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Karen's Year in Kenya Future Projects

Sawa Sawa 2017

Phil and I went for a month Feb-March and actually rented a car and also stayed at the RONGO PASTORAL CENTER. It was the first time we had had to plan and cook our own meals. The accommodations were not what we expected at all so we cooked on a one burner gas stove in an outdoor gazebo and our refrigerator was cardboard boxes packed with frozen bottles of water or soda we had consumed. The refrigerator was actually a 40 year old freezer with broken hinges but we made it work.

Karen was the driver and within 24 hours I had clipped the left side mirror as you sit on the other side of the car. The car provided many adventures for the rest of the trip. WE would get up and have coffee made by my Aeropress and have some sort of breakfast. Phil did all of the cooking and you never knew what was coming. It could be eggs and beans, pan done toast or a mystery dish. He would pack us a lunch of whatever the leftovers were from the night before and of we would go to Angiya which was 12 km away but took 40 mins to drive there. If you have never been to a third world country it is hard to explain what the roads are like. Potholes 6 feet in diameter and 2.5 deep.

We brought a lot of medical supplies for the maternity hospital as well as helped purchased medicine and a microscope for the clinic to do their own testing. We did 7 days of art programs at the Angiya Primary School along with the assistant principal Joseph who is now going to continue doing projects with the kids. We also facilitated the primary assessment of the 12 villages that surround Angiya with FREE KENYA who will act as the trainer for the 1000 families. They did a full day with us and representatives of each village.

I am happy to report that the assessments have been completed for all 12 villages, the training is underway, that the local chiefs are now part of the process, the school has volunteered to donate land to have a demonstration farm and the reports we are getting are very positive.

Karen will be going for a short stay in late September to checkup on the progress of the program.

Sawa Sawa Winter 2016

Sawa Sawa is expanding the places and spaces we work with. We are adding the Medical Mission Sisters clinic in Angíya, Kenya outside of Homa Bay on the South end of Lake Victoria. Sister Gaudencia Wanyoni runs a maternity hospital as well as an AIDS clinic for the local people. We helped with replacement of roofs, looked at setting up a playground for the local children, started an art program in conjunction with the local schools and we supplied the clinic with medical supplies and medications thanks to Fairview Hospital and Steve Bannon

We will also be working with FREEKENYA in Kisumu to start to evaluate the Angiya area and see if we can get a training program for that community for agricultural diversity and ecological practices. Self- sustaining empowering training is where we are heading.

Our art program at the Anyiya Primary School was a huge hit and we almost needed a security detail to keep all of the kids out. We dealt with 20 at a time but all of the kids wanted in and the work that they did sold in the gallery the spring and summer of 2016.

Our time in Ranen has come to a end. Africa has provided a great learning experience and I won’t go in to details but it is time for Sawa Sawa to go else where

If you want to keep track on what were are doing, please check our Facebook page Sawa Sawa Foundation, Inc..


We continued the afterschool art program for 300 primary schoolchildren. We had an assessment done by FREEKENYA to see if the village would like to be trained in agricultural diversity.

We constructed the preschool playground area safe and installed play structures using local materials.

AIDS orphans service group: We brought laptop computers and introduced business training for the 60 women who maintain contact and records for 3000 AIDS orphans.

We repaired 10 homes with new roofs and some structural updates.

We distributed 100 Solar Luci Lux lights and introduced 15 solar phone chargers. The solar light and chargers helps 3 ways. 1. They do not need to buy kerosene thus saving 15ksh a day. 2.The pollutants don’t enter the home thus helping out the air quality in the home. 3. The cost to charge a phone is 15ksh a day and the charger can help charge two other phone therefore creating an income stream to the household.

2013-2014- Following the work of Karen at the village of Dago, our team went in February of 2014 and we worked with the local primary public school Dago Kogello to provide an arts enrichment program, First aid training for the social workers at the Dago orphanage, soil and water testing with the ultimate goal of enhancing agricultural practices and soil enrichment, setting the ground work and plans for establishing a water company which could supply deep well water for the village of Dago and as well as the primary school.

We also met with the local leaders to start with; building rapport and exploring ideas for the beginning of training programs for children in the area not likely to go beyond their primary educational experience-providing useful and needed skills, investing time and funds to increase the skills of the local midwife, etc. Our goal for this small community is to make it possible for all of these plans and ventures to grow to the point where they become financially self sufficient and empowered to create change a positive forward movement of their own accord.

It is with all of these past influences that we have begun a new set of projects in the Dago community in Ranen. The projects stem from Karen’s initial work at the Dago Della Hera orphanage. In 2013 she began to train the women working there with the many skills needed to successfully and efficiently achieve their goals with a better model of organization and computer literacy. From this intensive introduction and proven worth the community has "adopted " the skills that they learned and set the stage for the future programs. The most recent addition was introducing "creative arts" by Phil and Kathy on the February 2014 visit and a trained teacher into the Dago Kogelo primary school to continue this addition to the children’s education. This teacher is now being funded by Sawa Sawa.

2012-2013- HOREC- Our team arrived in February and began repairs to the orphanage water supply and dormitories was the main focus. We anticipated the delivery of a container with supplies and materials to be converted into a local medical clinic that could provide a laboratory to monitor the children’s aids medications as well as a source of health care for the surrounding community.

The container became a saga...loaded with medical, school, agricultural and building supplies it was detained in customs without any promise of release. It sat for months due to regulations, bureaucracy and corruption while Karen confronted scores of government officials and those that claimed to be able to help. We thought it would never get released. Tenacity and a refusal to accept defeat led to a head on battle that eventually secured the container and delivered its contents to the communities the donations were intended. Due to Kenyan government interference we were not able to set it up but it arrived 4 months later. The container became the clinic at HOREC and is now accepting patients and treating the whole community.

2011-2012 Our team began work with HOREC(Help Orphans Rescue Center) about 40 kms outside of Nairobi, Kenya in Joska to establish a local medical clinic and laboratory at their Aids orphanage. We spent time with the children and assessed what we could do. Getting the kitchen facilities to be safe and less polluting was one of our goals.

2010-2011-Our initial work in Kenya began as developing medical screening clinics, medication distribution with a local medical team. It was a cooperative venture with local public health officials and visiting nurse teams from the Sisters of St. Joseph in South Kinnagop, Kenya as well as in the village of Niavasha. We also worked at the AIDS orphanage and did new construction and repair of existing facilities. By partnering with Kenyans we could learn about the people and the culture of Kenya to better assist them with what they need not what we think they need. Art projects at Mogra Rescue Center School in Nairobi enhanced the creativity of the children there much to our surprise as this was a spontaneous project.

Karen Smith worked thru Village Volunteers for a full year with numerous connections to several villages and with notable projects focusing on sustainable, self sufficient, revenue generating ideas.

Three villages were visited by Karen in 2012 and 2013. Projects that she coordinated were as follows: Teaching First aid to teachers and older students as the medical care is far away, building a first aid clinic at Sirua Aulo Academy as well as moving 200 cubic yards of ground on a hillside to make a flat volleyball court and bringing all of the equipment to move the dirt as well as construct the court, teaching financial literacy to 750 rural women, teaching critical thinking to 8th for a 3000 Aids orphan program with 70 local women doing the community followup,planting many trees, repainting the Odoyo compound in Ranen, wrangling with the Kenyan government to get the container released etc

Check what we are planning on our “Future Projects” Page


Helping Kenyans help themselves to a better life

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