do. did you make your goal?

    1. We sure did! Everyone generously donated what they could. Rebecca and I did a half day of shopping yesterday getting her everything she needs and then Rebecca took the 5 hour bus ride to the small town to get her started today. I'll update the blog with some details.
      Thanks mom


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