2018 Kenya Connect 5K!

2018 Kenya Connect 5K Register HERE

Looking for a unique spring run/walk?  Please register for Kenya Connect’s 4th annual race being held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 9:00 am.  This year the race will be held in Howard County beginning at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City and will run through the beautiful Dunloggin neighborhood.

A special feature is that the winners 1st through 3rd place male/female in the following age groups: Under 12, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 and 80+ will receive hand-carved medallions made specifically for this race by our friends in Wamunyu, Kenya.

Participants are also invited to garner pledges/donations for their run. Depending on the amount you raise, you will be presented with special hand made gifts from our friends in Wamunyu, Kenya to say Thank You for your extra efforts.

  • Raise $100 – Receive a special carved wooden race medallion
  • Raise $250 – Receive a carved wooden race medallion AND a beautiful hand woven basket
  • Raise $500+ – Receive a carved wooden race medallion AND a beautiful woven basket AND a hand carved wooden Hakuna Matata sign.

Click HERE if you want to sign up to raise extra funds for Kenya Connect and  receive unique Hand Made Kenyan gifts listed above. Every dollar goes a long way.

Since this is half of an intercontinental race series, anyone entering the race in Maryland, USA will automatically receive a free entry into the sister 6.6k race in Wamunyu, Kenya in October 2018 and would receive a medallion for completing both races.

All proceeds benefit the work of Kenya Connect to empower and engage students and teachers in rural Kenya.  For additional information contact Steve Sharpe: steve@kenyaconnect.org

Interesting in being a sponsor? Contact Sharon Runge: sharon@kenyaconnect.org

Join us for some Kenya Connect fun by registering for the 2018 5K

Click HERE to Register



Calling All Educators: Looking for an Adventure?

Kenya Connect is offering our third Volunteer and Travel Opportunity for Educators at our Learning Resource Center in Wamunyu. The trip, designed to provide teachers a rich cultural experience in rural Kenya, is being offered in June 2018. Kenya Connect Board Member and retired teacher, Laura Carter, will lead the trip in conjunction with the Kenya Connect staff in Wamunyu. Participants will have the opportunity to teach in Kenya Connect partner schools and assist in a professional development workshop for Wamunyu teachers. Participants will also visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center and visit the Tuesday Wamunyu Market, The Woodcarvers coop and a homestead. For more information contact Sharon Runge, Executive Director.

teacherbrochure       KC General Trip Application

Is there an Impact?

It’s 9:30 am and I am squished between my mom and the window, seated in seats designed for skinny eighth graders. We just left Kenya Connect’s Learning Resource Center and are headed to the primary school we are working at today. The trip takes us out 45 min. from the small village of Wamunyu into increasingly remote areas. With the bumpy rhythm of the drive, my mind starts to mull over the question that had plagued me ever since I had committed to this trip four months earlier: is my traveling to Kenya to teach primary school classes each day (me, an engineering student who has zero experience with teaching) the most impactful way to use the money I’m spending or should I have instead donated it directly to the cause – to help pay for secondary school for several students, for example?

As we journey down the rutted road, with dust spraying up from the tires, we see two older men who are straining to pull some rocks out of a hole. When we pass by, their faces light up and they wave enthusiastically.   Ten minutes later, we pull into the school, and a crowd of 150 singing and dancing kids forms behind the bus to welcome us. As we get out of the bus to join them, they inevitably draw my attention to the slogan painted in white on the back of the bus: Wonderful things happen when kids connect.

Each day at a primary school had a different moment of connection for me. There was the hospitality I felt to be welcomed as one of the Kamba tribe at a ceremony at the first school where they named us in Kikamba. Mine is Mutiso, meaning, “Boy born under the moon.” The joy of silliness we all experienced when the school children released delighted giggles as we taught them the “Go Bananas” song. Watch the inquisitive faces of the older girls as they watched the demonstration of the reusable sanitary pads. And it was fun to watch the struggles of each student team as they tried to navigate the river of lava their floor had suddenly turned into without leaving any teammate behind in our team building exercise.

On our last Saturday, the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center was bustling with activity from a group of teachers and two groups of secondary school students, one from The School Fund (TSF) and the second from the US Embassy Access Grant program. I worked specifically with the Access students where we hosted a series of presidential debates with the goal of improving public speaking skills. It was clear that the extra LRC classes, the exposure to computer resources (the LRC is the only facility with accessible computers in a 100 mile radius), and the field trips to Nairobi, Kenyan universities, and the US Embassy had connected these two student groups to a world of possibilities. Their hope and potential was infectious. Each had their own dream; a profession they wanted to pursue with their education, whether that was politics or architecture, and they would fit right into any high achieving group of students in a US school.

Over the duration of the trip, as I kept pondering my impact question, I came to a couple of conclusions. First, I realized I had experienced firsthand the role of education in providing ambition and optimism within a community. Second, I realized how much I, and my view of the world, had changed because of my connection with these people in Kenya. Between my personal growth – my expanded horizons, and my increased ability to place poverty and NGO work in context – and the work I did through and with Kenya connect in the community of Wamunyu, I came away secure in the knowledge that the trip was well worth the investment. Wonderful things happen when kids connect.

Evan Schlick recently graduated from Dartmouth College. He traveled with Kenya Connect in June 2017