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22. November 2017 · Comments Off on POLITICS – KENYA STYLE · Categories: General · Tags: , ,

Politics is my favourite spectator sport.  I watch it with the same passion as others are entertained by football, hockey, baseball or whatever.  Since the beginning of September, I have had a ringside seat here in Kenya, as the country struggled with the selection of their president.  In Kenya, the President is the head of state, who is directly elected by the people. A president can serve a maximum of two five year terms.

On August 8, the people went to the polls and re-elected President Uruhu Kenyatta for a second term.  Almost immediately, his opponent Raila Odinga declared that the election had been “rigged”, and he launched a court case wherein he alleged that certain “irregularities and illegalities” had occurred during the election, which according to him was not conducted in keeping with the constitution.  On September 1, the Supreme Court of Kenya agreed, and in an unprecedented move declared the August 8 election to be “null and void”, and ordered a new election to be held within 60 days.

This new election was at first scheduled for October 16, and then postponed to October 26.  About 10 days before the election, Mr. Odinga pulled out of the election, and urged his followers to boycott the election.   One day before the election, Kenyans were not at all sure that they would be going to the polls.  There was a challenge in court that it should be postponed yet again on the grounds that insufficient preparations had been made, no fresh nominations had been held etc. etc.  The Supreme Court was to hear the application the day prior to the election, but they could not, because oddly, the court failed to form a quorum: only two of the six justices showed up.  The election went ahead the next day with a voter turn out of about 35%. President Kenyatta was re-elected by an overwhelming majority.

Once again, almost immediately, there were legal challenges to the validity of the election. Once again, the Supreme Court had to decide whether to uphold the election results, or to send the people to the polls for the third time.  This past Monday, November 20 they rendered their decision. This time they unanimously dismissed the challenges and declared the election results to be valid.  The President is to be sworn in for his second term on November 28, the day that I return to Canada.

Sadly, that is not the end of the story.  Opponent Odinga has stated publically that he and his followers do not recognize the President. Sound familiar?  “He’s not MY president”. Just like after Donald Trump’s election, there are demonstrations.  Only these have been violent – already two people are dead.  The defeated candidate said that he will announce next week what his next steps will be.

Of course it is impossible not to look at this through the lens of our own Canadian politics.  There are some parallels, and some sharp differences.  One parallel was stated best by the taxi driver who takes me into town and back about once a week.  He said that not only are Kenyans tired of all this electioneering, but “the people no longer believe anything that a politician says”.  Certainly that is true of many Canadians, but for very different reasons.  In Canada we are cynical about anything that politicians say because they promise us one thing while they are campaigning for office, but once in office they become intoxicated with power and ignore what they promised, and sometimes do exactly the opposite.  Here in Kenya, in many cases both sides promised exactly the same thing, and many fear that these promised will be forgotten, no matter who is in power.

In the multi-party system that we have in Canada, we are used to seeing each party put forward a platform of policies that they hope will appeal to the voters.  The reality is that voters tend decide their vote on the popularity of the party leader, and sometimes whom we vote for is determined by how much we hate another leader whom we want to throw out.

But here in Africa, and in Kenya particularly, there is a factor that is not so prevalent in Canada, and that is TRIBALISM.  Tribal politics plays a huge role.  Like the “blood is thicker than water” concept, it overrules policy, reason, and many other things.  President Kenyatta and his opponent are from very different tribes, and each tribe feels that they are better served if “their” candidate is in power.  Moreover, the fathers of both of these men were also politicians, and arch-rivals at that.  (President Kenyatta’s father was Kenya’s first President and the airport in Nairobi is named after him).

But tribalism is not the only problem.  Another one is corruption, which apparently is a way of life here. I heard it said in chapel one day that “Kenya is 80% Christian (nominally) but 90% corrupt.  I don’t know how fair that is, but I do know that corruption is present in all segments of society, including law enforcement.   A big bone of contention in the last two elections is the so-called IEBC (The “Independent Election and Boundaries Commission”) which is the Kenyan equivalent of our Elections Canada body that is responsible for carrying out, and reporting the results of the election in accordance with the country’s laws and constitution.  This body (the IEBC) has come under fire for all kinds of offenses relating to the way election materials and ballots were handled, results supposedly manipulated and many more alleged offenses.  How far that corruption really extends – the opposition claims it extends to the judiciary – is very hard to tell. Not that our Canadian elections have been 100% free of that – think “Robo-calls”.

