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.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kisima celebrates Christmas

From Martin:
"The time has come, the time is now, and Kisima Academy is joining the rest of the world to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Kisima children, staff, and my family joined hands together to remember a wonderful moment as it occurs on December 25th every year: Jesus born and crucified because of our sins so that we are saved.
The sermon was presented by Madam Margaret from the book of Luke 2:11-20. The teaching touched the hearts of the children and they counted the blessings from God through our friends from the United States of America. Their lives have changed drastically and we glorify Our Lord. They are able to feed, being taught how to farm and carry out the necessary procedures leading to successful yields. These skills will be advantageous for them when they grow up and after completing their education. As many families travel to various picnic places to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Kisima children move around the school compound and praise the Lord for providing the necessities to them, that is, permanent shelter, clothes, food, and education.
We thank God for making for making, maintaining, uplifting, and sustaining Kisima to the required standards. This becomes practical because of the hearts that God has touched on the behalf of Kisima. I take this chance to appreciate all the prayers, donations, and all the support from our friends, well-wishers, and sponsors for sharing the little they have with the Kisima children. May our Lord God reward them in a mighty way as they continue standing together with Kisima. God bless."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Photo of school

Here is a photo of the school from across the road.
The first four classrooms are on the left, the old mud classrooms are in the middle, and the two new classrooms are on the right. The small building in front of the new classrooms is the kitchen. The cow shelter and chicken coop are on the other side of the school buildings.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Preschool classroom finished (almost)

The preschool classroom is finished except for the door, windows, and floor which will be installed with the next wire transfer. Such a blessing to be able to finish two classrooms this year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Alternative Gifts

Please brighten the lives of the children and honor your friends and relatives this Christmas with a gift to Kisima Academy in their name. A lot of progress has been made but there are still many needs to be met. Your gift, no matter how small, will be a huge help. Please remember that 100% of your donation goes directly to Kisima and is tax deductible.
1. $10--School supplies for one child.
2. $13--Feed a child for one month. Kisima is able to produce much of its food but there are still items that have to be purchased—for example fruit, millet for porridge, and vegetable oil.
3. $18—A flock of chickens. Currently there are only enough chickens for each child to have an egg every two weeks.
4. $25 for one month or $300 for a year—Sponsor a teacher. So far only two of the teachers have sponsors. Click on "Sponsor an orphan program" at right to see photos of the teachers as well as of the orphans.
5. $35—400 bricks for building a new classroom. A new classroom must be built each year as the children advance in school.
6. $35—Textbooks for one child.
7. $40—10% of a cow. More cows are needed to provide enough milk for the children.
8. $115—A bunk bed plus bedding. Martin has been buying two or three bunk beds at a time as funds have allowed but still many of the children are sleeping on the floor.
9. $240/year—Sponsor a child. A few children have sponsors but there are 92 who are still waiting to hear that someone prays for and cares about them. Click on "Sponsor an orphan program" link at right to see photos.
10. Any amount toward other needs—tables, chairs, bookshelves, cooking pots, school uniforms, sandals, toys, art supplies, seeds, fertilizer, two more latrines, two dormitories, two more tilapia ponds.

Please send your check to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 260 Wade Rd. W., Loudon TN 37774. Include a note with your email address and which gifts you would like to purchase. Thank you so much.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maize shelled

Martin bought tents in order to dry the maize more easily. He shelled it yesterday and got 41 90-kg. bags. This amount of maize will feed the children for five and a half months. After the drought last year and the election violence the year before this harvest is a blessing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Preschool classroom started

The foundation for the preschool class has been started. Martin has also ordered more bunk beds. The old sign was getting rather shabby so Martin had a new one painted. You might wonder why there are water faucets on the sign. Kisima means "well" in Swahili. Before Kisima's well was dug they had to walk about a mile to a spring for their water. The spring was the only safe water source for about a 1.5-mile radius. We don't stop and realize how fortunate we are to have ready water at the turn of a tap.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I hadn't heard from Martin for some time. Today I got an email saying that the generator is broken. Without the generator he can't charge his computer. Tomorrow he's going into Kitale which is 17 miles away. To get there he calls for a motorcycle to take him to the main road where he catches a bus into town. A broken generator also means no lights at night. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A sports day

On Saturday the children got to go to a nearby public school playground to play volleyball, netball, and soccer. Hopefully they'll have this opportunity often. At Kisima all they have is a couple of soccer balls (but no field or goals) and a few jump ropes.
In the other photo the children are entranced by photos from around the world.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eight bunk beds

Kisima now has eight bunk beds, four for the girls and four for the boys. The children who get to sleep in them feel very lucky indeed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

excerpt from Martin's latest letter

"We have got eight double beds in total at the School. The children are very happy than before. The dormitories are neat and attractive. We pray and believe that God will inspire the souls of many friends and well wishers to support Kisima children with more beds. At least the children have something to smile than before, even though they stay in a mud, un-cemented floor but we thank God for how far He has brought us. Remember any item or gift to the Kisima is a blessings to the children."
Martin also reported that the maize is drying nicely, the kale and arrowroot are growing, the tilapia doing well, and one of the cows is pregnant. I am so thankful that everything is doing so well after last year's drought and the election violence of 2008. The more money that has to go for food the less money is available for everything else from building supplies to books.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fifth classroom finished

