Friday, March 1, 2013

A successful Dinner Night!


Friends! What an incredible night! Thank you so much to everyone who came to the dinner, and to those who couldn't make it but helped by donating on the site! When we made our initial goal of raising $4000, we did not expect to make all of it in one night.

Donations are still rolling and, and the donation site WILL remain open, but as of this moment we are sitting at about $4575!! That is enough money to HIRE AND PAY 7 TEACHERS FOR A YEAR at the Cheptigit Primary school, and cover all the start-up costs for the Harambee Foundation which will continue to grow and send aid to elementary schools in Kaptagat Kenya!

Thank you all SO much for your help!  Without you, we never could have gotten close to where we are now. We will continue to keep you posted as money continues to come in!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From Kenya to Colorado...

Today is our last blog post from this side of the world. We are currently in Nairobi at the home of our friend from Finland David Korpela. Our journey back to the USA starts tonight and we arrive back in the Rocky Mountains on Wednesday afternoon.
The guys at the world famous Iten stadium

We are looking forward to meeting with people and discussing our hopes for a project to support the Grace of God Children's Center and Cheptigit Primary School in Kaptagat. We'd like to start a site with a link for people who want to support the needs and continue the relationship we have established as representatives of UCCS. The options to serve and contribute are endless.

It's been a busy time since our last post on Friday. Below are the closing thoughts from each of us:


Robert "Whaleback" Scrivner

I'm not quite sure where to begin. The last 3 weeks have been indescribable for all of us. Not one of us was truly prepared for what we would experience here. Kenya is far from what we expected- and so much better than we could have imagined.

Kids from neighboring homes come to the
childrens center on Sunday mornings
for sunday school.
I can say for myself that I desperately needed this trip, for so many reasons. God has done so much in my heart since left the states. Ironically, I was given the book "Crazy Love" as a gift before I left. The words in that book, combined with our experiences here have really opened my eyes to fully understand how wealthy we truly are, and how incredibly blessed we are to live in the USA.

I will always remember watching men on bicycles riding for miles to Eldoret with enormous loads of wood stacked over 8 feet high on the back of the bike. These men perform this wildly difficult job, only to receive a small sum of money at the day, probably around  $7-$10. In Kenya, the poverty line is at $1 a day. Anyone who lives on more than $1 is considered pretty well off. Only 9% of the people in Kenya have electricity, and few have running water.

In spite of all of these things, the Kenyans are so full of life, joy, and compassion. They are so willing to invite strangers into their home for tea, or even drop whatever they are doing to go and guide you around town. We were blessed to stay at a children's home with the most patient, wise, and compassionate man I have ever met- David Koros. These children were all selected to live in the home because they came from the most needy families. For these kids, it is a HUGE honor to move in to a place like GOGCC where food, clean water, and education are all provided to them. The center has applied for electricity and running water, and will be like a nice hotel when it is finished! The kids at the home are the most well behaved, hardest working children I have ever met. Every day they sweep and mop the entire home, clean their own bedrooms, help cook meals, and do countless other tasks-- all without any complaining. I never saw any of the children cry the entire time we were there, even though one of the girls broke her collarbone during our stay! They are tougher than nails, and so full of love. I walked away with a folder full of letters from the kids, wishing us a safe journey and recounting the fun times we had together.

GOGCC is fully supported by sponsors in the USA. Unlike many other homes like it, Grace of God  doesn't receive support from a larger program like Compassion International or World Vision; rather, they receive all support through their website. I would like to personally ask anyone who is reading this now to go and visit www.graceofgodchildren.org and support the home in whatever way you can. They have more rooms available to bring in more children, but cannot because they don't have enough sponsors to provide for more kids. I would love it if we could just overwhelm them with sponsors and funds. You can buy them livestock, buy building materials for new projects, or just send money for general use- all online with a credit card. Our blog has over 2000 views since the beginning of January.  That means that if every single person who viewed the blog sent $1 each time they looked at the site, the home would have enough money to buy 6 cows, and have money left over to sponsor one kid for a month. Seriously, go and look for yourself: www.graceofgodchildren.org They would be so grateful just to know that you visited their website!

Thank you, for your interest in our trip. It has been absolutely life changing for all of us, and I truly hope that anyone reading this can at some point experience a trip like this for themselves.