But one thing that is very different from Canada in Kenyan elections, is the violence and bloodshed. It is one thing to express one’s views, political or otherwise.  But it is another thing to maim, vandalize, and kill because someone else thinks differently. In the 2007 presidential election, shown here in pictures, more than 1,100 people were killed after the election, and another 600,000 forced from their homes. In the 2013 election the violence began already in 2012 with 447 lives claimed in inter-communal clashes, and another 118,000 people were displaced.

the numbers are not yet in.  There have again been casualties and deaths, since before August, and it continued throughout the repeat election.  People were prevented from voting by bonfires and other obstructions blocking the way to many polling places.  Let us hope and pray that this type of electioneering does not find its way into other democratic countries.  A hallmark of democracy is that everyone has the right to his or her own opinion, and everyone has the right to peacefully express that opinion.  If you resort to violence to make your point, then your point gets lost in the process, and violence becomes the message. God help us if that is ever accepted as legitimate.

02. March 2016 · Comments Off on AFRICAN ADVENTURE – PART 2 “BEAUTIFUL KENYA” · Categories: KENYA, Missions · Tags: , , ,


When God creKenya 174ated the world, he made it beautiful.  I believe that every part of God’s earth, and therefore every country in the world has its own inherent beauty and that includes Kenya.  One of the joys of travelling is the excitement of seeing new places. I also think you have a greater enjoyment of going to a new place if you do not compare it to your own country.

On the way from Nairobi to Eldoret, we passed through beautiful countryside.  Eldoret is currently the fastest growing urban centre in Kenya with a population of 289,380 according to the 2009 census.  Its higher elevation (2700 meters or 9000 feet above sea level) makes its climate very pleasant. The daytime temperatures were in the 23-25 C range, and at night it cooled downeldoret map to about 15C.

On the day after the graduation at Missionary College, the team enjoyed a lunch at the beautiful Samich Resort, some sight seeing, and later in the day a visit to the home of the former principal of the college, Rev. Chepkwony. But I had to miss out on all of that fun. Let me explain.

The night after the graduation, I was struck with a severe case of food poisoning.  I will spare the reader the graphic details except to say it was the worst I had ever experienced.  While things settled down a bit during the day, I needed to stay in my room.  Early in the afternoon there was a knock at the door, and the manager of the hotel told me to get dressed as there was a taxi waiting to take me to the hospital.  I mildly protested and suggested waiting until later when our team leader would be back, but the gentleman was insistent, “no, you need to go now”.  He rode with us in the taxi, and assisted me with the formalities at the hospital so that I could be seen by the doctor.  He of course asked me what I had eaten and where.  I was curious that everyone else who had eaten the same thing seemed just fine, but the doc explained that probably the food contained some substance that my immune system simply did not tolerate. In fact, another team member also had a milder case of food poisoning, but not severe enough to need medical attention.  I received a powerful antibiotic, and two other medications which worked very quickly.  But I did not feel like eating until the end of the week.

1443517274-35-st-luke-s-orthopaedic-and-trauma-hospitalIt turned out the hospital that I was taken to – St. Luke’s Orthopaedic and Trauma Hospital– is owned by a Christian woman who had sung in the choir at the Missionary College the day before.  I can say only good things about the care that I received there.  Principal Peter Ng’ok and another faculty member had come to the hospital to give moral support, which I appreciated very much.  But sadly,  missed the adventure that everyone else had.

There was another reason why I would spend a lot of time in my hotel room, and I’m kind of embarrassed by this.  In Amsterdam, as we went through the security check before boarding our connecting flight for Nairobi, I had to remove my laptop from my carry -on baggage.  The laptop and the bag were x-rayed, and alas my bag contained a forbidden bottle of water.  The excitement of having to open it, surrender the bottle and so on got me so excited that I forgot to pick up the laptop and put it into the bag.  We didn’t notice that it was missing until we were in the air when I wanted to do some work. The laptop contained all of the talks that I had prepared to be delivered in Kenya.  Sermons, seminars, powerpoint  presentations – each one different and prepared for a special audience.  Sadly, I did not have a hardcopy of any of this – a mistake I will never make again.  There was no other alternative but to re-construct each talk, and with the help of a borrowed lap top do the presentations over.  This proved more difficult than I thought, especially with how ill I was feeling.  As the week wore on, we juggled some assignments around.  More about that later.  (To Be Continued). If you wish to receive updates automatically, subscribe to the blog by entering your info at the top right hand.  Also feel free to make comments – your email address will not appear on the site.


