Reprinted with permission fron the author
by Jim Morrison
At the end of the summer of 2005, I spent three weeks in southeastern Kenya on the Taita/Rukinga Ranches, which is a very densely wooded 170,000 acre area in the Taita Hills a few hours outside of Mombasa.
I was a volunteer with a team of wildlife researchers from Earthwatch (www.earthwatch.org) whose main purpose was documenting the “Maneless Lions of Tsavo” that were made famous in the film The Ghost and the Darkness.
The area is classified as a ‘Bio-Diversity hot spot’ with many species presently under threat from human activity and environmental degradation. The future of this area is still very much in question, but there is good reason for hope.
While there, I got to spend a day with some amazing kids at the Bungule School near Mt. Kasigau. I toured their school, played soccer with them, had foot races, boxed a little, climbed trees, read books in English and Swahili, and also drew pictures with them (See the photos below.).
These kids wear ill-fitting, mismatched uniforms to school every day, and only the luckiest have shoes. They subsist on one meal a day which is a bowl of corn that more closely resembles cattle feed than anything you or I would eat. The amazing thing is: the fifth graders I met were studying Algebra, each spoke three languages, and they were every bit as imaginative and happy as any kid I’ve ever met. They really touched me (figuratively and literally - white folks are a rarity in those parts, so several of the kids actually stroked my arms and legs, just to see what hairy white skin felt like).
These kids made an indelible impression upon my heart. In the bush, I came within about 20 meters of countless baboons, elephants, giraffes, hyena, water buffalo, impala, kudu, etc., and even got within about 5 meters of a pair of mating lions. However, memories of these kids are what are strongest in my mind, even today, a year after the trip
Public schools in Kenya are brand new and free to all, but annual high school costs are USD $350 per student. Kenyan problems are many and complicated. Though westerners can help, these problems require Kenyan solutions, and, as everywhere, the key to a brighter future is education.
Some of my friends and I have decided to raise money to educate these kids. I’ve donated the money I’ve made from publishing articles about my trip to these kids, and recently raised over a thousand dollars by running an ultra-marathon on July 29th called The Jay Mountain Marathon (www.jaychallenge.com). It’s considered the hardest marathon in the world, and nearly a third of the registrants didn’t finish due to the 90 degree heat. It was easily the toughest race I’ve ever run. While the winner did it in just under 5 hours, it took me almost 9.
A few members of the TIJ community have already contributed to this cause, but I know that home inspectors in general are kind and generous in nature, so I’m hoping that we can do more and am appealing to the entire home inspection community for more help.
Please know that if you can find it in your heart to make a donation, even a very small one, whatever you contribute will be going directly to helping to shape the futures of these bright, wonderful kids.
On behalf of all of the children of the Bungule School, God bless you, and thank you for whatever you can do to help.
Jim Morrison is a home inspector, freelance writer, father of two young sons, and occasional contributor to The Inspector’s Journal. He can be reached at: email@example.com
HOW TO DONATE: Donations to Jimmy’s Kids can be made one of two ways:
You can send a check to Jim Morrison at:
260 Hubbardston Road
Princeton, MA 01541-2001
He’ll add your donation to the money he’s collecting which will be wired to the school at the end of August.
Wire the money directly to the TDC at:
Barclays Bank of Kenya LTD, Market Branch
P.O. Box 30018
Name of account:
P.O. Box 48019
Nairobi - 00100, Kenya
Telephone: +254-(0)20 312137
Swift Code BARCKENX
The most convenient method to send donations is by wire/telegraphic transfer. When the transaction has been arranged, immediately send a cover letter to both of the following addresses:
Leigh Ecclestone – Donations Coordinator, TDC
Steve Turner – Managing Director
Please provide them with the following details, in order to help them track your donation and ensure it is used as intended.
Your name and company name (if applicable)
The amount of your donation please state which currency)
The date of the transaction (dd/mm/yr)
State whether the donation was for our scholarship program, and A) the number of students to benefit from your donation. B) The name(s) of the sponsored student(s) if known. C) If applicable, how the donation is to be divided if more than one student is sponsored.
State whether any of the donation is intended for other TDC projects? If so, please specify.