Sponsor a Child

Kisima’s director reports that once the children know they have a sponsor they hold their heads higher, have a spring in their step, and show a renewed dedication to their schoolwork. Sponsor a child for $300 per year. Younger students require two sponsors for full support while older students need at least three. The cost of books and exams during their last two years is quite high. Sponsor a teacher for $400 per year. Each teacher needs four sponsors for full support. When you choose or are assigned a child it would be great to write a letter to introduce yourself and include a photo. The kids LOVE to receive photos. Please do not send packages because they may not arrive. The address to send letters and photos is Kisima Academy, P.O. Box 74, Postal Code 50211, Naitiri, Kenya.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Trip dates set!

It's been a long time in coming but the dates for the trip to Kisima are finally set for April 12-27. So far there are three of us who are definitely going and a couple of other "maybes." We'll be in Kisima part of the time and in Nairobi part of the time. Be assured that everyone who is going will be paying all of their expenses themselves. All donations to Kisima go directly to Kisima.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


The fourth brick classroom is about halfway done. Finishing it will have to wait until more money is available.
The second set of latrines is almost finished. There is also a bath room being built.

Children are overjoyed with new 4th grade textbooks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Alternative Gift Opportunity

If you're lookg for a meaningful gift for those who seem to "have everything," please consider giving a donation in their honor to Kisima Academy. Even in these uncertain economic times we have many blessings for which to thank God. We take much for granted, often overlooking that in other parts of the world education is not free for students nor are there established programs for orphans. Without Kismia Academy 101 of God's children would be left to fend for themselves.
Honoring your friends through a donation to Kisima is quite simple. Just pick and item or items from the following gift list, such as school supplies, a cow, or chickens. Mail a check to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church http://www.coslc.ctsmemberconnect.net/ , 260 Wade Rd. W., Loudon TN 37774 along with a note giving your name, email address, and the gift item(s) you have chosen. A Gift Insert which will describe the project but not the amount of the donation will be emailed to you to download, print, and enclose in your personal greeting card.
Please keep in mind that Kisima Academy will receive 100% of your donation. Unlike most established charities, there are no administrative or fundraising costs.
Gift List:
1. School supplies for one child. Kisima is a registered school and the children take yearly national exams. Your donation will help give a child an education. $10
2. Feed a child for a month. Because of the drought this year food will be increasingly expensive in the coming months. Your donation will ensure a month's nutritious food for a child. $13
3. Support one teacher for a month. Your donation will help employ a dedicated and compassionate teacher who will make a difference in the lives of the children $18
4. Buy 400 bricks for a new classroom. Two new classrooms are needed for the upcoming school year. Your donation will make progress toward this goal. $26
5. Buy 10% of a cow. Three more cows are needed to ensure that the children have an adequate source of calcium and protein. $40
6. Rent one acre of land for one year. Kisima is looking for a hand up, not a handout. Two acres of land are needed to grow enough maize to feed the children. Until funds are available to purchase the land they must continue to rent acreage. $108
7. A mattress for one child. A few of the children have the luxury of sleeping on a mattress. The rest must sleep on empty feed sacks on the floor. More mattresses are urgently needed. $9
8. A flock of chickens. Chickens will provide not only eggs and meat for the children but also food for the tilapia growing in the new fish ponds. $18
9. Other urgent needs. Choose the amount of your donation. Kisima has many, many needs. A donation in this category will go toward items such as bookshelves, tables, a water pump for irrigation, or a plow.
Although much has been accomplished at Kisima Academy, there is still much, much more to be done. With the grace of God and your help the children will not only be cared for and educated but also given a chance at a future. Thank you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fish ponds finished and new classroom started

Tilapia ponds being dug

A start on a new classroom

The tilapia ponds are finished and being filled. Thanks to Bill and Debra Kirby and their friends and church members the children at Kisima will have a high quality source of protein.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wire transfer

Wire transfers go to Kisima three times a year--in March, July, and November. November's was sent yesterday. It's wonderful that Bill Kirby raised $1000--enough money to start the tilapia pond project. Also a truly wonderful friend of mine in Vero Beach sent $1000 and I sent over $1800 that I made making and selling mittens (and at least $550 more is coming). Together with the regular donations from us and from a couple at church it should at least keep the children fed until March. Praise be to God!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Martin and the children

I love this photo of Martin and some of the children.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sukuma wiki

Jessica and Gloria are picking kale (sukuma wiki). The food crisis is worsening. Last year the food crisis was caused by the election violence, this year by drought. However, Martin reports that there has been rain lately. In fact a storm flattened about a third of the remaining maize.
In other news, Rebecca and Emmanuel took ill and had to be transported to the medical center in the middle of the night. Thankfully they are back home and improving.
I am also thankful that the fish ponds are closer to becoming a reality. Hopefully enough funds will come in to start work on the ponds in a couple of months.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fish pond update and fundraising project

There's been a hitch in the fish pond plans. They will cost more than originally thought and so will be postponed until more money can be raised. If you've been thinking of donating some money this would be a good time!