Kenya 188Kenya 166 Saamich Resort 3




24. February 2016 · Comments Off on AFRICAN ADVENTURE · Categories: Missions · Tags: , , , ,


It is hard to believe that it has been more than two months since a group of us returned from a short term missions trip to Africa. I was privileged, together with Rev. David Tarus to co-lead a team of 5 other men on an almost two week adventure to Kenya from November 18 – December 2, 2015. It has taken me this long to process some of the memories, and I will be sharing these here over the course of several postings.

Our journey officially began on the front lawn of Mission Baptist Church in Hamilton when we formed a circle and Associate Pastor Mike Powell prayed with us. Then we joined the luggage that had been loaded into two vans and started the trip to Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Our flight departed on time at 6:15 PM and took us through the night to Amsterdam, The Netherlands where we transferred to our flight to Nairobi. Late in the evening, after a total of 16 hours of flying we arrived excited but tired, at Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. There our first adventure awaited us.

The immigration/customs process was long and thorough. In addition to our visas, we were obliged to be finger printed. After finding our suitcases in the hot stuffy luggage hall, there were the familiar green and red exit lanes through customs. Wanting to be honest, we of course took the red lane, for we had 100 fixed-tuned radios that had been produced by Galcom International. These solar powered receivers were tuned to two Christian radio stations in Kenya, where people could listen to quality Christian broadcasting, as well as hear the entire Bible in their own language. We had documentation with us that declared the commercial value (paid for by donations in Canada)  and the charitable purpose of these radios that were to be distributed free of charge.  Sadly, we were assessed almost $200 USD import duties – more than the commercial value of the radios. To save luggage weight, we had the radios divided amongst the team members, and all of us had the same identical letter. To our consternation, some who came through the line after us were also assessed the very same taxes, although it was abundantly clear to the officials that they were dealing with the same group, and the same lot of radios. When we went back to formally complain, we were given a convoluted explanation of why the excess  duties could not be refunded. “We are a developing nation”, we were told. I later looked at the customs receipt which read at the bottom, “thank-you for contributing to the Kenya economy by paying import duties.”

So it was close to midnight by the time we reached our accommodations for the night – a retreat centre operated by Catholic nuns. Bed never looked so inviting as that night. But first there was the matter of mosquitos to be dealt with. Here in North America, mosquitos are a nuisance to our leisure time outdoors. But in Africa they are often carriers of contagious diseases such as malaria. Hotels, and most private residences have mosquito nets in the bedroom that are suspended from the ceiling and completely enclose the bed. I confess that I was too tired to untie it but when I awoke in the night and heard a buzzing sound I got up and took the net down just to be sure. We had been vaccinated against all sorts of diseases, and were taking anti-malaria pills each day of our trip, but its better to be safe than sorry I thought.

The next day was a travel day by road to Eldoret, about 300 km from Nairobi. The journey took the better part of the day because it was not highway travel, but for the most part bumpy roads. We had hired 2 vans to transport the team and all our luggage. The drivers were experIMG_0265ienced and had probably travelled the route many times. But for us it was an experience that was at times frightful. Pot-holes, and drivers travelling too slowly had to be avoided. On a two-lane road, this meant at times that there were vehicles travelling in opposite directions sharing the same lane! What look like an imminent head on collision was always averted at the last moment – one of the two vehicles – be they cars, or more often vans loaded to capacity with passengers and goods would pull out of the lane at the last possible moment. Some of us prayed a lot during the trip. Then there were the speed bumps and random police checks. The slow-down was prime time for street vendors who positioned themselves near the speed bumps to offer their wares that ranged from fruits and other edible goods to almost anything that could be carried. The sales pitches were intense, and if your window is open, whatever is being sold would be pushed inside the vehicle for you. Closing the window was sometimes the only defence.

