2018 June Trip

The June 2018 trip was another large one with 24 on the team.

2017 Newsletters

Achungo news from 2017:   Year-End Update     News from April 2017   News from July 2017   News from August 2017           

2016 Newsletters

Achungo News from 2016: March 2016 July 2016 Newsletter July 2016 Mailchimp   November 2016   December 2016      

2015 Newsletters

Achungo News from 2015:     PDF from Q1 Newsletter PDF from Q4 Newsletter

2014 Newsletters

Achungo Newsletters and “annual report” from 2014:     PDF from Q1 Newsletter PDF from Q2 Newsletter    

2013 Newsletters

Below are our newsletters from 2013:   PDF from Q1 Newsletter PDF from Q2 Newsletter PDF from Q3 Newsletter PDF from Q4 Newsletter  

2012 Newsletters

These are our newsletters from 2012:   PDF from Q1 Newsletter PDF from Q2 Newsletter PDF from Q3 Newsletter

2011 Newsletters

These are our newsletters from 2011:   Click here for PDF

Achungo Support in Germany

Ganztagsschule Denksteinweg – Achungo Children´s Centre (ACC) in Kenia Partner seit 2005 I. DER ANFANG Im Sommer 2005bekam Herr Opitz eine Anfrage von einem Freund, ob er mit dem Schulprojekt „Wir singen für Kinder in Not“ Waisenkinder in Kenia unterstützen könnte, weil sintflutartige Regen die Lehmhütten weggespült hatten. Seit 2003 kümmert sich Michael Nyangi, Direktor … Continued

2018 January: A Ready Team

The January 2018 team is all well-traveled folks with lots of experience adjusting to cultures and that made it an easy trip to lead. Here we are with our safari driver, Carlos.  Left to right:  Anna, Cheryl, Cassidy, Kerry, and Rosalina with Ryan behind her. During our 2 days in the Masai Mara, we saw … Continued

What is the Secret of Achungo’s Success?

Achungo is frequently asked by Education Ministry and school administrators throughout Kenya about the “secret” behind their academic success and exemplary student discipline.  The key has nothing to do with enforcement imposed on the students but rather lies in a deeply held mission shared by staff and students alike.  It is imparted to new teachers … Continued

2017 June: The 2 or More Principle?

It was our final day in the village in Kenya and after a few hours of journaling and sharing, all 28 of us boarded the big bus for the drive back to Nairobi Airport for our long flights home.   It’s about 250 miles on tarmac but always seems to take all day somehow. We left … Continued

June 2017 — It’s going to be a BIG trip!

We are just beginning our planning for the trip in June but the team is now formed…and it is 31!!! That’s about twice the size of any prior team!   It includes 12 teenagers, 9 family groups plus 5 individuals.   It involves 8 or 9 different itineraries with some going early to Europe, some … Continued

2017 June: A Family Trip

This June trip is made up of 3 family groups plus a number of singles none of whom have been on this trip before.   We leave on June 22 and as usual will spend 2 days on safari in the Masai Mara and then 5 full days at Achungo with our beloved children.

Our First Graduates Enter High School

8th Graders, November 2014 We have our first graduates!!  In 2014 Achungo Educational Centre (the new name for the primary school that is part of Achungo Children’s Centre, Kenya), had its first 8th grade class.   The next step in Kenya is secondary school (equivalent to high school in the U.S.) for the 4 years … Continued

2015 Trip: Ready to Launch

We are less than 10 days away from our departure for Kenya for this June trip.   There are 13 of us going and it is the first time for everyone (except Monte, of course). In our picture, from left to right: Susan and Sam, Jeremy and Kylie, Nick (behind) and Cyndi, Monte (behind), Diane, Merit … Continued

Charity Run in Germany

                             Charity Run  Hello, dear friends   On September 16th, the Max-Schmeling-School in Hamburg, Germany, organized a charity run. The weather was sunny and pleasant, ideal for running. We had 35 students from two 4th grade classes from the Elementary School Oejendorfer … Continued

2014 October Trip: Two New Ambassadors

In October 2014, Jake (9) and Luke (7) Smith visited Achungo along with their parents, Nate and Jen.  They had already involved the students at their school, Oak Knoll in Menlo Park.  And they knew they’d have stories to tell on their return, but no one expected this family to take the story of Achungo … Continued

2014 June: A Really Big Team

The June 2014 trip has turned out to be the largest of our team trips by far: 17 total by the time we got to the Achungo Children’s Center in very rural Rodi-Kopany, Kenya. (In the above picture:  far back left to right: Rachel and Cindy Marty, Doug Tillion, Jordan Troester.  Front left to right:  … Continued

