11/01/2007: "Dinner & Discussion Nov 9th in FH"
Daniel Rateng', an HIV-AIDS counselor from Kenya, is in Friday Harbor for a six-week visit. He will speak at schools and community meetings here. He is here to aid a local group's effort to raise $40,000 to provide a clean water system for Kunya village in western Kenya. (Related story) The group's work grew from the seven-week visit by a Friday Harbor couple to Kunya this year. The group is sponsoring an African evening at the Mullis Center on November 9, with a dinner, music, pictures, and talks by Daniel and another Kenyan.
Four easy ways to help "Clean water for Kunya" Happen:
1. Buy TICKETs to the African Dinner, Nov. 9 at the Mullis Center,
2. Buy GIFT CERTIFICATES, make a contribution in someone's name- perfect holiday gift!
3. Make a DONATION, donations are tax-deductable
4. Buy RAFFLE tickets, for "feet of water pipe" and to win some great donated prizes, the
drawing will be at the African Dinner Nov. 9, and you don't need to be present to win.
African Dinner Event tickets are for sale at Griffin Bay Books and Garden Path Cafe or you can
contact: Joanruth Baumann or Dick Coffey at 378-6362
Daniel works with Mama na Dada*, a Kenyan organization that helps members of its communities to organize themselves to identify and find ways to solve pressing community problems. They have designed a system to treat, store, and distribute water for Kunya; they need money to complete the construction of the system. The goal of the local group is to raise that money.
The need for clean water in Kunya is serious. Kunya is a farming and fishing village on the shore of Lake Victoria, and although the lake water is contaminated with parasites and diseases such as cholera and typhoid, residents have only that water to use, usually without treatment. Since about half of the population of the area is children, and since nearly half of the residents of the area have compromised immune systems, diseases introduced from the water kill hundreds each year.
The story of Daniel’s life is an inspiring one. Now 29 years old, he was born into a poor family and left motherless as a child; nonetheless, he overcame considerable cultural and financial odds to obtain his education, earning a college degree in social work. He directs Mama na Dada's Stay Alive One-Stop Youth Center in Nairobi and also works with their programs in Kunya, where they have organized the community to build a health clinic, secondary school, and day-care center, all of which are now operating with local volunteers. Daniel teaches about HIV and AIDS and counsels those with the diseases on how to extend their lives. He also directs projects helping farmers to find ways to grow higher yields of more nutritious crops; hunger and malnutrition can be deadly for anyone but especially so for children and those with HIV or AIDS.
Daniel consistently puts his community's needs ahead of his own. He often works for little or no pay; Mama na Dada is a small, local organization always with uncertain funding. This trip to Friday Harbor fulfills a life's dream for him and, aside from a recent brief trip within Africa, marks his first time away from Kenya. So Friday Harbor is providing his introduction to the western world and the United States.
For further information about Daniel, the water project, or various medical, water, and other special-interest-group lunches planned, please call Joanruth Baumann at 378-6362.
(*“Mama na Dada” is Swahili for “Mother and Sister.”)