Service & Safari in Kenya

It is everyone’s dream to visit Africa, its broad plains, expansive horizons and thundering herds of elephant and wildebeest.  After a few days of being there, there was some deep connection stirred up.

You may have thought it was out of reach.  We hope to make this possible, comfortable and rewarding for you. The trip length may depend on some of your own choices about Safaris or trips to special places to visit.

A trip of 10-14 days is our goal.  We will host you in our village at the farm of the Episcopal Archbishop. This is the time to contribute your hands and heart to the community..  People from the countryside feel honored that you have come to their village.  Whatever skills you have: teaching soccer or volleyball, playing chess or checkers,  teaching them some nutrition or food preparation, carpentry, or working in the gardens, teaching coding, doing an art, music or writing project.  All are welcomed. 

What will it Cost?

1 Person: Airfares: $1600-$2000: We will work to get some group fares to keep them affordable.  I have been able to get airfares under $1500.  This trip is projected for 2023. It is possible that the fuel costs could go down making the current prices more reasonable.

  The village and area where our service project is located is in the area of rolling hills,  smallholder farms everywhere up and down the hills.  It is not far from Mount Elgon,  It’s high altitude montane forest dominates the landscape and supports a rich bird life. The upper slopes offers much to hikers and wildlife lovers

Internal Travel: $500 Our village is in Western Kenya not far from the Ugandan border. It is a long (8 hours) bus ride from Nairboi to Bungoma town.  But the views of the valleys and hills of the country are beautiful. Sometimes we drive through game reserves and see wildlife. The fastest way to travel from Nairobi to Western Kenya is to take a short Kenya Airlines flight, less than one hour.  The cost has been under $100 in the past. 

Food & Lodging:  Weekly Food $50 per person.  Lodging: Free at our site.

Hotel Rates are under $50 per person per day

Health Concerns: Is there a danger of COVID? This is different in each African country.  Kenya had low mortality rates during 2021 than the US.  We would not send you if there was a serious outbreak.  And if you are someone with a vulnerable immune system,  we would carefully evaluate each step of the trip to see if you could be safe enough. 

Are there any other common diseases from which you should protect yourself?

This is the information which the CDC posts for each country, so that you know which shots or vaccines you need. The information covers the entire country, and the areas you visit made not have any smallpox or yellow fever.  The most common exposure is malaria. 


Exploring Kenya and Safaris

There are many wildlife parks and varied landscapes to explore.  Near our Western Kenya project is the Kakamega Wildlife Park, which is at a high altitude and favored for its birds.

The Maasi Mara is located to the south of our location.  And in the middle of the country is Mount Kenya surrounded by several national parks with a variety of wildlife, large mammals, elephants, rhinos, as well as the antelopes, zebras and wildebeest.  The wildlife in the parks depends on the season. 

What is Giving Service

There are many choices: Visiting Schools – talking to classes of children about your interests, what career or interests have helped you in life. or your thoughts about the future for them.


  • Visiting widows in their homes, bringing them some items they can use for daily living. 
  • Were you a soccer coach or a runner?  The youth will want you to share your knowledge.
  • Teaching – giving a class in your area of expertise
  • Sewing or crafts you know how to do
  • Art class
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Their Voices: Young Kenyans Speaking Out

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Global Warming & Its Impact on Rural Families

An update on drought and hunger in Kenya.  

(This information reports from what our local staff tells us and also information provided by Kenyan news broadcasts.)

Many regions of Kenya are now reporting severe drought, reduced rains and loss of crops. This approaching rainy season is predicted to bring less rain than past seasons. 

Some of the areas most affected by the drought are those traditionally dependent on nomadic animal husbandry, and considered more desert and open savannah rather than agricultural areas.   There has been some significant investment by development groups in these areas, for example building green houses in Turkana.  However the greener, usually more productive agricultural areas such as Bungoma county are now suffering from a hotter drier climate. The farming families depend on rain and local water sources for their water. The drying up of rivers and bore holes are problems many years in the making exacerbated by the warming climate.

Small Solutions Big Ideas and our partner One Planet Education Network have been implementing programs to improve soil and water retention for almost 4 years.  Traditional practices wear out the soil through over use of fertilizers and an absence of organic soil additives. Our region (Bungoma) has suffered from shorter rains, which has reduced crop volume and quality.  If one drove down the hills to the flat lands the crop failures are even more severe.  Our job is to continue to educate the community and spread better agricultural practices, as well as advocate for government measures to restore clean water sources for this community.

