Hear About Mwanzo's Recent Work in Rabuor, Kenya

The Mwanzo Board of Trustees and I invite you to hear me share some amazing stories of our recent work in Rabuor, Kenya, on April 7th or 14th, 2019, from 11:30-12:45, in Ostrander Hall at University Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 4515 16th Avenue, NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Light refreshments (cookies, fruit, juice, etc.) will be provided.

Please enjoy the attached pictures, which capture the possibilities afforded by our school and catering business.

In love and gratitude,

Loyce Ong'udi
Founder and Executive Director

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Pictures, More Pictures, and Even More Pictures!

Dear Friends,

2019 is off to a fast start in Rabuor, Kenya, where Mwanzo is nearing completion of our new school. This year we have 45 new students at our Mwanzo Education Center! And every day, between 10-20 laborers and volunteers are working to finish all the second-story classrooms.

As we near completion of the beautiful new primary school, it is my hope that your connection to Mwanzo and her people deepens….

As a heartfelt thanks to each of you, copy/paste the following link into your internet browser

http://bit.ly/PicturesFromMwanzo

to view recent photographs received from our founder and Executive Director, Loyce Ong’udi. May you find your heart uplifted by the many faces of the children, parents, staff, and community volunteers who are daily creating new opportunities and cultivating hope in Rabuor and the 11 nearby communities.

On behalf of Loyce and the Mwanzo Board, I send you my warmest wishes for 2019.

Mark Peterson, Chair

Mwanzo Education Center Tour - 2018!

For the past years, Mwanzo has taken a portion of our school student body on an annual field trip.  We do this because it opens their eyes to the larger world and the possibilities that new places, new sights, and new learning offer!  In past years, we have visited Lake Victoria and a wildlife park; our students, teachers, and parent escorts always return with stories of discovery.

In July 2018, in response to popular demand from our students, Mwanzo rented a bus and returned to the Kisumu airport (approximately 20 miles from Rabuor Village).  During the day tour, our students enjoyed a special lunch to sustain themselves as they watched airplanes take off and land safely.  And we also found time to see the wonders in the Natural History Museum.

Your gifts allow Mwanzo to support our beloved students, both in body and in spirit.  We hope you enjoy the photographs that capture a taste of the fun all experienced!  

Arriving at the Kisumu Airport

Arriving at the Kisumu Airport

So This is Where People Go to Fly!

So This is Where People Go to Fly!

We Saw Planes - Is it Lunchtime Yet?

We Saw Planes - Is it Lunchtime Yet?

Looks Delicious - Now We've Got Energy for the Afternoon!

Looks Delicious - Now We've Got Energy for the Afternoon!

Learning About our Culture and History

Learning About our Culture and History

It's a Big, Wide World

It's a Big, Wide World

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Celebrating our Preschoolers!

On June 13, 2018, a number of our younger children attending Early Childhood Development classes at Mwanzo Education Center participated in the zonal (district) cultural competition at the Maseno School for the Deaf.  Nineteen other schools from this area of Nyanza Province joined our kids in a friendly competition to demonstrate their singing, dancing, and story-telling skills.  

The day began with children and teachers departing for Maseno via rental bus.  Both young and old were excited about the opportunity to display their self-made costumes, and share their school pride with the other schools and competition judges.  

After a long, exhausting day we received the judges' results:  Three First-Place certificates for our children! I happened to be visiting Loyce, our Executive Director, at lunchtime on June 13th, and spoke by phone with our Headteacher, Margaret Otieno, who had just arrived back in Rabuor with the children.  In the excitement and pride of the moment, it was hard to speak and to listen.

We are so proud of our schoolchildren, our teachers, school staff, and parents who devoted time to making the outfits worn during the competition.  The below pictures convey some of the joy of the day.

Thank you for caring about our schoolchildren, and shrinking our world just a bit by affirming the beautiful humanity of the residents of the 12 communities who say "Erokomano" for your part in creating "New Beginnings" (Mwanzo) and ensuring that "Hope Has a Home Here!"

Mark Peterson

Celebrating our Schoolchildren
First Place in Creative Dance
A Young Lion Takes the Stage
African Singing Certificate

The Gift of Laughter and Smiles - Mwanzo's Schoolchildren at Play

Loyce and the Mwanzo Board are thrilled to share on our Facebook page a recent video of our schoolchildren at the Mwanzo Education Center in Rabuor, Kenya, sent  by our building contractor, Patroba.  To access the Facebook page, copy/paste the below link into your Internet address field:

www.facebook.com/mwanzoproudfarmers/ 

What a joy to see and hear youngsters at play!

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Graduation and Year-end Thanks

On November 16, 2017 parents, students, teachers, and community members celebrated the graduation of another class! It was a day full of gratitude and joyful communal activities.  This year, in addition to the dancing and singing, Mwanzo hired cooks to prepare food.  We were so pleased that we were able to offer food to all.  As always, parents and staff at our Mwanzo Education Center volunteered their time to clean the school and compound before the formal ceremony.

We are amazed at the progress being made with construction of our second story at the primary school (see photos).  The exterior walls are in place, and in just the past week the roof has been put in place.  Before our eyes a beautiful school is making itself visible to Rabuor and nearby villages.  Thank you so much for your generous gifts!