Here's what I'm doing currently to raise money--making mittens out of felted old sweaters. They're lined with fleece and are really warm. Great for winter walking!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Classroom finished and fish ponds coming!

Martin sent photos of the third classroom which is now finished. He reported that the drought has damaged some of the maize crop but that the vegetables are growing well thanks to buckets and buckets of water hauled to the plot.
I was so excited to hear from Bill Kirby, an aquatic biologist in Texas who has been working with Martin to plan a tilapia farming project. Bill has raised enough money to have two 20'x40' ponds dug in the half acre plot near the river and also to buy piping and nets. Tilapia are native to Kenya and are quite easy to grow. How wonderful that the children will have such a good protein source!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Emmanuel Nyongesa

At 5 a.m. one morning last week the night watchman heard an abandoned child crying that he was hungry. He appears to be about 4 years old and his name is Emmanuel Nyongesa. He was suffering from malnutrition and Martin also thinks that he may have had polio. His health is improving with regular meals at Kisima.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Hopefully Martin will be able to finish the third classroom with the last money that was sent. Good progress but still a long way to go!

Construction materials being unloaded...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kisima growing

There are more children at Kisima--now 101, most of whom are still sleeping in three rented rooms. A dormitory seems a long way in the future. A more immediate need is for an additional latrine. Currently there is only one, with a boys' side and a girls' side but Martin has started construction on a second one. Real bathrooms are badly needed as well.

Otherwise the children are well and happy and the garden and crops are growing well. This week a wire transfer of funds will be sent including money from our church (Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Loudon TN) garage sale as well as donations from several church members, some of my wonderful friends, and a local doctor who grew up in Kenya. In addition to feeding the children hopefully significant progress can be made on the new classroom. Another exciting prospect is the possibility of starting a small tilapia farming program. More on that later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Garden plans

Martin has rented some land for a garden. Here is what he plans:

"...there is ½ an acre of ground near the river which we want to plant vegetables on. I think of purchasing a manual pump for irrigation. We shall put the seeds in nursery in July, transplanting will be done on August, where by we will need some fertilizer for the best results. These will be a big relief for the children on the side of vegetables that is self reliant.In the school compound, we are going to put seeds in nursery, this Month. We shall have four nurseries two for standard 3 & 2 who will plant cabbages, two for standard one and kindergarden who will plant kales (Sukuma-wiki) we just want to make them proud that they are owning something and start developing positive attitude in farming."

I love it that the children will be involved--a good experience for them and great to have the added nutrition.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hail damage

Martin writes that the maize crop sustained substantial damage during a recent hailstorm but that it was recovering slowly. Hopefully the harvest will still be a good one. In much better news, a wonderful friend from Kokomo wired money to install a water tank, rent two acres of land to plant, and finish the shelter for Barb the cow. Martin will have enough money left over to start the foundation for another classroom. Progress!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Maize is growing well

Martin reports that the maize is growing well and that they are finished weeding. Also:

"I assigned some people to dig a latrine and they are through. The soil from the latrine has been transferred to in between a mud classroom and a cow shade. I have made in a such way that it appears like a hill, I have planted grass on it and I hope the children will enjoy relaxing there.

Garden - we need to restrict our cow to a certain position. If we can have a wire mesh of about 28 meters long it will be very useful. From there I suggest we plant sukuma wiki, cabbages, carrots and tomatoes on our Garden."

It's so nice that the children will be having vegetables in their diet.
In more good news, the Social Concerns committee at church voted to donate $1000 from our recent garage sale to Kisima. Martin and the children will be very grateful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Food prices escalate further

Just when I thought we could relax a little I hear from Martin that food prices have escalated further. It's now costing more than $1200 per month to feed the children. He writes:

"The food situations is worse in the whole country... We have never experienced such situation since 1992. We people in rural area are much affected because we depend on maize so much unlike people in towns whereby they can get rice and other food stuffs in the supermarkets and open markets.''