Water Resource for Household Water and Irrigation for local farming families

Sandra Thaxter President Small Solutions Big Ideas.


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The Real Impact of COVID on Kenyan Communities

Time Kenya Rural Village Learning Center

Our young high and primary school students enjoy lessons during covid-19 pandemic. Since late June we have organized 36 lessons of different subjects that include, Math, Biology, Fasihi, English literature, Chemistry, Geography and Physics for high school students and English language, Kiswahili, Math, Social Studies

Mary We love this student oriented program, may you support it up December so that we can overcome many challenges as young I being one of them.”

Laurian: This instruction for helps us cover the topics that were not easy to comprehend at school giving us a great potential to excel in our exams at school. I would like this discussion to progress because it’s saving us a lot in this covid-19 break since studying at home is really a great task

Allan: The discussion had helped a big number of students and encouraged socialization because we are from different schools.It encourages some students to have courage to speak before others without fear does promoting self-esteem. At the same it’s promoting student-to-student interaction as well.

Elizabeth: It has been a courteous thing to all of us participating. Through our discussions we have been sharing our knowledge together exchanging ideas and also making good friends. The moral lessons and awesome advice that we have been receiving from our mentors and teachers, moreover, our fellow students have motivated us a lot. We always put more emphasis on compulsory subjects for example Biology,

Teacher Bonaventure says: It is quite encouraging and gives them hope for a better future as far as their syllabus coverage is concerned. The number of students coming at the center has tremendously increased but space is the big issue as far as Covid-19 protocols are to be considered.

This is a community of learners and young leaders. We are proud of them.

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Changing Rains

This is the end of January.  The ususal weather at this time of year is dry, no rain. Since late December the country has experienced heavy and frequent rains.  This has not ever happened within the memory of most residents. There was an El Nino effect in 1997 which cause unusual rains, but the rains were not as heavy as these.  There was flooding in some counties, in this Western location there were no floods but considerable erosion of hills and roads, even a landslide at Mount Elgon.  Could we say it is Climate Change?  There is no other explanation.

Last night it rained, heavily, lightning and thunder shattering the comforting croaking, and chirping of night creatures.  I slept through with many crazy dreams about having a stone I wanted to place in the arrangement along the stairway of this porch somewhere in New Hampshire house with a deck. When it rains hard, the power goes out, and all our laptops and cell phones will be still dead in the morning.

Another night of heavy rain.   Most farmers are now just preparing their fields for planting in the next few weeks.  If this rain is followed by drought, or the March rains come late and less, there will be problems with the crops.  It is true that right now the cows are happy.  But if there is too much rain, the roads become mud, gardens turn into a swamp, and toilets back up into homes or the yard. The forecast is for this to be over by Friday.  But people are still worried.

We have asked students and local people about the heavy rains.  Most are concerned about their planting which happens in mid-March. If the fields are too wet they will not be able to plant.  Some of the October plantings did not succeed because of the rains. This were beans, potatoes and sukuma wiki.  So we are in the unknown as far as managing the impact of weather.

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Newsletter – Global Climate Change Opinion Maker: David Zaremba

Clean Energy Africa #13 — Comparing Africa’s and the US’s Population and Energy Increase to 2050 David Zaremba

Comparing Africa’s and the US’s Population and Energy Increase to 2050Clean Energy Africa #13 – October 21, 2019 Note: This is a re-write of my posting two weeks ago, Population Increase in Africa.

With feedback from readers and further thinking on the subject, I thought it best that I focus exclusively on the main point, namely, that it is the increase in population in the US, rather than the 23 times larger increase in population in Africa, that is going to contribute most to the heating up of the planet.  I would appreciate it if you would circulate this as widely as possible.

 In the discussion on global warming, one current issue of concern is the increase in world population. As I discuss in this article, this is only a part of, and not even the significant part of, the equation. To get a more accurate perspective, let us compare the population increase in Africa and the United States and then compare this to the projected increase in energy use and CO2 admissions of Africa and the United States during the next 30 years to 2050.
The recent UN Population Division estimates for the world’s population increase indicate that the number of people in the world will increase from 7.795 billion in 2020 to 9.74 billion in 2050, an increase of 1.94 billion people. Africa’s population will increase from 1.34 billion people to 2.49 billion people, an increase of 1.15 billion people.

This means that in the next thirty years Africa will add 59% of the increase in the world’s population.

