August 2015 Megan Light and Nicole Janes carried out a community health worker training and assessment in conjunction with the Ministry of Health in Kajiado North Sub-County as part of their Emory University MPH practicum. They worked under the direction of PATHWAYS Vice-President in Kenya, Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu. Pictured from left to right are Megan Light, Dr. Mathiu, His Wife Joy Mbaabu and Nicole Janes). Catherine Kaimenyi, the Student Coordinator of PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress remarked, “The students are so enthusiastic to learn new things and bonded with the scholars so well. This exchange emerged to be so exciting and we look forward to more of such. I attended their training today and they are amazing trainers, very sociable and likable – they connected so well with the trainees. I listened to the income generation activity training in particular which was very simplified to meet the needs of the learners.” It was very beneficial to have Megan and Nicole provide assistance to the Ministry of Health as well as interact with the PATHWAYS scholars.
We had our first donor luncheon on June 13, 2015 at the Sweet Potato Café. The lunch was planned in association with a visit from our Vice President, Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, and his wife Joy Mbaabu. It was a rare opportunity for our long-supportive donors to meet the people who actually ensure that PATHWAYS is running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Dr. Mathiu welcomed the gathering and offered his insights on several of the scholars who have been sponsored by the donors. He made the important point that while unemployment of recent college graduates is approximately 40%, 100% of the PATHWAYS scholars are employed. This, he explained, is due to the leadership training provided by PATHWAYS. This visit also coincided with our 10th year anniversary as a non-profit. Thus, we were eager to hear the thoughts of the donors as to how PATHWAYS can improve and become sustainable in the next 10 years. Several good ideas were offered and our plan is to create a 10-year roadmap for the future of PATHWAYS with the goal of self-sustainability. We are extremely fortunate to have such a committed and supportive group of donors, and you have our sincere appreciation. Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, Joy Mbaabu, Angie Gust, Tom Gordon (bottom row), Scott Groussman, Jessica Brooks, Mark Light, Donna Groussman, Megan Light, Dr. Stuart Zola (top row). A separate lunch was planned with Ronnie Jowers (center) who could not make the official luncheon. Thank you for all of your support Ronnie!
PATHWAYS LEADERSHIP FOR PROGRESS celebrated our 10-year anniversary on May 30-31, 2015 at Stedmak Gardens in Karen, Kenya. The sessions for this milestone event were held on a boat out in the middle of a lake- a new experience for many of us. It was an amazing celebration, planned entirely by a dedicated team of scholars and facilitated by our very own Shadrack Shitseswa. All the current scholars and many alumni were in attendance. The atmosphere was celebratory and the program was filled with a diverse range of topics. These included training on income generation to further empower community members,
sharing cultural traditions to improve understanding among scholars, a presentation, organized by alumnus Michael Murigi, on Kiva Zip as PATHWAYS will be a partner with that organization in line with our strong interest in providing microloans, and a discussion of what to do in the event of a terrorist attack in light of the attack at Garissa College.
A highlight was the recognition of scholar’s achievements in the last year. Justus Salach, Hussein Abdhallah and Shadrack Shitseswa received the highest awards for their project progress and levels of communication. Marylyn Nyabuti and Eunita Akim won the Innovation Award for their efforts to mentor young girls to stay in school. Alumnus Shelly Okumu provided an anniversary cake that was delicious and beautiful. Team building activities included a tug of war, driving the bumper cars and flying on the swings. Laughter pervaded the entire resort.
This atmosphere portends a bright future for PATHWAYS.
Another of the highlights of the celebration was a heartfelt reading of a poem written especially for the occasion by Hussein Adhallah. Thank you Hussein, we are looking forward to working together as a group to making the next 10 years even better.
10 Years by Hussein Abdhallah
10 years ago Hope, in the name of PATHWAYS, trans versed space and time from America to Kenya, to make a dream come true.
Truth be told it came like serenity, and took away the bad days. 10 years ago…
10 years of compassion and sacrifice and service. 10 years.
10 years of passion, empathy and giving. 10 years.
10 years of dreaming, foreseeing, striving, actualizing, 10 years.
10 years of building, mentoring, lecturing, and advising.
10 years of realizing…
10 years of materializing…
10 years of a selfless hand reaching out, warming up to our ambitions,
10 years she built us bridges to link us to our potential,
10 years ago and today we went to school,
10 years ago and today we earned a degree,
10 years ago and today I take honor and pleasure standing
before this beautiful congregation.
This is a brief reminder to you all, a missive to confirm your bravery,
a statement to acknowledge your success.
A word-play of some sort, to play out your praise and mention about the vivid hard work.
A note of appreciation; a mention of the obvious truism that with the true intention and correct amount of effort, we can be anything we set out to be.
As brothers, mothers, fathers, friends and sisters, mentors, guiders, tutors, light up in my heart some dazzling flame of motivation.
You are all heroes in this episode of our life. I extol the allegiance you have employed to your studies…the steadfastness you have maintained in effecting positive-change at those various communities, and if you ask Barbara Coloroso, or even ask Deb herself here, she will acknowledge that you said what you meant, and you meant what you said, and you did what you said you would do… and what’s more? Hard work, as it were, is only fully and fairly reciprocated with good results.
I am compelled to remark that in the wave of heat of challenges, and the ferocious wind of adversity, you held still to your ground; not faltering like many did. Rather, diligence and industry has tended to leap you out from your frog-ponds.
Because you never gave up and gave in, you indeed are worthy of thanks giving.
My humble plea to myself and you all is that, let us not dessert the Pathways path, because as it is crystal clear now, this has been the high road to all of us, many of us. Let us take up this heritage and own it, maybe it is our destiny.