Our first ministry assignment was the Graduation Exercises at the Missionary College in Eldoret. The college is an institution of the African Inland Church (AIC) which was formed by the African Inland Mission (AIM) which first brought the gospel to Africa. The college trains people to be pastors and missionaries. We had been told that in Africa things don’t necessarily happen punctually… they start when they start. But Principal Peter Ng’ok made sure that the proceedings began at 10:00 AM on the dot, which was my first clue that he might be a man after my own heart.

As a team we were given unexpected honours. We were asked to march in the academic procession with the faculty and the graduates. The team received special seating directly behind the graduates. Later, as the graduates were called up one by one, they had to go down a line of dignitaries who shook their hand. Without knowing beforehand, I was at the end of that line and the one who handed out the diploma.

The ceremony was approximately three hours long. As it progressed, the crowd continued to swell to about 1000 people. It was my privilege to give the graduation address. I spoke in English, and my message was translated into Swahili by the Principal of theIMG_0336 College. Speaking with a translator has its challenges, but it is manageable if you have a translator who really knows what he is doing. That certainly was the case with Peter Ng’ok. Of
course I did not understand what he was saying, but I knew he was accurate because people laughed when they were supposed to, and Peter used the same dynamic of his voice that I did as I said the original sentence.

After the ceremony there was food for the special guests which included us. As I walked about the campus, I noticed something interesting, that I had never seen before at a graduation. There were various huddles: groups of people sitting either in rows or in a circle, with a graduate seated in a prominent place. People took turns giving congratulatory speeches. I learned that these were groups of each graduate’s home church who had come to congratulate, and to offer encouragement to the graduate for his or her future endeavors. At the end of the day we were tired but our hearts felt warm and encouraged to have experienced this special milestone. (To Be Continued)


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20. October 2015 · Comments Off on COUNTING THE DAYS ! · Categories: General, Missions · Tags: ,


While some people are counting the days of Christmas shopping left, I am counting the days to November 18 – the day that I leave for Kenya with the group pictured above.  I’m very proud of them.  One is Rev. David Tarus, a pastor and Bible College teacher from Kenya, who belongs to our church at Mission Baptist as he pursues his Ph.D at McMaster Divinity College. Three of them are elders at Mission Baptist, the church I have been privileged to lead for the past 13 years, and two of them are young adults from that church.

Some have asked, “so what will you be doing there?” – a justified question that I would like to answer here today, as we have just finalized our itinerary. On our first Sunday (Nov 22) we will be privileged to participate in the graduation ceremony at the Missionary College at Eldoret, where I will have the honour of delivering the Graduation Address.  I have never been privileged to do that, and two weeks later I am to do the same thing at a seminary in Cameroon.

On Tuesday of that week the team will divide into two – one group will help with painting the office at the Missionary College, and the other group will be with me, speaking on radio and television about “What Does it mean to Make Disciples?”.

Next day on Wednesday we will be visiting a Hospital in the morning and a Children’s Home in the afternoon. It is to be an informal time of interacting with the staff and patients.

Thursday we will again divide, with one group going to a Bible College in a place calle Kapsabet, where i am to lead a leadership seminar – for pastors and church workers.  The topic that I have been asked to speak on is “The Allure of the Prosperity Gospel: How Should Evangelical Leaders respond?”.  The ‘prosperity gospel’ is of course no gospel at all, but an aberration of Christian teaching that is hitting African churches hard.  Here in North America we know it as the “Word of Faith Movement” or informally the “Health and Wealth gospel” (the small g is delibereate). I will  try to teach truthfully in  way that encourages the church leaders  to deal with this erroneous teaching with pure Biblical teaching.    The other half of the team will go to a local church, and lead a youth seminar on the topic “Adopting the Right Attitude for Success in Life”.

Friday we go to a rural church at Tulwopng’etuny that was started less than two years ago with 7 people. They are up to about 100 now. At first they met in the open air under the shelter of a tree, but now are building their own place of worship.  The walls are starting to go up, and we hope to help them make more progress.11807593_10207601471581862_2043893945755577746_o

Saturday morning is another leadership seminar in a nearby church, and then in the afternoon we are invited to a wedding!  I have never been to a wedding of people whom I have never met, let alone spoken at one, but apparently they are expecting a Gospel message, so I will do my best not to disappoint them!

