Building Sustainable Development

By Jaclyn Snook

Poverty. This is a word with many meanings. It’s a word that touches the lives and hearts of every nationality, country and city. Poverty. This is a word that no one wants to have attached to their name and in many cases is a word that turns many away with an instant onset of fear. Poverty touches the lives of people I call my dear friends and family. What does poverty look like? That is a question that would take weeks to even scratch the surface of. Poverty is mostly seen as a lack of basic needs such as food and water. But poverty can also be relational, a lack of personal loving relationships.

My heart burns to see every person old and young have the same opportunity to reach their full potential in life. It’s my dream that children all around the world grow up with the opportunity to get an education, have food in their belly and someone to love them. This is what we are trying to do at Kuamini. We are helping children in desperate need of assistance to go to school and have a meal to feed their belly and mind. This fills my heart with so much joy knowing that a child who would otherwise become just another statistic is given a chance. They will be world changers.

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We at Kuamini strive to promote sustainable development in all the areas of our work. We have a desire to give a hand up not a hand out. We desire to end the cycle of poverty in the lives of the people we reach and create a relationship with them not just mechanically “help” them with our magic western ways.

Charity giving plant

Creating Sustainable Development

If my last statement sounded harsh…I’m sorry. I just have seen the richness of the culture and beauty amongst the poorest of poor. I’ve seen people with absolutely nothing give with so much generosity and love than people who have it all. This challenged me and still does every single day. A woman raising her children alone, living in a mud hut with nothing gave me 5 yards of fabric because she cared for me. This woman who sewed her heart out to put food on the table and send her children to school sacrificed so much to show she cared. This woman lived in material poverty but was one of the wealthiest in spirit I have ever met. She didn’t need me, I needed her. She didn’t need me to buy her material goods I needed her to teach me about generosity and love. As a charity we strive to look deeper than surface level when we assist those in need. We want to help but only if it will help someone help themselves.

What does this look like? Buying and raising chickens, buying a brick maker, providing a meal for hungry students, helping children go to school so they have a chance at a future. It looks like life partnership, also known as friendship! I wouldn’t mindlessly feed a friend’s addiction or weakness. I would love and partner with them to see that they reach their full potential. This is what we stand for at Kuamini – serving others through sustainable development.

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Joining the Global Goals Movement

Yesterday, the United Nations made a landmark announcement. They presented 17 Global Goals for world leaders, countries, organizations and communities to come together and to achieve by 2030. These 17 goals work together to achieve three things: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. You can read more about the UN’s Global Goals here.

 

Twitter was all abuzz about the #GlobalGoals. I was very inspired reading and watching the global community come together online and say, “Yes, we are committed to making the world a better place.” There are thousands (probably millions) of people around the world who are committed to giving back to their communities, to inspire change.

I think that so often when the issues of extreme poverty, hunger, lack of education are discussed, they can seem insurmountable. I think it can be easy to say, “I’m just one person, how much of a difference can I make?” There are so many great organizations that are already doing wonderful things to change the world. Yes, the issues are huge, daunting and far reaching, which is why it takes all of us. We all need to work together to achieve the goals that will change our world. Some of us focus on making governments more accountable to their citizens. Some of us work on providing clean and accessible water to every community. Some of us focus on injustice and inequality. Some, like us at Kuamini, work on providing access to education, food and sanitary latrines for children and their communities.

We are a new and growing non-profit organization that is excited to be a part of this movement. We are ready to get to work and do what we can to make the world a better place for everyone! We encourage you to join us on our journey.

Working as a global community to make the world a better place.

 

Mouthwatering Homemade Mandazi – Kenyan Doughnuts

One of the items that we sold at our yard sale were Kenyan doughnuts called Mandazi They are also known as Swahili Buns or Swahili Coconut Doughnuts. Mandazi are a type of fried bread which is a popular snack in Kenya. They  can be eaten as a side dish with fruit flavoured dips, with chai (tea) or as a snack on their own.

Mandazi are very similar to a yeast doughnut, and is similarly then fried. One thing that makes them stand out is that often include a few teaspoons of spice such as cardamom, cinnamon, allspice or ginger. This gives them a sweet and aromatic essence to them. Some variations might also include adding coconut milk to add some sweetness or some chopped peanuts or almonds to add texture and flavour.