The fifth classroom is completely finished and is being used by the preschool class until January when it will be needed for Class 5. Then the preschoolers will have to go back to their old mud classroom until funds become available to build a classroom for them. Currently Kisima has PreK through Class 4. Another class will be added each January as the children progress.
The other buildings that are badly needed are dormitories. Currently 35 girls sleep in the second old mud classroom and 40 boys sleep in the third. The rest of the orphans must sleep at the homes of distant relatives although they are at school from breakfast to dinner.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another cow

Here's the third cow. Shiloh sent the money for this cow and another one yet to be purchased. Many thanks to them! Four cows should be able to provide enough milk for the children.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fifth classroom almost finished

Quick work! The fifth classroom is almost finished.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fifth classroom started

Thanks to the generosity of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church and many friends enough money was wired to build the fifth classroom as well as provide for the children and pay the staff until the next wire transfer in November. Heartfelt thanks on behalf of Martin and the children.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New beds and mattresses

The children are excited to get more mattresses (all the children have them now) and a couple of new beds. Progress!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sponsors anyone?

There are still only 11 sponsors which leaves a lot of children and teachers in need. Can you help by sponsoring a child for $20/month or a teacher for $25? Click on the link at the right for photos of the children. Your tax deductible check may be sent to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 260 Wade Rd. W., Loudon TN 37774. Remember that 100% of donations goes directly to Kisima--there are no administrative costs. Please email me at gerdafink@gmail.com with questions. Thank you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Exciting news about the tilapia project--Martin made the first big harvest. There was enough not only for the children to eat but to sell about $190 worth--enough to buy two more beds. Here the preschool class is eating ugali with the fish. Ugali is maize flour and water cooked down to a consistency like stiff mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some good news and some bad news

I was getting worried because I hadn't heard from Martin for 10 days. It turns out that his older son was in the hospital for a week with malaria. His younger son was ill also but they believe it was typhoid. What a worry for Martin and Margaret. Martin's mother sold a heifer to pay the hospital bill. Thankfully both boys are now recovering.
In better news Martin was able to acquire the acre of land adjoining the school thanks to Shiloh Methodist Church. Kisima really needed the additional land to build more classrooms and a dormitory and for the cows and goats to graze.
Speaking of goats one of them delivered twin kids last week. Martin said that he would like to acquire more goats because they reproduce twice per year and and they require less care than cows. A Christ Our Savior member donated the money for another goat bringing the goat count to six.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The first bed!

The children were very excited by the delivery of a bunk bed. Hopefully many more will follow if funds are available. Currently the children all sleep on the dirt floor.

Smiling faces

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thanks to Shiloh

Many, many thanks to Shiloh United Methodist Church in Kokomo, Indiana, and to Bill Kring for sending the funds to purchase the acre of land adjacent to the school. This will ensure that Kisima has room to grow. The money they sent will also enable Martin to lease the fields where the maize is grown for five more years and to purchase two more cows, more mattresses, and a month's worth of food. Kisima is indeed blessed to have such wonderful friends.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Irrigation pump

Martin was able to buy a pump to irrigate the fields near the river thanks to the Rotary Club of Vienna VA. Last year there was a severe drought in Kenya and the harvest was poor. This year at least those fields will be protected. Many thanks to the Rotary!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A few sponsors

Eleven people have become sponsors so far. Thank you to them! It's a start but there's a long way to go. You might think that most of the orphans were AIDS orphans. However, there are more than twice as many orphans from election violence/tribal clashes as there are from AIDS. In the 2008 election violence what frequently happened was that people who lived in an area of conflict brought their children and animals to a safer area. When they went back to safeguard their property they were killed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sponsor Program

Please help by sponsoring an orphan for $20/month or a teacher for $25. It would be a wonderful thing to do for grandchildren or children--a great gift to open a window on a world where the children have never seen a t.v. or a computer game, sit four to a crude wooden desk for their lessons, and sleep 40 to a room on dirt floors. Please remember that Martin has no source of money other than what I'm able to raise with the help of friends and that 100% of donations go to Kisima.
If you are unable to sponsor a child perhaps you would consider a one-time donation. Tax deductible donations may be sent to:
Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church
260 Wade Rd. W.
Loudon TN 37774
Please indicate on the check that it is for Kisima.