Grassroots Neighborhood Fundraising

Returning home one Saturday afternoon I found a basket at our door with $9.50 of cash and a note: “this is from our lemonade stand and it is for the orphans; from Neekie, Bella, Max, Grace, Fiona and Phillip“. I was floored! We live in a small neighborhood and I knew these kids were my … Continued

The Trinity School – our sister school in Menlo Park

Last Thursday we presented to the student body at The Trinity School, a private preschool and primary in Menlo Park.  They have been a sort of sister school to Achungo since early 2011 when 5th grader and friend, Karen Rader, brought Achungo to her class as a 5th grade service project. Here Karen is presenting … Continued

News from Hamburg, Germany

News from Hamburg, Germany I would like to introduce a new thread in this blog about activities in Hamburg leaded by Armin Opitz concerning support to the Achungo Children Centre. My real name is Stefan Menck and I am, like Armin, teacher at a school in the Eastern Part of Hamburg, Germany. With much work … Continued

Coming home…..

My heart is full, as I return to my life here in the U.S.  There is nothing quite like the experience of emerging yourself in another culture for a time. There are many things about African culture that I love…. But I especially love the way they relate to each others and to us.  it … Continued

2013 June: Gathering the Team

Our team for the June 2013 trip to Achungo rather evolved over time.  Bonnie and Robin Smith (no, they are not sisters…just friends) actually completed applications and deposits by November — that’s enthusiasm!  By the March application deadline, they were joined by 9 others:  co-leaders, Monte and Kathy Fisher,  Charley Hawkins and his grandson, Jack … Continued

Our Founder Visits California: Michael’s December Tour

Michael Nyangi, Founder and Kenyan Director of Achungo Children’s Center, made his first trip to California this year.  This was a long awaited, long-planned visit to connect with his many supporters and for many more to hear his incredible story (see the prior post for his story).  He arrived on Wednesday, November 28 and stayed … Continued

Visit With Our Kenya Founder/Director

Michael Nyangi, the founder and Kenyan Director for Achungo Children’s Center, is making his first trip to the Bay Area in late November (2012). Below are some of the events planned. You should consider attending and meeting this incredible man who grew up a poor orphan, was sponsored through college and then, forgoing a lucrative … Continued

2012 June Trip: It’s All About The Teaching!

Our team of 11 left SFO on June 13 and after our 2-day safari in the Masai Mara, spent a full 5 days at the Achungo Children’s Centre (that’s how we spell it in ex-British colonies!).  What was most remarkable on this trip for me was that every single teacher from our 2 preschool classes … Continued

The New Campus

On our first trip to Kenya (October 2010) we realized that there was an urgent need at Achungo for more land.  We have by now purchased the new site, fenced it and have begun construction.  But I’m getting ahead of my story. In 2008 Saratoga Federated Church purchased a well for Achungo Children’s Center and … Continued

News of Our School

The school of Achungo was born in 2005 as Director Michael Nyangi had recruited 2 widows with hearts for orphans who began to work with him both by taking care of orphans (along with their own children) and beginning to teach those who were unable to attend school due to cost. Although Primary School (K-8) … Continued

Our First Farming Project

In 2010, after 2 years of supporting the food program at Achungo, Samaritan’s Purse encouraged us to undertake a project that might move us toward self-sufficiency.  We had experimented a little with farming, so wrote a proposal for farming 11 acres which was then funded for the 2 planting seasons of 2010-2011 and has now … Continued

Current Funding Focus – Fall 2011

In August we began fundraising in earnest to purchase land and begin building out the Achungo school campus. We have learned from Michael Nyangi, our Kenyan Founder/Director, that land nearby our current parcel is available and he has verified title and cost. Total cost is $9,500 including fees and fencing (for a bit over 1/2 … Continued

2011 June Trip: Debrief and Go — Thursday

This morning is our last at the Tausi Hotel, our last in Rodi Kopany, we are leaving Achungo today.  But this is a day of important work — after breakfast we spent about 3 hours in a debrief process, reflecting on our experiences and what they mean in our lives. We gather in the “lounge” … Continued

2011 June Trip: How Can We Possibly Leave? — Day 10 (Wednesday)

Several team members had talked about the value of giving the staff a way to organize all the stuff we’d brought rather than just leave piles of new things.  Julia M had recounted her father’s adage that whatever you do you always have to take care of the staff.  So Julia, the energizer bunny, has … Continued

2011 June Trip: Now We’re Teachers! — Day 9 (Tuesday)

While most of the team spend the day in classes with the teachers and children, reading, teaching, doing games, etc. (and someone else will have to fill in that detail….), Chris and Monte spend the day shopping with Michael.  We start at the Rodi lumber yard shopping for materials to build new desks.  Chris has … Continued