They are quite simple to make and when you taste them, you will understand what makes them so popular! Give this recipe a try and let us know in the comments or on Facebook how they turned out!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp spice (one or more of the following to total one-quarter teaspoon: cardamom, cinnamon,allspice, ground ginger)
  • 2 tbs butter, margarine, or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup warm milk (optional)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for deep frying
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. All pastry ingredients should be allowed to come to room temperature if they have been in the refrigerator. When using yeast: mix the yeast with a few spoonfuls of the warm water (105-115 F).
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, and spice (cardamom is most common in Eastern Africa). Add the yeast. Mix the water, butter (or margarine, or oil), milk, and egg together. Gradually add this mixture to the flour while kneading into dough. (If not using milk and egg use additional water as necessary.) Knead until a smooth and elastic dough is formed—fifteen to twenty minutes. Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place (such as on oven that has been heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit then turned off) for an hour or more.
  3. Divide the dough into several hand-sized pieces. Roll or press the pieces into circles about one-half inch thick. Cut circles into halves or quarters (or whatever you like). Some cooks (when using yeast) place the dough on a cookie sheet and let them rise a second time.
  4. Heat a few cups of vegetable oil to 300 degrees Fahrenheit in a skillet or deep pot. Fry the dough in the hot oil, turning a few times, until they are golden brown all over. Fry only as many together as can float in the oil without touching one another. Place on paper towels to drain. Serve warm.
  5. Dust with icing sugar if desired

Mandazi-recipe

(Recipe courtesy of http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Kenyan_Mandazi)

(Header photo from Goway Agent News)

Trip to Kenya

In less than one month, this beautiful family is travelling to Kenya. This is the Ombunga family and parents Jackson and Amanda sit on the Board of Kuamini. (see Jackson’s story in an earlier post!). The whole family is travelling to Kenya in December where they will be making lots of headway for our charity. They will be distributing mosquito netting, books and clothing and they will also be building a large community latrine while there. How exciting is that?

We can’t wait to hear about their visit and share pictures with everyone about their progress.

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Meet Jackson – President of Kuamini

Born in a field without any medical assistance, Jackson Ombunga Olumasai joined the world in a small village in Western Kenya called Shianda Butere. At the age of nine Jackson suffered the loss of his loving mother and went to live with his Grandmother. At the age of twelve he then went to live under the care of his father and step mother. Wanting to attend school, Jackson had to raise the equivalent of twenty five cents daily for school fees and food.

Each day presented struggles for this young man who worked so hard to create a future for himself. Living under the primary care of his step-mother Jackson soon came to realize that she lacked compassion and care towards him. He was physically beaten by her and was forced to share food with the family dog. On occasion Jackson was provided with food intended for humans however it was often five days old and riddled with flies and cockroaches. Jackson was regularly sent home from school as he didn’t have the necessary supplies, had holes in his uniform or wasn’t able to pay the fees.

Eventually his step mother relocated herself to the city leaving Jackson alone for the most part. In order to fend for himself he would climb a mango or guava tree so he could nourish himself with the fruit. After school he would return home, wash his uniform and would often have to climb the fruit trees as there was nothing to eat for dinner. During this time Jackson survived by doing casual jobs and caring for his father’s cows. He lived in a small structure that provided no electricity and filled with water when it rained. He owned two sets of clothing, one of which was his school uniform. He got his very first pair of shoes at the age of nineteen.

When Jackson completed his schooling he moved to Nairobi. This presented new opportunities for him and he was able to start his career with Asira Foundation. During that time he also volunteered with various organizations including Nyumbani Children’s Home, Kabiro Trust and the Starfish Charity.

Along with supporting himself and contributing to his community, Jackson met a wonderful and compassionate Canadian woman named Amanda. She would eventually become his wife and five years later they moved to Canada. The couple now have three beautiful sons and play a very active role in Kuamini.  Jackson is our Board President and helps to lead us in the direction that allows us to best give a hand up to people in Kenya. His life experiences and knowledge of the country are the foundation of our mission. We also applaud and acknowledge how Jackson has overcome his struggles and committed a large part of his life to make things better.

Malaria

One of the major challenges people in Kenya face is Malaria.

Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease that is spread by female mosquitos biting unprotected people. Common symptoms of Malaria include fever and headache however in more serious cases people with Malaria experienced slipping into a coma and even death.

The two best ways to prevent Malaria include the use of mosquito nets and insect repellants. Unfortunately these items are not readily available in the areas most affected by Malaria.

Last year over 200 million people got Malaria and over 1 million people died from the disease. Most of those who passed away were children living in Africa. These numbers may actually be higher in reality as many cases were not documented.

The Kuamini team have talked about this serious issue in Kenya and have included this concern in their action plan to bring wellness to the people of Kenya. One of our goals will be to provide mosquito netting to those who need it. This will increase health and well being which will allow people to attend school, go to work and to thrive in general.

I  the future we will look at how to fund the netting, where to get it from and how to distribute it to those in need. Where there is a will there is a way!

 

About Kuamini and the Team

We are a dynamic group of individuals based out of Southern Ontario and we are working together to form a charity that will aid in the well-being of individuals living in Kenya.

Follow this blog to learn more about our process, the projects we are working on, who we are helping, who we are and how you can be involved.

We welcome your comments, suggestions and of course, your encouragement!

Stay tuned as we add more information to this blog, create our website and expand our social media presence. We have a challenging but beautiful journey ahead of us!