I think that this is unrealistic. The classic case is the UN Population Division’s estimates for Niger, which has the second to highest fertility rate in the world. The UN Population Division estimates that there are 24 million Nigeriens in 2020, will be 66 million people in 2050, and 165 million people in 2100. Here are the CIA Factbook’s comments on Niger’s geography: “landlocked; one of the hottest countries in the world; northern four-fifths is desert, southern one-fifth is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture.” Will Niger ever be able to support seven times more people than it does today, particularly as global warming makes this country hotter? Something will have to give. Will it be death by starvation, massive annual food imports, immigration to other countries, a much faster demography transition to a lower birthrate than estimated by the UN Population Division, or a combination of these possibilities?
Regardless of this, the UN Population Division’s estimates are those are being used by those concerned with population increase and global warming. Therefore like most others concerned with these issues, I am using their projections.
In the next thirty years the United States is projected to increase its population from 331 million people to 379 million people for an increase of 48 million Americans. For every American added during this period, 23 Africans will be added.

Since I have been living in Kenya for the last 12 ½ years, I am going to use Kenya as the example for an African country. Using the CIA World Factbook as a source, I calculate that in electricity consumption, the average American uses as much electricity as 496 Kenyans.
I calculate that in oil consumption, the average American uses as much oil as 183 Kenyans.  Moreover American use significant amounts of natural gas, while Kenyans use so little, it is recorded as “0” in the CIA Factbook.

Then in CO2 admission, the average American produces the same amount as 264 Kenyans.
Kenya is a lower middle income country and the wealthiest country in eastern Africa. For the much poorer Burundi, the average American uses the same amount of electricity as 10,188 Burundians (only 7.6% of Burundians have electricity at all) and the same amount of oil as 1,331 Burundians. An American produces the same amount of CO2 admissions as 880 Burundians.
If we are generous and use a Kenyan as an average for an African, and Americans keep their same consumption per capita for the next 30 years, this implies that the increase in American consumption to 2050 will be 22 times the amount of electricity that will be needed in Africa, 8 times the amount of oil, and produce 20 times the amount of CO2. In other words, even though Africa will provide 59% of the world’s population increase to 2050, the additional 48 million Americans will contribute 20 times more CO2 than all of those additional 1.1 billion Africans. If consumption in Africa were to double in the next three decades, the United States alone would still contribute 10 times more than all of Africa.
In other words, the problem is not the population increase in Africa where each African uses few resources, but the over-consumption of resources by Americans. Therefore the Americans need to look at themselves since they are the major cause of global warming.  Unfortunately I see little evidence that Americans are implementing anything close to what is necessary. Yes, there is absolutely negative leadership from the Republicans, but everyone seems to expect that continued economic growth in the United States can continue. Unfortunately the reality is that the US economy must contract significantly more than it did during the Great Depression. There is no need to look at the substantial population increase in Africa to solve the problem of global warming. Rather the focus must be on the United States itself.

TDear Americans: This is a call to action. .______

o be added to or removed from this listserve, please send your name and email address to ZarembkaPhone 254 (0)726 590 783
Reports from Kenya: www.davidzarembka.comEmail: davidzarembka@gmail.com____________

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Girls Talking


US Side Participant Ellen: The girls on the call this morning were very clear about the many challenges young girls in Kenya face in school and in their social lives. They voiced the problems on topics such as self esteem, peer pressure, the challenges they face when they have their period, teen pregnancy and STDs and being separated from boys because they could be seen as a threat from the parents and society. I was very  interested in the later. To me the current situation of boys vs girls social environment can pit them against each other. Boys should be girl’s allies! They should work together, play together and be there for each other for their mutual benefit. Boys should be their friends, their protector and most important learn to be equals. I believe the parents are the ones enforcing this social rule on their girls and boys and we need them to get involved to create change. Maybe by meeting the boys and their families and creating a community around them.


Good Morning Friends of Small Solutions Bukokholo Kenya Education Center


We apologize if you were not able to connect to our call this morning. We had issues with the tools for sharing conversations online.  We tried Zoom, but the sound on the Kenya side, and the faces and voices of the girls from four different schools could not be heard. I will send the teacher some funds to try some new plug in microphones.

Then we tried Skype.  We had a video, but the sound feedback and buzzing was too much. This happens, but we moved ahead with WhatsApp.

So we had a clear voice connection with Whatsapp.  Ellen Reis joined us while girls shared the discussions they have been holding in small groups at their schools.