I hope and pray that things will go back to normal with this year's crops. Planting has started:

"The rain started last week and we are busy in the farm. Previously I used to plant maize in one acre at home and rent ½ an acre totally to 11/2 acres. But due to economy situation, this year I was unable to rent ½ an acre. Instead I planted ¾ of an acre while ¼ of a acre I planted nappier grass for the cow.I planted tree seedlings and grass in the school compound."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

New photos

Water on demand! The well is finished and a pump installed
thanks to Shiloh's Endowment Fund.

The new bicycle will make it easier to transport food, feed for
the cow, etc. I think the man pictured painted the "Kisima" sign.

The completed classrooms thanks to Shiloh's Endowment Fund

A few of the children with their new blankets

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Kisima has been blessed with some wonderful support recently. Most significantly the Endowment Fund at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Kokomo, Indiana, sent a large donation. Also I was able to send money from several of my wonderful friends, from our church (Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church), and from my wonderful bunco group! Thanks to all this support, the two new classrooms will be finished (roofs, windows, and doors), the well made deeper and lined with brick, blankets and mosquito nets bought for the children, and food and operating costs covered until the new crops come in in November.

Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible. What a difference in the lives of these forgotten children!

Just one year ago Kisima consisted of three mud classrooms, a rickety latrine, and no water source. They've come a long way but there's still a long way to go. Kisima now has 98 children, 81 of whom are orphans who are housed in three rented rooms. They sleep on empty sacks on the floor. The greatest needs now are for another latrine and two more classrooms to be used as a dormitory. Oh, and a shelter finished for Barb the cow!

Martin writes: "...I am now having a deep sleep because we are completing roofing, doors and window frames. The children...will be comfortable during rain season.Oh! let God bless you and all friends who responded positively towards assisting the orphans at Kisima."

"...You have changed Kisima significantly. I take this opportunity to thank and appreciate the Christ Our Savior church and friends for supporting Kisima orphans.How we pray that God reward all church members and friends as they continue to support Kisima."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Newspaper article

The local newspaper did quite a nice article (just the first part is pictured here) on two of us here in the neighborhood who help support schools in Kenya. Then today I got a phone call from a man who said he had been given $100 for Christmas to give to African orphans. He didn't know where he could donate the money until he read the article. Thankfully Kisima was just the place he was looking for!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The new classrooms--just lacking roofs...windows...doors...

The new cow named Barb!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A cow...

February 11, 2009 update

The biggest news at Kisima is that they have a cow thanks to Shiloh United Methodist Church in Kokomo, Indiana. Here's what Martin writes about it:

"...For sure I am very grateful for this wonderful thing you’ve done for the Kisima children who you will see watching their cow and its feeds when the photo is ready. I just lack the words to express my sincere thanks and appreciations on behalf of Kisima but tell the Shiloh united Methodist children that they did a wonderful thing and may God bless you all as you continue standing with us.
My prayer is that God gives you great people the desire to come and see our beloved cow which the children named it Barb on arrival because I told them where it came from..."

He goes on to say that fencing is needed to prevent "interference from neighborhood animals."

Another wonderful friend in Kokomo sent Martin enough money to feed the children through March--fantastic! Martin and the children are so grateful!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Introduction by Gerda, first letter from Brother Martin

Kisima Academy
Kitale, Kenya

Two years ago I went with a group to volunteer at a school in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. There I met a man who has started and runs a school for 83 orphans in rural western Kenya. The school consisted of three mud classrooms and a small kitchen. Children sat on the floor for their lessons and had no water source. Martin farms in order to support the school but can only make enough to support it for three months of the year. Last spring I began sending him some money each month and in the fall our church and some friends contributed additional funds. He has been able to buy desks, build a brick latrine, have a well dug, and begin construction on two new brick classrooms as well as buy food for the children. Much still needs to be done but right now the most critical need is for food. Because of the election violence last year and bad weather the price of foodstuffs has doubled. Excerpts from Martin's letters follow. Gerda Fink

June 16, 2008

I greet you in the name of our lord, pass the same to your beloved husband. I am scanning the photos to show you how we used your sincere donation. We bought the desks which you can see the children sitting on comfortably. Even though they were not enough as the others are still sitting on the floor but the difference can be felt.
May God uplift you and the family at large as you continue helping these orphaned children.

July 9, 2008

...The school is about 450km from Nairobi. The school is situated is western province, western part of the country, on the slopes of Mt, Elgon, Bungoma district. The nearest town is Kitale which is about 30 Km away. The school has got 3 classrooms and a small kitchen all made of mud.83 children, 4 teachers, I night watchman. The large number of children are orphans whereby their parents died because of Aids, natural death, while few are from very poor family...