2011 June Trip: It’s a Suney Day at Achungo! — Day 8 (Monday)

Today is our first planned-out day to work with the children and teachers.  Suney began our trip quietly expressing the hope that she might somehow be helpful.  Today, she proves that to be the understatement of the year.  Her experience as a 6th Grade teacher for several years and apparently, helping with VBS (Vacation Bible … Continued

2011 June Trip: A Time for Fellowship — Day 7 (Sunday)

Today Michael has invited us to his home church (Kager Vision Center) and then to his home (for lunch) and he has contracted a matatu for our travel.  The matatus are modified minivans used as taxis that seat 10 with room for 14 passengers (yes, you read that right).  That’s including 2 or 3 sharing … Continued

2011 June Trip: “We Welcome You to Achungo” — Day 6 (Saturday)

Last night Chris shared about how the 12 Steps provide a regimen for healing through surrender to God (Higher Power) and through the processes of confession and of making amends with those we’ve harmed (or sometimes, those who’ve harmed us).  It was a very powerful teaching for us all. This morning we talk about the … Continued

2011 June Trip: Still More Zebras? — Day 4 (Thursday)

Today is our full day in the Masai Mara and it does not disappoint.  A day of dueling telephotos and herds of safari vans, but a day of  what seems like phenomenal luck as we see an incredible show of this very exotic wildlife. We find what must be the same pride and park right … Continued

2011 June Trip: Hitting the Road for Masai Mara: Day 3 (Wednesday)

It’s a miracle!  We all made it to Nairobi without delays and we are finally together!  Ron had arrived a day early and met us in the airport.  Susan’s flight made it with only a slight delay.  At last we are together and on our way to a Safari (a SAFARI!). It takes us about … Continued

2011 June Trip: In-Flight: Days 1 and 2 in transit to Nairobi

From all across America we gather.   To be more precise, we have teams leaving from San Francisco and from Baltimore and the first time we would ever meet them was to be at Heathrow on our way to Nairobi, and the first time the entire team would be together was not to be until Nairobi … Continued

2011 June Trip: The Pre-Trip Prep

For months before our trip, our team took opportunities to get together to study and prepare.  Let’s just say that in some ways these were virtual meetings since 3 teammates were on the East Coast (Julia, Meg and Clare) and one was in SoCal at school until a few weeks before the trip (Ana). But … Continued

Final Days of My Stay: Exams and Family Visits

Madam Dorcas Madam Dorcas and M. Nancy As one of my last days at Achungo winds down, I walk home with Venezyl and Madam Nancy Odhiambo (the younger teacher Nancy) to visit Madam Dorcas, who is at home with a 3-week-old baby she has inherited from her brother-in-law’s wife who apparently died in childbirth.  Madam … Continued

Notes on Orphanage Care

As if I needed it, I got further acknowledgement of the various and real benefits of the model that Michael created in Achungo.    I finished reading a book called “The Urban Halo” by Craig Greenfield about his experience helping HIV/AIDS orphans in Cambodia.  Craig did a lot of research (UNICEF, UNAIDS, USAID, Yale University study, … Continued

Day 8 – It’s Another Day in the Neighborhood!

I awake early (5 a.m.), as usual, and to all the usual sounds: roosters crowing nearby, dogs barking in the hotel yard, a TV blaring somewhere, trucks and cars and cycles loudly driving past on the road that is a few steps away, all manner of horn honking near and far, loud speakers blaring from … Continued

Day 7 — I’m a Teacher

“Can I help with some more teaching?” Mr. Richard is glad to oblige and gives me my teaching schedule. I’ll teach 3 classes plus help with PE for Grades 1& 2. Woops, looks like I’ve already hung out too long with the other teachers in the Teachers’ Lounge and missed my first period. No problem, … Continued

Day 6 — Field Trip

Today Michael and I have planned a trip to nearby Homa Bay, mostly to check out the market (their market day is Wednesday). I want to survey nearby markets for a couple of reasons. First, to help me understand some of Achungo’s costs; and secondly, to learn about possible opportunities for us to earn some … Continued

Day 5 – It’s the education, stupid

Pardon the sarcastic political reference in the title, but today was focused on the classroom experience which is certainly core to Achungo. I sat in on a number of the classes with the purpose of understanding what the teachers and the students are experiencing and what their potential needs are. Appropriately enough, I started in … Continued

Day 4 – It’s about each, individual child

It’s Monday – school day and I get to spend my first full day at the school! School day begins at 7:45-ish with an assembly around the flagpole – children cluster in their class groups and are very orderly. First up is inspection by the teacher-in-charge: · Does everyone have clean necks? · Socks on … Continued