Finally, on Sunday there will be a large interdenominational gathering at the new

Tulwopng’etuny church.  Neighbouring churches including Pentecostal, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Christians are expected to attend.  I’m looking forward to that perhaps most of all, because such gatherings are rare here in North America, much less an evangelical Pastor like myself preaching at such a gathering.

There are two things that we desperately still need.  The first is prayer partners. Those readers that understand the nature of spiritual warfare will understand why we are so desperate to have prayer partners support us.  If you are able to help us in this way, it would so much encourage us to know that you are praying for us.  There is a prayer list that you can sign up for, if you want to receive up to date news about what is happening with our trip and what to pray for.  We will send this only to those who request it, and those who are on the list, will be the first to receive news from the mission field of Kenya.  To subscribe, click here, and opt in by confirming your email address in the automated message that you receive.

Then we are also still in need of funds.  Not for ourselves; our own expenses are already covered.  But we would like to leave behind a number of things that the Christians in Kenya desperately need.  There is is the obvious need of Bibles and Hymnals in their own language. We will be taking about 100 solar powered radios that are pre-tuned to Christian stations that enable people to hear the gospel in their own language. And then we need – and this may seem strange to our western eyes – MOTORCYCLES. Why?  Many of the rural pastors need to serve more than one congregation on a Sunday.  Walking on dusty roads is presently the only way these pastors can reach these remote preaching points, often arriving tired in one place, after they have already preached at another.  For $1,500  a piece, we can supply these men with motorcycles.  If you are able and wish to help us, you can donate via the website of our church, and you will receive a tax deductible receipt. To donate with a credit card, click here, and be sure that you write the word KENYA in the place where it asks for comments.

If you are in the Hamilton area, we also would invite you to a special fund raiser  Spaghetti dinner this Saturday, October 24 in the lower hall of Mission Baptist Church, 100 North Oval in Hamilton.  The doors will open at 5:30 PM and dinner is at 6:00.  Admission is a donation for dinner at the door.  During the short program that follows dinner you will meet the team members, see a video presentation of our planned activities, and also receive answers to any questions you might have.  We’d love to see you there! Feel free to email me, if you have any questions.

12. April 2015 · Comments Off on MISSION TRIP TO KENYA · Categories: General · Tags: , ,

Later this year in November, Lord willing, it will be my privilege to take part in a Missions Trip to Kenya, sponsored by the church that I presently serve: Mission Baptist Church of Hamilton.  The trip will be led by my colleaugue,  Rev. David Tarus who is from Kenya, and presently in Hamilton completing his PhD. studies at McMaster Divinity College. David has served as a pastor and Bible College teacher. We are privileged to have him and his family worshipping with us and serving as co-leader of one of our small groups.  We hope to take a team of Mission Baptist people with us.  I have asked David to write a little about the Christian church in Kenya and about the missions opportunity.  Below is David’s “guest blog” for today:

David photo   Mission Trip to Kenya: Opportunities to bless the Kenyan Church 

It is a reality that the center of Christianity has shifted from the Global North (Europe and North America) to the Global South (Africa, Asia, and Latin America). It is estimated that around 4,300 people are added to the church daily; by 2020 over 64.7% of the world Christian population will live in Africa. Africa is the new center of Christianity.

I celebrate this growth of the Church in Africa, but I am worried. I am worried because what I see is growth in numbers but not growth in depth. This shallowness is attributed to various factors which include lack of trained pastors and evangelists especially in the rural areas where the majority of the population live, nominalism and syncretism, shallow discipleship, lack of Christian literature, cultural challenges, and other factors.

The church in Kenya is called to address these challenges. However, the problem is that most pastors, especially in rural areas, are not trained and do not have resources to meet these challenges.

The majority of rural pastors in Kenya serve more than one congregation. In most cases, the churches are at least 4km (2.5 miles) apart. My father, an untrained rural evangelist, has been a pastor of three congregations since the 80s. In all these years, my dad has never owned a car or a motorcycle. He has always traveled by foot or pedaled his old Raleigh bicycle to visit his congregants. He has endured long hours of sunshine, strong winds, and rain to faithfully fulfil his pastoral roles.

Blessed with seven children, my parents had to work extremely hard to take us to school because his monthly salary of Ksh 5,000 (US 60) was not even enough for food. He worked his farm, did small business, and made sure that his children go to school. Indeed, six out of the seven children have acquired university education.