David "Rooney" Marino 

Kenya: Where people walk slow and run fast, where being 30 minutes late is acceptable but not being awake and dressed 30 minutes before a run is an excuse to shake you awake, where kids from an orphanage are better behaved than the kids that come to Sunday service, and where roads riddled with potholes can magically lull you to sleep. I know that I haven't written much on the blog, but every time the opportunity came up, I froze. Simply trying to chose what to write about would take too long. Obviously we all will take a different perspective with everything that happened during our time here, but one thing is for sure: the people here are incredible.

For example, my parents and I sponsor a child through Compassion International who so happens to reside in Kenya. From the United States, a child in Kenya, Europe, China, Malaysia, may seem so far away because they're out of the country, across the world, over an ocean. Simply, some boundary separates child from sponsor. It's rare that a sponsor actually meets his or her child, but it does happen.

Lake Victoria, on our trip to Kisumu.
In short, he lives in Kisumu and I called Compassion before we left the States trying to set up an arrangement to meet him. Compassion (basically) said no, and I left it at that. While in Kenya, Coach Misch told me to give the name of my child to David Koros reassuring me that the "Way things are run in Kenya are way different than in the States." and they sure are. David made a few calls, recruited his brother Matthew to drive us to Kisumu and got us as close as a 3 hour pothole-ridden wild goose chase could get us. The thought that I got closer than most sponsors keeps me positive. The fact that these men went out of their way to drive for an entire day... and they were genuinely altruistic about the whole ordeal. I am so thankful.

Everyone wonders why the Kenyan runners are so great. Everything from a mythical extra muscle to being born at altitude have been suggested, but how many researchers have gone into the homes and ran a training cycle with these people? This isn't some American high school team where half the kids are unmotivated and just sticking it out to add one more thing on their college applications. When a family is chopping wood for 10 Kenyan shillings a log and riding their bikes on the highways to the cities to sell them, money is not exactly readily available. Kenyan colleges don't give out running scholarships, but American colleges do. A Kenyan runner has a better chance trying to make it into the U.S. off a running scholarship than trying to pay for college in Kenya. In some circles this is already known, of course, but it's just something to think about.

Knowing this, getting out the door to put in a morning 8 miler isn't a decision to get faster in their respective event, or to loosen up their legs before their afternoon session, it isn't even a lifestyle for them. They are literally chasing the dream, and the dream is just out of reach. Training with the David's and Paul and their tales of 3 hour training runs, 3 a day sessions, and races won against rivals had a different ring this time around.

18 days away from home, on the other side of the world immersed in a different culture... it's hard to choose words to describe the experience. When Skywalker, Whaleback and I talked at the end of our stay in the Grace of God Children's Center, I told the kids that because of them I would return a changed man. The kindness and compassion shown by the people we stayed with is hard to find. Thank you all for following the blog, taking interest in our trip and even donating to our trip. It truly has been a wild ride, and we all come home as different people.

Luke "Skywalker" Dakin

Hey All,

I think the guys above me summed up our trip pretty well but in closing I would like to add a few words. I really appreciate all of the support that we have received from our friends and family. It is pretty special that we have so many people interested in our trip and following our blog. Thank you all for the support. Also, to all of those that contributed money and support to make this happen, thank you so much. Your support has made possible the experience of a lifetime.

The crew before departure
On a trip like this it is difficult to sum up the highlights because there aren't really any big highlights. The reason a trip like this is so amazing is because of all the little moments that add up to one life changing experience. A kid sincerely telling you that he likes the soccer cleats you got him, a casual conversation on a terrifying three hour car ride that completely changes your outlook on something or just being able to relate to someone who has a completely different life-story than you. These are all examples of experiences that I have had on this trip that are very difficult to put into words but when you have these experiences almost hourly over the course of a couple weeks, it is pretty powerful.

Thank you all so much for this opportunity and I hope you all will be as blessed as I was to have had these experiences.

Harambee


Mark "The dog whisperer" Misch 

We are about an hour away from leaving David’s home to start the drive to the Nairobi International Airport.  It’s been a pretty relaxing day of running, packing and getting caught up on returning e-mails from the past couple of weeks before tackling what is waiting back in Colorado.

Yesterday I went with Peter (the taxi driver) down to the Soweto Slum District to meet with John Mbogo and several of the young people who are a part of his ministry. I first met John in 2007 when we were in Mombasa where he is from. It was so encouraging to meet with some incredible kids who have such a strong faith and positive attitude regardless of the circumstances they have had to overcome. It was humbling to be their guest and welcomed with open arms and unconditional joy, much the same as the wonderful people from the Grace of God Children’s Center in Kaptagat.

