Becky Mackintosh: Author, Speaker, and Mom of Seven
“Do you want to go to Kenya?”
That’s the question my friend Heidi Totten, founder of non-profit 100 Hundred Humanitarians International asked me in 2015. “Duh! YES! Sign me up!” My first trip to Kenya was in November of 2016, it was life changing to the core! Every day, I said “My husband Scott would love this!” Upon returning home, I quickly signed us up to go together with Heidi in 2017. I was confident that once Scott met the people, took part in the projects, saw hundreds of African animals that he’d be hooked! And I was right!! Scott and I now lead the Share the Love team –we utilize his construction skills; therefore, we are called the “Building Team.” We build buildings and build relationships as we work side by side the people in the communities.
One of 100 Humanitarians rule of thumb is “Families in Kenya don’t need a handout, they need a hand up.” Therefore, we go a bit deeper by joining hands and teaching each other. We teach families how to leverage their resources through economic development and self-reliance. They teach us about love, gratitude, simplicity, and joy.
Our first year as Team Leads, Scott and I led a team of fourteen. Our main project that trip was to build a Training Center made from earth bags in a remote village in Nkareta. (Earthbags are sandbags only filled with dirt.) The Training Center would be used as a sewing center and a mentoring gathering place for literacy and other self-reliance skills. Upon our arrival the foundation for the Training Center had been dug and the foundation laid. Our team divided into groups and eagerly went right to work; digging dirt, filling the bags, stapling, and transporting the bags to the building site where a group of men set the bags in their proper place where they were leveled and secured with a line of barbed wire to secure them in place.
We worked tirelessly for days. It was so rewarding to see the progress and each day more and more villagers showing up to help. When our time in Kenya had come to an end, the villagers continued working on the Training Center. As it neared completion another team fundraised for sewing machines and trained the women how to sew! The final touches of painting the inside and outside of Training Center was saved for our Share the Love February 2020 expedition team. It was breathtaking and rewarding to see the project from start to finish.
The Training Center has been a life changing financial recourse for their community. The women are able to sew and sell school uniforms to neighboring schools which provides them with the needed funds to send their children to school, which brings life changing possibilities.
So I ask you, “Do you want to go to Kenya?”