Regardless of the overwhelming challenges, my father served and continues to serve God faithfully and with a lot of joy. He invested his energy to support young leaders, always ensuring that a few of us, me included, went to Bible School and acquired the best theological training. He inspired the best out of us. He has never given up on God. He has never given up on ministry.

The story of my father is the story of other rural pastors in Kenya. According to the Operation World, there are at least 800,000 untrained pastors in rural Africa. The majority of these rural pastors have very basic education and live under a dollar a day. They survive on small scale farming and small businesses. They serve without a regular salary; if any, their meager salary is always delayed. They have had to endure massive challenges to send their kids to school and to meet their day to day living. However, irrespective of these challenges, they serve with joy, passion, and dedication. They love what they do.

My vision, a vision that I am trying to invite you to share, is to inspire and encourage these rural pastors, evangelists, and church leaders. I want to see them equipped and facilitated to serve with a little more energy and joy.

Here are a few ways we could bless the church in rural Kenya:

  • Wheels for Ministry

motorcycleImagine taking care of three churches that are 4km apart and without means of transportation? What if the rural pastor was blessed with a motorcycle? Imagine the difference that that would make on their lives and their ministries? In view of this reality, the Mission Baptist Church is raising funds to purchase a few motorcycles to support rural pastors in Eldoret Kenya. We invite you to help us purchase motorcycles to be donated to a few pastors in Eldoret, Kenya. Each motorcycle costs CAN $ 1500.


  • Seminars & Leadership Training

I believe that the future of the African Church lies in its theological and missionary training. Theological and ministerial training must be taken to rural areas if the church is to be nourished. Rural pastors, evangelists, and other church leaders can benefit from seminars and leadership training. It is this vision to train the current leaders and the next generation of leaders that Mission Baptist Church is seeking to fulfil through its Mission trip to Kenya in November. We plan several seminars in Eldoret town and in a rural village not too far from the town. We invite you to partner with the church in supporting the team to fulfil this goal of training pastors and other church leaders in Eldoret.

  • Vernacular Bibles & other Literatures

biblesliteratureThe Church in North America is blessed with a lot of resources, including Christian literature. It is unfortunate that books are yet to penetrate many parts of Africa. Christians are in need of Bibles, hymn books, and other literatures. Church leaders are craving for Bible commentaries, study Bibles, Bible study materials, leadership books, etc. Some of these resources could be purchased locally but the leaders cannot afford them. Each vernacular Bible costs around 3 CAN $ and a Bible costs about $10. We invite you to donate towards the purchase of Christian literature to be donated to church leaders.

  • Fixed-Tuned Radios

Radio ministry is a powerful means of evangelization in Kenya. In Eldoret where I come from, there are more than five Christian radio stations radiosbroadcasting to at least three million people. Through a partnership with Galcom International, we hope to distribute radios to believers in the rural village in Eldoret. Here is the description of the Galcom radios that we hope to distribute:

Radios are tuned to any frequency on the dial at the request of partnering mission agencies or churches… Go-Tell radios are a great tool for short-term
mission teams allowing them to leave a Gospel witness long after they’ve left. Go-Tell radios allow those who can’t travel overseas to send a pocket sized missionary in their place.
Often one family, or tribe in a remote area will gather to listen to 1 RADIO! That means at times 20+ people could be hearing the WORD of God!

Galcom is ready to match each donation such that if you donate one radio, costing $20, Galcom will donate one radio. Each radio is already equipped with two versions of the Bible and fixed-tuned to three Christin radio channels. This is a wonderful opportunity to spread the Word to hundreds of people.

CHURCH1Walling of AIC Tulwopng’etuny Church

The picture you see here is of a church that my father started a year ago. Our prayer is to help this church with the walling.

God bless you as you share your resources with the Kenyan church



1) Pray for Kenya.  Pray for the Team that is preparing to go.  If you would like to receive a periodic Prayer Email, you can sign up here.

2) If God has laid on your heart to support the missions trip financially, or to help us raise funds for the above projects of motorcyles for pastors, Bibles, hymnbooks etc. you can donate online through our Canada Helps link.  Canadian Donors will receive tax deductible receipts.  Please be sure to mark your donation as KENYA.  Here is the link


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