As part of our partnership with KENSAP, an organization that places top Kenyan scholars at universities in the United States, we offer the opportunity to have these students compete for placement in our internship program. This year, we were blessed to have two amazing interns join the Cross World Africa team on our 2019 mission trip. Please allow us to introduce Phoebe, a student at Brown University, and Collins, a student at Colby College.
2019 Interns Report
This summer, we were privileged to serve as interns for Cross World Africa. Our experience in this program has been phenomenal and one that exceeded our expectations. CWA’s mission of making hope a reality to under-privileged families and communities around Kenya was what attracted us to this great organization. We always wanted to give back to our community and CWA provided us with the best platform. As we write this report, fond memories of the smiling faces of the 2019 cow and goat beneficiaries, and the faces of the jovial kids at Mindililwo and Kibera run through our minds. In a small way, these memories make us feel that we have, as Eric Garvin says, brought hope to the hopeless, empowered the powerless and provide equality where there was inequality. In this report, we highlight some amazing stories of past beneficiaries whom we visited in the Nandi and Kapsabet region and also some of the recommendations we have for CWA.
In July, we were able to visit a total of 20 previous beneficiaries. Fifteen of these families were all success stories. Almost all the beneficiaries took very good care of their cows and what was quite exciting was that majority of the cows were 5 to 8 months pregnant. Susan Kogo, one of the pioneer beneficiaries, happily welcomed us to her permanent house which she built just about a year ago. She happily explained to us that the cow CWA donated to her in 2014 has had 3 calves already and it was then about 8 months pregnant. The first calf unfortunately died, she gave out the second calf during this year’s cow donation event in Nandi, the third calf was grazing with the mother and the fourth was patiently waiting to be born in her mother’s womb. Susan Kogo had also built a small nice storage place for firewood using the ksh 5000 that you gave her during the Nandi event. As we were about to leave, she gave us a hundred Kenyan shillings to buy sodas as we continued to other houses.
Mary Chepkosgei’s cow was doing extremely well too. Despite undergoing two miscarriages, the cow is doing well and in fact, according to Mary, the cow is currently pregnant. We also visited Theresa Chepchumba, Lucy Rop, Joyce Cheptanui, Sarah Chirchir, Josphine Chepketer, Leah Togom, Monica Chebet, Rospela Cheptanui, Dina Kogo, Patroba Chenesende, Mary Chumo, and Kona. All of these ladies have taken very good care of their cows and all the cows were either pregnant, had just given birth or have big calves. Of particular interest was Theresa Chepchumba, a deaf lady who was extremely happy to see us. Although we couldn’t communicate, we could tell by the broad smile on her face that she was very happy and thankful to have received the cow. Another jovial family was Josephine Chepketer’s whose cow had just given birth to a healthy male calf. Josephine’s husband mentioned to us that he actually brought some milk from the cow they had received to the event we had in Nandi this year. Another striking story was Leah Togom’s whose cow is named Colombia after one of CWA’s donors that year. We thought that was pretty cool. In all these visits, we emphasized the virtue of giving the first calf to another deserving lady in a bid to spread the love in the society. Surprisingly, all the beneficiaries received this message warm heartedly and were very willing to empower somebody else.
Even though we had all these success stories, we came across 5 past beneficiaries whose cows had died, mostly due to tick infestation. Stela Chepchumba, a young lady who’s most likely in her twenties, sadly narrates how her cow died during one of the very severe droughts in the region. Stela’s right eye got burnt when she was young and she’s been living with her mother at a very humble and semi-permanent house in a small village called Kapkagaon. It’s our wish that she be considered as one of the beneficiaries for next year. Also, Christine Chepkorir is an old lady who was among the 2015 beneficiaries of the program and whose cow died during pregnancy due to tick infestations. For Patroba Chepchirchir, she says that they woke up one day to find one of her cow’s leg broken. She says she suspects that it was deliberately hit by a jealous neighbor who didn’t want to see her succeed. She eventually sold the cow for ksh 10,000 but didn’t follow up with Dr. Benadette (Dr. Benadette is still following up on the matter).
Also, Lenah Cheptoo is a 2014 beneficiary whose cow died during pregnancy. Everlyne Chelangat, a 2017 beneficiary, also had her cow die after getting sick for a while. These beneficiaries are seeking help from Cross World Africa for the subsequent cow donation aids. Since giving these women another cow is less impactful, we thought that the first-born calves of the past beneficiaries’ cows be donated to those women whose cows died. However, we have a special request for Stela Chepchumba, a young lady whose left eye got injured when she was young, to be considered in the next phase of cow donations.
Apart from the livestock project, we were also able to get in touch with Vincent, the barber from Iten, who had an amazing story to share. He donated the shaving machine that CWA gave him this year to one of his friends named Geoffrey who now operates his own business and gets a little income from it in Iten town. In addition to the barber project, an English teacher at YMCA primary school in Kibera highlighted some of the plight that the teachers’ go through at the school. Most of them teach many classes and grade lots of books with very minimal pay. To appreciate their work, we suggest that the teachers be given some form of incentive to motivate them to do their work more passionately. Often, we find that teachers are less appreciated yet they are the ones bearing the whole burden of taking care of the kids. This is especially true in an area like Kibera where parents don’t really have enough income to fully take care of their kids.
In conclusion, we would like to express our appreciation for offering us this invaluable opportunity to serve as your interns for 2019. We learnt a lot from this experience and we feel obligated to come back to our country and help our people. Many thanks to Dr. Benadette for making the follow-up visits possible by providing us with a vehicle and a very nice guy called Samoei to walk us around the various families. Our experience serving as interns for CWA has taught us that
Thanks Phoebe and Collins for your hard work! We were lucky to have you join us this past year.