Summer 2023 - With COVID travel restrictions finally lifted, NMS was able to welcome two enthusiastic groups of visitors from America for the first time in over five years. These included visits from California and Connecticut.
A Group from California including 14 teenagers and 3 adults from Episcopal churches in San Francisco and Los Altos, spent ten days at NMS in late June/early July. Mike Stafford, Youth Minister at St Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in San Francisco, led this group – a follow on to a similar trip in 2016. This team engaged in an array of activities and volunteer roles including teaching/assisting in 7th grade English and computer classes; helping to teach 4th grade math and English classes; assisting in the kitchen and on the farm; assisting with the pre-school classes; interacting with the NMS students in the sports fields and other leisure activities after classes; and participating in the NMS sports day – a big event to which parents of NMS children are invited.
The California team also participated in the Sunday worship time, largely run by NMS students in grades 5-8, and visited Nambale town on market day, an educational experience in and of itself. Daily reflection time helped the group to process the powerful experience of operating in an immensely different culture. Goodbyes were difficult and emotional yet filled with great joy as the NMS and California kids had bonded so well over the ten days.
Group from Connecticut: a multi-generational group of 13 from southern Connecticut sponsored by the Noroton Presbyterian Church (NPC) spent part of four days at NMS in July. It was the first NPC visit since 2017, and despite the short time frame, the impact was powerful and positive. The NPC team were also able to visit the Nambale market and some homes of sponsored children, and participated in classes at various levels as well as interacting with NMS children during leisure time. This range of experiences provided perspective and allowed the team to gain a better understanding of the overall environment in which NMS is operating. Two WIKS-USA Board members (Betsy Mettler and Jim Hutter) were among the NPC visitors, and were able to spend time with key NMS administrators and faculty members. Each of the NPC members remarked about the sheer joy they witnessed and felt throughout the stay. The gratitude which the NMS students expressed for the opportunity to study there left a lasting impression with the NPC team.
WIKS-USA, Inc. is dedicated to the success of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs) in rural Kenya, by providing financial and technical assistance for their education, shelter and emotional support at the Nambale Magnet School.
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