It is very moving to hear the voices of these girls talk about the social and cultural issues that make their life difficult, and become barriers to school attendance and make their daily life challenging.


I was most moved by their desire to have normal friendships with boys.  They described the attitudes of adults that prevent them from developing friendships with boys.  In school, in their classrooms, playgrounds, and walking to and from school or doing errands in their village, they are discouraged from talking to or walking with boys.  Parents and others believe that if they are with a boy and are of the age to be sexually active that they are putting themselves in harms way. They are likely to accuse them of having a sexual relationship with these boys.


The girls seem to  long for normal friendships with boys who are their own age.  They know they are good smart boys who can help them with their school work, or possibly protect them from more dangerous older men who are looking for girls for sex. They want to be friends with them.

They talked about the attitude of parents.  Sometimes it is not providing materials so that they can manage their menstrual flow, or their parents’ fear of friendships with boys, their belief in FGM as a necessary procedure for girls. One girl mentioned parents who push their daughters into prostitution for the money.  They also mentioned that many men do not believe in the necessity of using medicine to control STIs. Most girls use pills to protect themselves from pregnancy, not condoms as I had thought. So they are afraid of contracting STIs.


I was impressed at their awareness of the need to understand their emotions.  They said that often they don’t recognize or understand the strong feeling they have when they are attracted to a boy, and understand that it is a normal feeling and don’t have to act on it.   The said that they know that boys like sex. But they would like to be just friends with them, not a girlfriend. They know that they can understand and learn to manage their feelings. Girlstalking

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How We Teach Scratch

Using Math and Design Based Thinking to Create: Classes for children, learning to create projects in Scratch Junior or Scratch, using MakeyMakey.  These projects can be animations, games, puzzles, simulations. Our approach to learning is design based knowledge construction, and thinking about thinking process.  These classes will be tailored to those who are interested. We like working with small. If you are interested in these classes, now or in 2018 please contact us. Susan McPhee, Alan Papert and Sandra Thaxter are the instructors.

Small Solutions has held taught Scratch classes at FRS in previous years.  We would like to solicit interest before scheduling. We donate 25% of all church members class fees to FRS.  This year we are working on the theme of Re-Imagining the future. Children in Kenya thought about the homes they wanted, how their city should look.  These projects could range from imagining the cars of the future, to simulating sea rise or species extinction, to creating games to meet future environmental challenges.


Sandra Thaxter has been working with Scratch for 7 years, Alan Papert had a career as a design engineer and was part of the Turtle Seymour Papert children’s programming research. Susan McPhee is a programmer and enthusiast of Scratch Junior.  Contact  or go to our website for more information


Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween:


Scratch and Scratch Junior are a child friendly programming environment developed at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch is an expanding set of tools and programs that  connects to MakeyMakey, Lego Robotics, Arduino and Music streaming.


Small Solutions Big Ideas is dedicated to providing children with learning opportunities that expand their thinking and awareness. We are enthusiasts of after-school informal learning environments.  We structure each class to adapt to the children signed up. Classes are small 8 to 10 students, and students receive individual attention.  We use Scratch programming as an environment for children to build programming skills, but learn how to design complex tasks, such as designing a game, or animating a narrative story, or simulating a natural process.  We also use hands on materials and activities to create and design. 3D design is available for students who are interested in that medium.


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Story The Greedy Frog


Written by Subeta

There were those days when frogs were the most beautiful reptiles on earth. There voices were so sweet and they had also smooth shiny skin and strong graceful legs. These made other animals liked them. They also liked singing to other animals.


There lived one frog called Lende. Lende had such a nice voice that all animals gathered at her hut, after every morning’s work for songs and stories.


However, in those days good things never missed there bed side. Lende was very greedy for food, This made her hate other animals. She had a fellow greedy friend called Kaza.

Kaza could not leave Lende ́s home without eating. She always made long  unending stories in order to wait for food.

    One day Kaza decided to pay her long time friend Lende a visit to hear her beautiful stories and songs. She was also hungry as she had not eaten for the past three days. She had timed her arrival at lunch time when she was very sure that Lende has prepared food. She drew closer to her friends house. The sweet smell of boiling pumpkins filled her stomach.

    I will use all tricks to get that greedy friend of mine to give me food. Kaza said to herself and knocked at the Lende’s door before it could be opened. She peeped through the hole in the wall and saw her friend hiding food. No sooner had she began, than he said! Oh! my friend, the God of the earth and sky has just saved me!