August 1, 2008
…The Kisima children are doing well, they are very happy, proud of you and seriously praying that God shields you and the family. They told me insisting that you have actually saved them from health problems, the situations was horrible but God touched you and did a wonderful thing.
These are some factors which made me to start a school in the rural place:-
It’s very safe security wise
Some food stuffs are cheaper price compared to those in the city.
There’s enough space for expansion
Above all to reduce the number of children who move from rural to town to get the necessary services like education...

Work progressing on the new latrine

September 23, 2008

…We are in terrible situation now, the children do not have food, yet prices have gone up and the situation will continue up to November when the maize will be ready, but so please still we are not expecting much because of bad weather. Sister I beg for your assistance, surely the children are suffering but we are looking forward to see what God will do for them. The burden of food, teacher’s salaries, watchman and the cook is really becoming unbearable due to the problems that were caused by the post-election violence…

The finished latrine

September 29, 2008

What I think can help this school is as follows;
1. we buy one acre of land costing ksh 320,000/=
2. we buy three dairy cows (exotic) each costing ksh 30,000/= total ksh 90,000/=
3. we buy nappier grass cutter machine costing ksh 35,000/=
- the land will be used for planting nappier grass and keeping the cows
- each cow can give almost 15 litres of milk per day
- we can use some for children’s consumption at school and we sell the remaining for example if we sell 10 liters at ksh 25/= per litre we will get 250 per day and ksh 7,500/= per month., Subtract ksh 2500/= for feeds we remain with ksh 5,000 times three cows = ksh 15,000/= it will be a big boost…

October 30, 2008

... The kisima children are very happy and much thankfull to what you have done to them. We only lacked a photographer, you could have seen how joy they were during lunch hour. It was anew begin in their life after going through tough moment i.e short of food...

November 21, 2008

...Sincerely speaking your great and wonderful work is now being manifested in Kisima. I am very happy and grateful for your noble and never felt support though the happiest group is the Kisima children. Steadily they are noting great changes in their lives. They have now started feeling like other children in well up families. This is because of receiving your funds. I bought them two balls and ropes for skipping so they are no longer idle but very active during physical education lessons, break time, lunch and games. This is going to keep them physically fit.
Apart from that, I also found it necessary to dig a borehole because we have been fetching water for school use from far, so very soon, we are going to have humble time no water problems because I am planning to cement/plaster the borehole right from the bottom to avoid muddy water.
Just as I had informed you that we need at least two classes by January, I decided to start building two classes using bricks, sand, ballast and cement .So the borehole water is also going to help us a great deal by providing water for construction purposes. The children also are very happy on seeing that they are going to learn from permanents classes just like the pit latrine though I know that the cost is higher than what I have at the moment but I know that God is in control and with him, all things are possible...

The new well

Footings for the new classrooms

Progress on the new classrooms

December 19, 2008

…since we are are looking forward for std four next year, we are also having the burden of desks, text books and another teacher. But I am not all that worried because the God who has brought us that far, is still in control.

Another important thing you requested to know was the issue of children’s sleeping place. In deed this has remained crucial issue on side because of shortage of facilities. So at the moment, I considered several cases i.e. those children who had nowhere to stay completely due to clashes or orphanage and rented a nearby house from an old man who lives alone. In fact that house sometimes appears in the school photos because it’s next to the school compound there are still others who admire and need to be absorbed but there is little I can do. In fact I was thinking that may be I will be forced to let them be sleeping in the in the classroom come morning they take out their beddings and arrange the desks for learning so in other words, a dormitory is highly needed to make the children more comfortable.
Anyway, Kisima has a long way to go but all in all we know that God is faithful enough to take us through each and every problem ahead...

January 14, 2009

…requesting you and your friends to visit Kisima, The children will feel your presence and have hope. Imagine a friend traveling as far as America to a rural place Kisima school, the children will be happy and proud about their future. We need to have a better world, but we can’t achieve if we don’t mind the orphans and the poor children. We sideline them, they destroy the world in future.
My dear sister we are facing a serious food shortage at school. famine is at escalating rate in the whole country due to bad weather, post election violence, and a high cost of fertilizer which result the majority failing to plant maize .We need 20kgs of maize per day = 600kgs per month, at the moment 1KG is costing Ksh 40, how I pray that let our almighty God touch the hearts of our friends to help and save the situation...