Meet the Founder Kwamboka Okari
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This is my story, a story that set the “wheels in motion,” which are now difficult to stop.

On a beautiful tropical morning as I drove through the village of Tabaka in Kenya, visiting traditional craftsmen from whom I imported soapstone carvings, a man stood on the road, waving his arms in the traditional way a Kenyan hitchhikes.  I slowed down and finally stopped, asking him how far he was going. “Not far,” the man answered.  It is an answer I have come to expect, since even 10 miles is considered “not far.”  The man hurriedly disappeared as though to fetch some luggage.  I waited a few minutes and he did not come, so I got out of my pickup truck and walked towards where he had disappeared.  “I thought you said you needed a ride,” I said to him.  “I am waiting for my wife who is helping herself” (helping oneself is translated as going to the ladies room).  Another 15 minutes and the man and his wife are not back.

Suddenly a lady came from the direction the man disappeared.  Pulling me aside, she whispered, “His wife is having a baby.”  Lo and behold, as I followed this woman, I noticed a crowd of women under a tree.  Together they formed a human wedge around the soon to be mother.  As I got closer, I spotted a newly-born infant crying as she was being handed to her mother, now lying comfortably under a large tree.  The local midwives were working to make her feel comfortable.  I quickly hurried to my pickup truck and drove a couple of miles to the nearest shopping center where I bought several wrap-rounds (fabric) for mother and baby.

When I returned, I found the mother sitting comfortably, breast-feeding her newborn baby.  I gave the wraps to the midwife, who bundled up mother and baby.  In the meantime the husband was standing and watching the ordeal from a distance.  Men are not allowed near a setting of this nature.  Mother, father and baby were soon ready for me to drive them home.  Their home was about 7 or 8 miles away.

The mother named her daughter Kwamboka, after me.  The year was 1993.  Five years later, in 1998, Kwamboka’s father died, and the mother died a year later, in 1999, both from the dreaded HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Little Kwamboka, then 6, was orphaned, together with her brother Lawrence, then 8.  They were both left in the care of an aged grandmother.

In 2000, the grandmother, not having the means to care for the two orphans, came to me and said, “My child, these orphans are now yours; please take care of them.”  Without hesitation, I took both of them.  I put Lawrence in a Christian boarding school and left little Kwamboka with her aunt, whom I paid to look after Kwamboka, until she was old enough to go to boarding school.  Kwamboka, now 11 years old, is in 4th grade, and she and her brother go to the same boarding school.

In 2000 my sister Margaret died from Hepatitis C, another disease that is endemic to Africa, and left four orphans that she was looking after.  Upon her death, I took over responsibility for the care of her four orphans.  As people learned that I was caring for orphans, they started bringing their children.

We now have a total of fifteen children for whom we provide full school tuition and cost of room and board.  We are ready to accept many more.  All of the children in our program have lost both parents, although we plan to accept children whose parents are still alive but dying of AIDS, which is the best gift we can give them.   There are a number of children waiting to formally enter into our program, and, there are many more that will come after them.  With your financial help, we can assist them.  Without it, we can’t.  There are many orphaned children in Kenya who fend for themselves, or die, at a very young age.

Although our focus at the moment is on specific children, our long-term goal is to establish our own school in the Tabaka area that would house 200 children.  For this purpose, the Gucha District has set aside a five-acre parcel of very good land on our behalf.  This project has capital costs budgeted at $395,000, which will pay for a modest campus including year-round dormitories with 25 eight-bed dorm rooms, 10 classrooms, cafeteria and worship facilities, a library, staff offices, a modest industrial training center, an adequate private water supply, and a wastewater disposal system.  

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