(click on the photo)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring project

While I was at Kisima, Martin and I met with the village elder and some of the members of the community. The community spring on the village elder's property and near Martin's house is the only water source for people living within a 1-mile radius. Martin presented a plan to the community to improve the spring by lining it with bricks. He asked people to collect bricks, gravel, and sand and said that he would be responsible for providing the cement.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kisima visit April 2010

Here's an online photo album of the visit...
(click on the photo)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back home from visit to Kisima

Barb, our long-time friend and former back door neighbor, and I are home from our visit to Kenya, We had a great time and a very rewarding and productive visit to Kisima. Here the children are performing a wonderful welcome dance for us and for Bill Kring, Pat Boe, John Andirah, and Lilian who had come to visit Kisima for a day.
We toured the area, including the maize fields and the tilapia ponds which are near Martin's house. This was taken near his house looking across the river to Kisima which you can just see in the background.
We visited the classrooms where the children stood up and greeted us in unison...

and witnessed the kids' joy in having new textbooks. Here it's the Class 1 children. Class 4 also got some new textbooks.
It's amazing how much fun kids can
have with just a beach ball or a
jump rope.

Here we're saying good-bye. It was sad to say good-bye to such happy, lively children. They're such a contrast to the downcast, listless children we saw while driving along the roads. Seeing them reinforced the conviction that Martin and his wife, Margaret, are such a blessing to these 140 children. Because of them they have a chance at a future.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Emmanuel Nyongesa buried

Emmanuel Nyongesa died of sickle cell anemia. Together with the local assistant chief Martin was able to trace his grandfather--so at least whatever members of his family there are know about his death.
In better news, the vegetables are doing very well, the maize has germinated, the chicken structure is nearly finished, and Martin is planning the goat structure. Kisima is becoming a real farm with the capability of feeding the children a varied and healthy diet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Good news and bad news

Very sad news. Martin wrote today that Emmanuel Nyongesa, the little boy who was abandoned at Kisima in the middle of the night, has died. I'm grateful that he was well taken care of and happy for the last few months of his short life.
In very good news, two friends of Barb's donated a goat each. They will be named Cindy and Jeannette after their donors. Wonderful friends!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two weeks to go!

We're making final preparations and getting very excited about our trip. Just a little over two weeks to go! We're looking forward to being able to assess Kisima's needs and work with Martin to make plans for the future. We will be taking lots and lots of photos including one of each child with the aim of getting sponsors.
Great news--Kisima will have two more cows and money toward food and land thanks to Shiloh United Methodist's Endowment Fund. Many, many thanks to them. Likewise many, many thanks to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church for their donation. Kisima has indeed been blessed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rotary grant

The Rotary Club of Vienna, Virginia, gave Kisima a $1000 grant for building supplies or farming equipment. Many, many thanks to them. On the left is Dr. Joe Pace, who submitted the application, and on the right is Jim Marshall, President of the club.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

39 new children

In walking around the village Martin encountered a number of very small children in desperate need of care. Nine of them are orphans living with distant relatives who have little interest in them. Thirteen are children of unemployed single mothers who get up very early to look for daily work on farms. The children were left alone all day with nothing to eat until evening. The other 17 were from desperately poor families. All were ragged, hungry, and downcast. Martin has such a compassionate heart for these unfortunate children that he felt compelled to talk to their guardians and parents about having them coming to Kisima during the day. Now they are being cared for and fed. They are all in the preschool class which is being held in one of the old mud classrooms.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alexis the cow, new mattresses, etc.

The new classroom and storeroom were finished with donated bricks.

Children are overjoyed to get mattresses.

Alexis the cow joins Barb the cow--and soon there will be a third. The children are very excited at the prospect of a calf. Martin will buy the chickens as soon as he has built some pens. The children and staff are all grateful for the alternative gifts of food, school supplies, teacher support, and bricks in addition to the chickens and cow. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas at Kisima

Here is Martin's report of Christmas at Kisima:

"Our Christmas was very nice as we had a humble time with the children; we took the morning breakfast of different taste that is millet porridge with milk and some sugar added in it. We had the several plays, showing the birth of Jesus Christ. The sermon was given by Teacher Margaret. We had a pleasure to visit our fish ponds, whereby the children were so excited to see the fish feeding and hiding when they see any movement of a human body. After some time we went back to our school, where we had lunch that is ugali served with a piece of meat and kales (sukuma wiki). After lunch we had enough moment for story telling up to 4pm when the children went to the field to play. They had to take shower then after they took their super Rice and cabbages."

Normally wire transfers go to Kisima in March, July, and November. However, Kisima was blessed with enough money from the Alternative Gift campaign and several significant donations to warrant an additional transfer. Martin will be able to finish the much-needed fourth classroom as well as buy another cow, chickens, more mattresses, food, school supplies... What a difference all this will make to the lives of the children!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Alternative Gift Campaign yields results

I hadn't heard from Martin for two weeks and was becoming concerned. It turns out that there had been a public transport strike that had prevented him from going the 17 miles to Kitale to use the Internet cafe. However, all is well there. He is very happy that the alternative gift campaign yielded a month's food for 10 children, school supplies for five children, 15 months of support for a teacher, 11 mattresses, a year's rental of one acre of land, 2400 bricks, 20% of a cow, and a LOT of chickens. Also, some "whatever is needed" money. Thank you to everyone who participated and especially to Denise who came up with the idea and did most of the work.
Several other donations will allow Martin to finish the fourth classroom, secure more land rental and buy fertilizer, and buy the other 80% of the cow (thanks, Alexis!).