Speaking of the Grace of God Children’s Center, it was tough to say goodbye to those incredible people. In all of my life I have never been honored the way I was the day we departed. To have a tree planted in your name and to be part of a very special ceremony and receive personal gifts and letters from the children goes beyond anything I can put words to. Without a doubt it was a very  special experience that I will never forget.

Well it’s time to wrap this up and get ready for the long journey home that awaits us. No more running without a shirt in January, the snow awaits in Colorado!

Misch






The kids planted trees with us right before we left for home. Nick and Adam had already left, but they both had trees planted in their names as well. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Misch – blog update, Friday, January 11th

I am currently sitting in the dining/meeting room of the Children’s Center with several of the boys who just got home from school. They are watching intently over my shoulder as I type on the funny machine known as a laptop computer. I think that they are disappointed that I am not watching any of the videos that Robert has filmed of them. But since it is Friday and they just finished their first week back at school, they are all happy to be home and ready for the weekend. Then Saturday evening we are having a celebration dinner for the kids with PIZZA we’re having made in Eldoret. This will be a BIG deal!


David Karos' sister in-law
who hosted us for tea on our way to Iten.

Today “Rooney, Skywalker and Whaleback” traveled with David Koros and his brother to Lake Victoria. I took advantage of the day to train, do laundry, read, rest, write and hang out with David Lagat. Since the next few days will be busy I decided to go ahead and type an entry on David Marino’s laptop and they can post it when they go to town (so not sure when this will be posted). Tomorrow morning I am doing a two hour long run with David Lagat on the hilly roads of Kaptagat Forest. The forest is a lot like the roads of Colorado and the same altitude. Training is going well and I am looking forward to my first race as a masters runner in three weeks at the USA National Cross Country Championships. Training in Kenya has been good and I wish I could’ve come here when I was 27 or 28 and trained with a group of guys for an extended period of time for the experience. Just a different environment as a whole, but without a doubt Colorado is tough to beat as well and I am thankful live there now.

As I reflect over the past month it has been a very busy time starting with the USTFCCCA meetings in Orlando, Florida December 16-20th, then flying home to be with family in Kansas the 24th and on to Washington D.C the 27th to meet up with David Cheromei and Isaya Okwiya before connecting with the guys on the 28th as we flew over to Amsterdam (where we met Adam and Nick Kern) on the way to Nairobi. I counted at one point I had slept in seven beds in fifteen days. Now that we have been settled at the Children’s Center for two weeks it seems like home.

Over the previous five months leading up to this trip I had a lot on my mind. After directing the Annual Colorado Springs Free Cross Country Camp at the end of July we jumped right into the college cross country season. It was a big year for the program hosting two cross country meets including the RMAC Championships for the first time ever, as well as the team flying to the Griak Invitational in Minnesota (which both our men’s team and Coach Harmer’s women’s team won their races), buying a home (an eight month process to obtain and then doing a lot of work to it) and of course the focus on the team’s preparations as we were shooting for high places at the conference, regional and NCAA Championships (which the team delivered). And finally, I wrapped up the 2012 season by accepting a Vice President position for DII Cross Country with the USTFCCCA for the coming year ahead.

All that to say that this trip to Kenya was waiting at the end of it all and as I sit here with children running around me I can say without a doubt it was worth preparing for during a busy season of life and has been the highlight by far.
Some of the girls having lunch

I can’t even begin to thank all of the people who helped make this experience possible for our team. When I traveled to Kenya the first time back in 2007, I knew that I wanted to return again one day, but I never imagined it would be with a group of college distance runners while staying at an orphanage in rural Kenya. Thankfully the Lord’s plans are far more then we can ever imagine and this experience has gone beyond anything that I can put into words.

I want to say a special “Thank You” to David Cheromei, David Karos (and his entire family), Wilson Kogo, Sarah Agola, David Lagat, David Kibet, Paul Kipkemboi, Joseph Cheromei, David Nyamu, Philip Maiyo, David Korpela, Brother O’Connell, our young friends Hillary, Christine, Roy, Vincent, Teresa, Eliud, Ian, Eunice, Winnie A., Nickson, Sharon, Dennis, Winnie J., Bernard, Brenda, Victor and Gideon for all making us part of your “Kenyan family” during our stay in your country. I will also miss our friends Maggie and Suzy (the dogs), Tracy (the cat), the sheep, chickens, roosters and Nufala and Harambee (the cows) that all room freely around the yard.