What happened to you my friend? Lende asked in disbelief. I almost got a snake bite! A snake, as long as from this place where I am seated to that hot pot under your bed, just crossed my way as I made the last stride away from it. Kaza replied, pointing at the food Lende had hidden.

    “You must be lucky,” replied disappointed Lende. In a flash Kaza got up from his seat and quickly walked to the pot of pumpkins as he demonstrated how long the snake was.

    Oh! my friend, this pot is so hot , what is it that you are cooking under the bed? “, Kaza asked.

Lende was so disappointed and embarrassed that she brought out the food and they all ate together . Kaza ate as fast as she could and even faster than her friend. After the food was all finished she stood up pretending to be going for a short call.


Once outside she hurriedly left for home. The following day, another friend also decided to march in without knocking the door. Lende had prepared porridge and potatoes for lunch. My friend saw that porridge seems sweet.  The visitor said, “it is so sweet that we don’t even need sugar to make it sweeter”, she added.

    Lende tried hiding the porridge but she slid and burned her soft and smooth skin. The visitor was so hungry that she had never allowed the porridge to go like that. She bent over Lende and with her long and rough tongue, cleared all the porridge on her friends skin each time removing with it the skin and part of Lende’s flesh.

    Mr. Hare was another problem to Lende because he could smell food from far and walk into his house talking about it.

    “Ooh! what a delicious meal for you have cooked” said the hare. I will come with my children to help you eat the food. Lende got fed up with her friends and decided to swallow hot stone to spoil the sweet voice brought so many visitors. As the stone rolled down her throat it burned her that she could not bear with the pain any more. She jumped near by pool of water to drink some water to cool her pain that had gotten worse by now. However, she tried getting out of water the pain got worse that even breathing was a problem. She therefore, decided to stay permanently in water to keep cooling her throat and so to avoid many visitors. That is why up to now frogs have very rough voice, skin and also stays in water.


    LESSON learned from the story:

Greedy does not pay but instead can give a permanent body harm.

The story helps as to mentor ourselves and fit in the current society of 21st century.



We should not be selfish instead be kind to others.


written by Subeda wanjala from Bukokholo RC Primary school grade 8, 2018   

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Sustainable Agriculture Case Studies



Hi everyone, my name is Hellen Watiti a grade eight student of Butonge primary school Bungoma Kenya.Welcome participants. OUR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE GOAL

Our main goal of practicing sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generation starting from our current generation to meet our own needs.

Being practitioners of sustainable agriculture, we seek to integrate three main objectives in our farm work as follows;

A). A healthy environment

B). Economic profitability and

C). Social economic equity

Therefore, I call upon all countries under OPEN especially schools to be involved in the food system – growers, food processors, distributors, retailers, consumers and waste managers to play a role in ensuring a sustainable agricultural system.

As students of Butonge primary school Bungoma Kenya, our major practice in sustainable agriculture will be to promote soil health, minimize water use and lower pollution levels on our farms.

Thank you,



My name is Metrine Wekesa grade eight of Butonge primary school Bungoma Kenya and am to present over our preparation. Preparation that we are trying to put in place,

Through the school management board, we have been given part of our school land that we will use to practice sustainable agriculture demo plots. In that part of land we are going to divide it into four small plots measuring 6m by 6m or 18ft by 18ft.

We intend to start with two crops i.e beans and sweet potatoes early August this year 2018

Between now to August we are looking forward to do soil sampling to know our school’s soil PH before we prepare for planting.

Thank you,  Metrine.


My name is Emmanuel Wafula of Butonge primary school – Bungoma Kenya

After knowing the soil PH, as a school team, we will to collect organic manure (compost manure).

Out of 100 students who will participate in our sustainable agriculture demo plots, especially bean plot, we have resolved each student to come along with two kgs of compost manure and prepare it for planting beans on the plot that we will be doing conservation farming and on a control plot we will use inorganic fertilizer as we continue to study our soil fertility improvement in next planting season.

Not only shall we be monitoring soil fertility improvement, but also see crop production performance.

In our preparation we are seeking technical advice from agricultural experts especially agronomist and agricultural extension offices to inform us more about spacing, pest and disease control among other farming basic technical requirements.

Thank you,



  • Is it proper to eat sweet potatoes with their skin (without peeling)?SustainableAfriMeeting
  • How can we control potato weevils?
  • Why sometimes bean leaves change color to yellow prematurely?


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