Kent Good Times Dispatch
Kent School teachers to ride for orphanage
May 30, 2008
By: Kathryn Boughton
No Limits Bike Ride 2008 Blog
It is a long way from the cool, green campus of
Kent School to the environs of Arusha, Tanzania. In Kent there is
privilege, ready access to advanced education and a promising future. In
Arusha, for many unwanted children, life is short and brutal.
But the Living Water Children Center, founded in
2003 by the Kimaro family, is working to give those unfortunate children
a chance for a better life, one filled with loving support and an
Anza-Amen Kimaro, founder and director, explained
the genesis of the center on the agency's Web site. He said that in 1998
he encountered a boy in "a very desperate condition." Talking to the boy
he realized he was an orphan living on the streets of Arusha and took
him home to his family. That encounter opened Mr. Kimaro's eyes to the
plight of many children in the region who are orphaned or abandoned by
their families and society.
"The experience of staying with this lovely boy
touched our lives and we started thinking about how many unlucky
orphaned children were living under miserable conditions," he wrote on
his Web site. "... The number of orphans is increasing in different
parts of the Arusha region and the major cause ... is the HIV/AIDS
pandemic. ... Some children have nowhere to go and are in urgent need of
a new family where they can be brought up. [Some] mothers throw children
away right after birth. Such children end up living in the streets, if
they survive at all."
Most of the orphaned children have no access to
education or health care. They are often abused physically and sexually
and are rejected by their extended families and society at large. The
Kimaros decided to do something to change this, founding their center to
house and educate 33 orphans, ages 2 to 15. Another 25 children from the
neighborhood attend the school daily.
The center is entirely founded through private
donations and is assisted by help from American supporters, including
educators who help with the children's instruction. Last summer one of
those instructors was Robert Diehl, a second-year math teacher at Kent
School. "The two and a half weeks spent there was a life-changing
experience for me," he said. "The students in the orphanage blew me away
with their desire to learn and to 'better themselves' with schooling.
Although we were adults volunteering, they were their own family. They
took care of themselves, but they welcomed us into their lives."
He spoke of one young man, Emanuel, who had
suffered severe head injuries in a car accident. "He's beautiful," Mr.
Diehl said. "Emanuel is missing a piece of his skull right now and the
Kimaros are trying to get an operation for him. I'm a math teacher and
he loves math. One afternoon, for two hours straight, I made up problems
and he was solving them like it was the greatest thing he could
Mr. Diehl said that when the family opened the
center it never dreamed that in a short time their home and building
would not be able to accommodate the growing need to accept more
children. To meet that need, the family located a five-acre parcel of
land in Arusha and was able to purchase it through private donations.
Now funds are being raised for a new, larger school.
That is where Mr. Diehl hopes Americans will help.
On June 6, he and two other friends will begin a 3787-mile bicycle trek
from Yorktown, Va., to San Francisco, Calif., to spread awareness of the
center and to raise funds for the school. Along the way the riders will
give presentations at schools, churches and any other organizations that
cares to listen. The riders hope to raise $50,000.
"We're really excited and want to raise as much
money as we can," said Mr. Diehl. "We have about $8,000 right now. We
have a poster board and Power Point presentation and we hope to speak to
many groups along the way.
Mr. Diehl said the idea for the ride came from
Samantha Mangum, also a second-year teacher at Kent School. Ms. Magnum
suffered a near-fatal automobile accident and during her recovery set
goals for herself when she regained her health. "Climbing Kilimanjaro
was the first goal she ticked off," he recounted. "After two and a half
weeks at the Living Waters Children Center, she said she found peace
there. Those children helped restore peace and faith within her and she
decided what better way to honor them then to spread the word about the
center and to raise money for it."
The young teachers are combining Ms. Mangum's
second goal, a bicycle trip across the U.S. with the fund-raising
effort. "She asked me to join her because I had volunteered there," he
reported, "but she is the sparkplug."
Cheryl Setchell, yet again a second-year Kent
School teacher, will be the third rider. Driving the support vehicle on
the first 11 days of the trip will be Mr. Diehl's mother, Sharon, and a
fourth second-year Kent School teacher, Jesse Minneman. Laura and
Garrison Smith, with their three children, will take over the support
vehicle for the second 10-days, with Mr. Garrison, Kent School's ecology
teacher, riding with the core team. For the final and longest leg of the
journey, Ms. Mangum parents, Roger and Mollie Mangum of San Antonio,
Tex., will drive the vehicle.
The group will camp along the way and has gotten
food donations from a variety of sources, including Davis IGA in Kent.
Cannondale is supplying biking equipment, as is the Bicycle Tour
Company in Kent.
"Now we want to the spread word and hopefully
people can give to these children," concluded Mr. Diehl.
Those who wish to send donations can send them to Living Water Children
Centre Foundation (Tax ID 26-201358) located at 401 East 34th Street,
Apartment S25 in New, NY 10016. Please note on your check that it is for
the "No Limits" initiative. For more information about the center go to