As for Robert Scrivner (Whaleback), David Marino (Rooney), Luke Dakin (Skywalker), Adam Kern (Bruce Lee) and Nick Kern you guys were awesome to travel with, live with and experience life with. I am beyond proud to have had the opportunity to be called “Coach” during your college or high school years. You have left a positive impact on the people we have been with on this trip and without a doubt were meant to be here. You are good men who will do a lot of great things for people in the years to come.  Last week I was on a run with these guys when my career training log clicked over the 64,000 miles / 103, 000 kilometers mark. I could think of no better place to be on that day then running the back roads of Kenya with a bunch of college guys half my age. I won’t forget it.

And to all of the people who have supported us, prayed for our trip, donated gear, money and time THANK YOU so much for your part in our journey. It is always the people behind the scenes that make things happen and very rarely get the credit. You all know who you are!



I am honored to have been part of this experience and I have learned much from the children and adults who make up this land. We were welcomed with open arms, people sacrificed for us and I leave herein a few days knowing that I have been blessed.

Thank you EVERYONE!

See you back in the Rocky Mountains next week.

Misch

Proverbs 16:9


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Luke Dakin Update Jan 10, 2013


Written By Luke Dakin:

Hello All!

            We are about 3 days away from leaving the children’s home to go back to Nairobi and are wondering where the time has gone! It has been a phenomenal experience so far and we are looking to make the most of our final couple of days.
            On Tuesday we had the experience of a lifetime for running nerds such as ourselves. We went to Iten, which has proclaimed itself “The City of Champions”. It was obvious why after our day. We started off by going to the local university to watch a track workout where many of the best runners in the world were training. For example, in one workout the last Boston Marathon winner and the Yokohama Marathon winner were working together. They were doing an “easy” workout to stretch out their legs. 20 by 400 meters at 68 to 72 seconds! That’s averaging 4:40 mile pace!


            We just did a recovery run on the campus of Chepkoilel University which was a neat experience too because we got to see what life was like at a Kenyan University.

Winner of the 2012 Boston Marathon, Sharon Cherop

            After we left there we went to St. Patrick’s Boys School, which has produced an incredible amount of Olympians. They planted a tree outside for every Olympic medalist who had passed through that school and it seemed like there was a forest out front!  There were easily 30 trees outside. As if that wasn’t impressive enough when we went inside we got to take a look at their school records board. Keep in mind this is a high school. The school record in the 5000-meter race was set at the Los Angeles Olympics! My jaw was on the floor at this point. It was a humbling experience to say the least to be at a high school where the school record of the 10000-meter run was over 3 minutes faster than my personal best.


The most prestigious high school for runners in the world.

Accolades

Remember, these are high school boys- all under 19 years old. 

            The best experience was yet to come though at this school. As we were leaving we stopped by the coach’s house on the off chance that we might get to shake hands with one of the most legendary cross country coaches of all time. Not only did Coach O’Connell take the time to say hello when we came over unannounced, he stayed and talked to us for over an hour! Many people who had accomplished what he accomplished would be arrogant and would never take the time to talk to some college students. However, this man was the humblest man I have ever met and we ended up having one of the best conversations I have ever had. He currently coaches the 800-meter world record holder David Rudisha who lives next door to him so he gave us a tour of his home but unfortunately he wasn’t home.
One of the greatest coaches of all time. (We just knocked on the front door of his house)

            Anyway, I could write a short novel about all the cool running stuff I saw but I’ll spare you. There were a lot of other amazing things that happened to us in Iten. The city is nestled into these gorgeous hills that really reminded me of Machu Pichu.  From the town we got to see some pretty amazing views of the surrounding Great Rift Valley. Plus it was far enough away from the big city of Eldoret that we got a much-needed break away from the smog of the city.

            Also while we were driving along the highway the Kenyan National Cycling Team passed us! This was interesting for several reasons. For one, nobody in Kenya is into cycling. Apparently at some point some cycling coach thought, “Hey there are all these phenomenal athletes coming out of Kenya, I wonder if they would be good cyclists…” so now Kenya has a cycling team! It will be interesting following their progress. This was also interesting because driving in Kenya is the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. There are no lanes, stop signs or stop lights so people just kind of drive wherever they want on the road and then “negotiate” for spots on the road. Plus in an effort to slow down drivers, the government has put in a speed bump about every mile along the highway. However, Kenyan drivers found a simple solution to this. Drive around the speed bumps into the shoulder. These cyclists are far braver than I.