Side by side with the school construction, Mwanzo has begun the process of installing several large underground water cisterns.  This will prove so valuable in capturing rainwater and reducing our (occasional) need to purchase drinking water for the preschool and Grades 1-3 students.

Our Executive Director, Loyce Ong'udi, shares her profound thanks to all our donors, who make all the above work possible.  She also passes on holiday greetings from the Rabuor community, who continue to commit themselves to the initiatives that you support.

2017 Graduation
Our New Primary School
Members of our Microfinance Group

Why Mwanzo Sends its Schoolchildren on an Annual Field Trip (With Pictures)

Four years past, our founder and Executive Director, Loyce Ong'udi, asked the Mwanzo Board to add a Mwanzo Education Center (MEC) student field trip as a line item in our annual budget.   It was not so clear then how important going on tour would be for our children and the community.  We never realized how big a deal an annual field trip would prove to be for our 200 students and their (mostly) young parents!  Sure it's fun to get on tour buses:  We can remember that excitement from our own childhood! 

In 2014, our schoolchildren were taken across Lake Victoria on a motorized boat to Ndere Island to visit historical sites.  The photos said so much! For most of the kids it was the first time in a moving vehicle!  As the accompanying parents later reported, the children spontaneously made a song for the bus driver, because they thought he had a special power to move the bus - which brought them so much joy. 

In 2015, the children were taken to Snake Park in Kisumu, 20 miles from Rabuor Village, where (most of them) saw 100 year-old turtles, all sorts of snakes, and other reptiles.   That in itself is an interesting story, as some of the adults and children closed their eyes when looking at the snakes, our of a fear of black and green mambas, cobras, haunting their dreams. The great news is that their minds were open. 

In 2016, Mwanzo sent the students back to Kisumu, for a tour of the airport and the city. Especially the boys were excited by the sight of passenger jets.  But the highlight for all was a fantastic "fast food adventure" offering chips, popcorn, and soda.  What a day!

In 2017, the schoolchildren went to Impala National Park.  While we so value the quality education of a classroom (especially the devotion of our teachers and staff to the students!), nothing beats exposing a child to a new experience that broadens their horizons and allow their minds to wonder and dream. 

We thank you, our donors and supporters, for opening doors of opportunity for our schoolchildren and their communities to Dream Big!

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Mwanzo Preschoolers Strike Gold a Second Time!

On July 20, 2016, 40 preschoolers from our Mwanzo Education Center - along with their teachers, and parents - traveled to Obambo Hall Chief’s Camp, about 12 miles from our school in Rabour.  Our Head Teacher, Margaret Otieno, sent our Board the following message that we want to share with you.

I am as happy as a king when writing this report because I cannot forget the wonderful day I had on 20th July 2016.

The day was bright.  We hired a vehicle and departed from the school at 900 am. It was a long ride but we were singing as we drove off to our destination in Obambo.

The compound was big with a hall and the North West Kisumu chief’s office beside it. This is the office where the elders pick-up their pension and the chief holds his barazas (meetings) with community members, hence a very important office. On our arrival we found elders at the office patiently waiting for their dues.

The number of schools expected for this competition was 45 - each with 30 participating pupils - thus a total of 1,350 pupils. We had about 1,200 pupils that managed to attend and the other 150 could not due to the long distance and lack of transport to get to the venue. What a pity!

We assembled inside the hall at 10 am and waited for instructions, before we sang the national anthem . The competition was attended by very important persons:  Members of the County Assembly, Ward Administrators, and the media.                        

The activities under competition were:

·         Singing game, both African and Western

·         Choral verses, both English and Kiswahili

·         Set piece

·         Fashion show

·         Creative dance

The activities took long because of the large number of schools participating. By 300 pm we were already done, and we sat down to await the comments from the adjudicators.

They started with the choral verses, then solo verses. In these categories the competition was very stiff so that they had to look for all means and ways to penalize others in order to get their top three. This is how we performed:

    Kiswahili choral verse we were number 4 out of 40 schools with 84%

    English solo verse we were number 6 out of 40 schools with 82%

The next activity was the African singing game. The announcement began with the name of the third runners up; we didn’t know what to expect.  Then we heard:  Mwanzo had emerged victorious. I got confused and was torn between two worlds before hugging my colleagues as I went to receive the trophy. We returned to our seats to wait for the other announcements.

No sooner had I taken my seat than came the announcement that our school had topped the creative dance competition too!  I could not contain my joy as I walked to the podium to receive our second trophy of the day.  I went to my seat as I handed over the trophy to Madam Dorcas, our preschool lead teacher. Before long, I was called back to pick our certificate for Third Place in the fashion show. We ran outside to celebrate in songs and dances with the teachers and pupils. It was congratulations all over as the media took photos of our celebration before we boarded our vehicle to return to Rabuor.

The pupils were so excited and sang songs of praise all along for their teachers, director, and school. The songs we sang on arrival aroused everyone and they rushed to see what it was all about. They were astonished as they saw the beautiful trophies we had brought home. They joined the celebration and congratulated us. Parents received us with joy though it was late. We danced together and thanked the Lord for the brilliant results before departing for home.  

The ball is still in our court and it's still rolling.  Next competition is in the big city - Kisumu - in early August.  We now say:  "Onward, ever - Backwards, never!"

Thanks to our faithful donors who make participation for our beloved children in these events possible! 

Keep tuned....