The Kenyan National Cycling team

            The kids here at the Children’s Center just went back to school yesterday so we had a pretty relaxing day. We just did a hard workout in the morning with our Kenyan friends David and David. After they wore us down in that workout we just went back and got a nice restful day.

            Today we got to actually take a tour of the children’s primary school and we had a very powerful interview with the headmaster of the school. The school is a public school, yet a large amount of funding for the school comes from donations from the parents. Most of these parents are very poor and have little in the way of excess income to donate. The school serves all of the children in the area from 1st grade to 8th grade. They have 440 students and only 11 teachers. The 1st grade class has 54 students in it and only one teacher. Everybody knows that at this teacher-student ratio learning is slow and often creates an environment where only those students who can learn fast succeed while the others cannot keep up without the individualized attention. Yet even with all of these cards stacked against them, the current headmaster has succeeded in making drastic improvements in the school’s ability to educate children and send students on to secondary school. His first year they had only 8 students graduate primary school to go onto high school. Yet this past year over 80 percent of those who started 1st grade at Cheptigit Primary School went on to high school. Much of this success can be attributed to outside donations, which has gone to expanding the facilities, bringing in running water and hiring new teachers.




            We have been very moved by what we have seen here and are hoping to do our part to help out. A teacher’s salary in Kenya is roughly $600 a year. We are currently attempting to figure out a way to raise enough money to hire a few more teachers to reward a school that is doing truly miraculous things. Hopefully we will have good news to pass along soon!

That is what we have been doing the past three days, thanks for taking the time to follow along!

Luke, Rob, David and Coach Misch

Monday, January 7, 2013


Scrivner Update #3

Hello all! Time for another update. Things are finally beginning to settle down a bit for us, and I think we are all finally fully adjusted to the Kenyan time zone. While the first few days of the trip were chalk full of business, these last few days we’ve had the chance to rest and spend more one on one time with the kids here at the children’s home. I think it’s probably important that I make a correction that should have been made last week- we’re not actually in Kapsabet! We all thought Kapsabet and Kaptagat were the same area (that Kaptagat was the county). We were mistaken. The city that GOGCH is in, is actually called Kaptagat.
            KAPTAGAT is twenty-something kilometers away from Eldoret. Small blurb  here—Eldoret is awful. Like…worse than Detroit! Worse than bee-stings! Worse than the feeling you get while you’re scraping the bottom of a jar of peanut-butter! The speed limit in Kenya is 80kph (which is pretty fast), and there are no rules of the road here. No stop signs or lights. We asked our driver what the rules of the road are, and he responded: “No rules, just negotiation”. What this equates to is just one big GIANT MESS. As of this morning, there have already been 85 people killed in car accidents here since new years. 85 people in 4 days.  Walking through Eldoret is comparable to playing Frogger (people still know what that is, right?)…but in real life. Also, there are hardly any trash cans in Eldoret, so people just throw their trash on the street, and every now and then someone sweeps it up. Whenever you need to go into a supermarket, you have to surrender any bags to a “luggage check” counter, then they wand you down to make sure you’re not carrying anything dangerous. It is illegal for motorcyclists to carry passengers, but it isn’t against the law to have people in the bed of a truck. Today we saw a truck with over 10 people in the bed, and a full cab. If a motorcyclist is pulled over with a passenger, they can just bribe the police officer, and get off the hook. The police force is unfortunately very corrupt. It’s ridiculous—the whole city—but that’s enough about it.
            Yesterday, we sent Nick on his way, because his classes start soon and he had to be back in Michigan for practice this week. The kids surprised us all with an unbelievable good-bye ceremony. They all danced around Nick, walking in a circle around him and singing. Also in the circle was a table with something covered with a cloth. They uncovered it to reveal a cake—shaped and decorated to look like the children’s home. They had Nick cut the cake into small pieces, then they started to sing again while he had to go around and feed each person a chunk of cake. Afterwards, the older boys fed cake to him, and the singing and dancing continued. Then, 4 or 5 kids gave him different necklaces and pendants, each symbolizing something different. He was taken aback, and we ended the ceremony by all laying hands on him and praying for him and his journey home. They never cease to amaze us here at the home.
            Today, we got to experience the coolest cross-country meet I have ever been to in my life. Nothing like this exists in the States, I’m sure. We arrived early to the Eldoret Polytechnic campus for the meet, and were surprised to see very few people there. Regardless, we started our hour-fourty long run, while Luke got himself ready to race. We ran the course, which was on a 2k loop (the race is 8k, 4 loops) and were absolutely shocked. The entire course was marked by tape on both sides. There are about 5 huge cliff-like dips that the runners would have to negotiate. Also, there was a fallen post that they would have to hurdle. The grass was knee high, and there were holes in the ground that would twist an ankle instantly. The race was supposed to start at 9 (so we thought) and ended up starting just after 10:00. We are learning that Kenyan time is it’s own beast, and you can’t trust what anyone says when they give you a time schedule. The race finally went off, and the “Junior” athletes dominated the 8k course. The winner finished in a scorching time of 23:19. For those of you who aren’t so great with math, that comes out at an average of 4:40/mi. over 5 miles. Dakin ran tough, and can gladly say he beat a couple of Kenyans!
            Now, the real exciting stuff- the Seniors 12k. This race was packed with celebrity runners that some among you may find familiar. Geoffrey Mutai, Asbel Kiprop, Boaz Lalang, even the man who holds the world best time in 12k, Lineth Chepkurui. Boaz and Asbel planned to drop out early on, as they were only trying to get a workout in.  It was a wild race, but everyone there seemed so nonchalant about the whole thing. These Olympians and world champs are just like normal dudes to the natives. They see these guys in town and on the roads training every day. Apparently most of them even come to the track on workout days and encourage the younger athletes. We were honored to meet Boaz before the race, and Asbel afterwards, and they were both so humble and considerate. They may be super-human athletes, but they are also down to earth, genuine people as well.

            {Hey it’s Luke, just thought I would say a few words about the race. First of all, a major theme throughout our trip has been what we like to call “Kenyan time”. Kenyans do not feel the need to deal with the stress of being on time so they just pick a time to meet and arrive whenever they so choose. An example of Kenyan time was the manager of our camp took our coach to a ceremony and then to pick up a cow that we had donated to the children’s home. The manager said they would be home by 1 in the afternoon. They arrived at 11:30 at night. In my case, I was told the race would start at 9 so I warmed up at 8 and when I got to the starting line I was the only one there! Nobody showed for two hours until we finally started the race. When the race started though it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Even though I did not do very well in the race it was such an incredible experience racing alongside over 100 Kenyans. The race went out much faster than it usually does back at home. Many of the Kenyans have a very risky strategy where they go out very hard knowing that they will either drop out or do something phenomenal. And that is what happened. Many people dropped out but many people ran faster then I thought was humanly possible. Many of these racers were even running barefoot! I thought I would be the only Muzungu (what the locals call white people) in the race but was surprised to meet a diverse group from Canada, France and England. I had an amazing experience and it was so much fun to be a part of that race.}

            The children begin school again on Monday morning, so there will be more down time for us ahead. In the coming days we have plans to visit Iten, the home of many MANY Olympians, and also to tour a nature reserve. Until then—Harambee. (See below for an update from Nick upon arriving back in the US).



Scrivner now wears a hood everywhere he goes. 
This is David Lagat's home that was mentioned in a previous post. (graduation present)

The children just love to follow us and play with us wherever we go.

The gang with Asbel Kiprop after the xc meet.

The man 3rd from right is the head coach of Kenyan Athletics (Track and Field). He came to the home just to meet us.

Harambee the cow, our gift to the children's home. 

January 6th, 2013:

Hello! I'm writing this from my home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Today is Sunday, it is 34˚F and my front lawn is snow covered. I left Kaptagat on Friday, and got into Detroit Metro last night, Saturday, around 5:00PM; I was traveling for about 24 hours. 
On the day of my departure everyone was extremely helpful and nice. Our hosts, Uncle David and Auntie Sarah along with the kids, did a departure ceremony with a cake and gifts and singing and dancing, it was a lot of fun and it was a great way to say bye to the people I had lived with and gotten to know for the past week. 

In reflection on this experience that has truly augmented my worldview, I can say that it will continue to have an impact in the way I think and act, and hopefully bring me back to Kenya and the people of Kaptagat in the future. I urge anyone who can and is willing to, to check out their website at www.graceofgodchildren.org

Asante-sana to all the people at the Children Centre and to the crew from UCCS, I hope you continue to have a great experience! Hopefully the Michigan and UCCS crew can meet again, perhaps on a trip to visit the Davids next year!  Good luck to you guys in your Track season, and good luck to David Kibet and David Lagat and Paul Maiyo in your future running endeavors, hopefully I'll see all of you guys in the future. Thanks again!

Nick Kern