Petals Improvements

by Richard Smith Oct 2011

Improved Kitchen Stoves and Cooking PotsPetals School cooking staff were working in undesirable conditions with a smoke-filled room and inefficient stoves. Jared and I visited Migori Boys School kitchen to find out how they feed 500 students. The headmaster knew of Petals by its academic reputation and was happy to help. We got the names of contactors and arranged for two new cooking stoves to be built. The new stoves are fuel efficient and have an independent chimney. The large pots fit inside the four inch wide cement walls with a small fire door at the bottom.

 Petals New Land Purchase crop irrigationThe new land that was purchased is good fertile land but too flat to allow the rain water to drain off. There were also several large termite hills and some trees that needed to be removed. We found an agricultural consultant to take on the job of clearing the land ,leveling the hills, eradicating the weeds, ditching the field, and as soon as possible planting a crop. In stark contrast to other parts of Kenya ,the Petals area is getting too much rain. The corn cannot be harvested, dried, and the new field can’t be planted. This is putting Petals in a financial bind because they rely on the crops to feed the children and now will need to purchase corn and beans.

Meeting with Honorable John Pesa, Migori's Member of ParliamentI had the great opportunity to meet with the Honorable Mr Pesa, Member of Kenya Parliament. Mr Pesa is the area’s equivalent to a United States senator. Mr Pesa is well aware of Petals and its academic accomplishments in the area because he, himself, was an orphan and is the product of such a school. We had a very candid conversation about the whole Ngchoni area and Petals role in it. One exciting subject we discussed was the possibility of bringing electricity to the area. There is a very real possibility that Petals could have electricity in about three to four years and we should start to plan accordingly. The cost to bring the school’s wiring up to regular electrical standards is approximately $5000.

The Board of Directors of Petals. We discussed a wide range of issues including the responsibilities of the Board as Petals continues to grow. We discussed the importance of transparency and open communication.

Academically, Petals is a leader in the district. It’s reputation for academic excellence is growing.

Petals Sewing Academy, established July 2011

It was wonderful to be able to work with our sewing students this summer! There are 3 classes that meet each day. They were very proud to have their pictures taken in the uniforms that they made to wear during class! –Merrie Harrison

Note: The Petals Sewing Academy is an American youth-inspired, youth-invested idea. It is the first vocational training initiative for the school community. The first students are from the local community, many are mothers learning a trade skill for the first time. Students pay a registration fee to enroll. Phase I ($1K) is completed with two new machines, set up materials, and a trainer teacher. Phase II ($2K) will require additional funds for the need of a zig zag machine, additional materials, continuous training (at least six months) of a trainer specific for the Academy, and completion of a building to foster protection and production. Phase III ($1K) will begin the full operation of the Petals Sewing Academy for production, profit, and giving back to Petals School. As the Academy progresses, Petals students will learn about sewing and the fruitage of this economic enterprise on the campus.

Update – Principians in Africa

We are enjoying ourselves in Nairobi. We have been able to visit all of the churches and societies here and are happy to report that each one is growing. The testimony meetings have been particularly inspiring. We have been busy researching how education works here in Kenya, as well as better understanding everything that goes into buying land and then building on it. We have been the grateful recipients of very generous Christan Scientists, who have helped us with everything from cell phones to finding the right Matatu. We were happy to get to see Jared when he visited Nairobi a week ago and are very much looking forward to spending some time at Petals once our work is done here in Nairobi.

All the best,
Kenny D’evelyn & Wes Fleming

Kilimanjaro Climb

19,340 feet is no easy feat. One member of the group of three successfully made it all the way to the Rooftop of Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro. The climb was a great success for all members that attempted the trek, even if only one victoriously stood at the top. The lessons learned about God, community, and friendship can never be taken away from all involved. Guided by Peter Mtuy and his team of helpful porters, the group of three successfully reached the destination of the Arrow Glacier campsite before it became apparent that one member needed to be led down the mountain to recover from the change in altitude.

Mount Kilimanjaro is an amazing place. The beauty that can be found on the mountain is difficult to describe in words and even difficult to capture on film, although each member tried while being armed with digital cameras and video. Some of the highlights included deep-fried french toast, dependable clear morning and night skies, a full-moon to light the night sky, spectacular views of the Tanzanian landscape, good camaraderie with our porters, and the opportunity to share Principia.

We have appreciated everyone’s prayerful support and hope that you will continue to support the Christian Science schools in Africa even though not all of us peaked the mountain.

Love to all,

Brian, Kenny, and Wes

Climbathon on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Brian McCauley, Dean of Enrollment Management at Principia College and The Daycroft School Foundation, have teamed up to raise money and awareness for five CS related schools in Africa.

Brian and two Principia graduates, Kenny D’Evelyn and Wes Fleming are leaving January 15th for Africa where they will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the five CS related schools. Brian will then interview prospective Principia applicants.

Please support these amazing schools by donating to the Climbathon!

All money raised by the climbathon will be distributed to the five schools through the Daycroft Foundation*. Please make checks payable to:
Daycroft Foundation
Memo: Kilimanjaro
1117 High Ridge Rd.
Stamford, CT 06905

* No donated money will be used for trip or climbing costs. The school visits and interviews are officially sanctioned Principia functions. The Climbathon is not.

Brian McCauley with Petals of Africa students - 2010

Kenny D'Evelyn with Petals' first graduating class

Petals of Africa at Principia College Pan African Conference

On October 23, 2010, Jared Ambugo, Board Member, Lillian Baraza, Head of School, and Fred Baraza, Administrator were invited to be the closing speakers for the 11th Annual Pan African Conference at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. The focus of the conference was the progress of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in Africa to be reached by 2015. Ngochoni Petals of Africa School was represented as being one of the examples of striving to reach those goals. The speakers were introduced by Darline Ambugo, daughter of Jared and Senior at Principia College. Each speaker highlighted how Petals School is helping to end poverty and hunger; offering universal education, promoting gender equality, improving child and maternal health, combating HIV/AIDs, practicing environmental sustainability, and engaged in global partnering. Visit for more information on this student-run conference.

Petals Friends - Oct. 2010

Shown in the photograph is Richard and Kathy Smith, San Juan Society, CA; Fred and Lillian Baraza; their son, Calvense Baraza, and Kathy Glanz, Petals Consortium.

Trophies awarded to Ngochoni Petals of Africa School

Dear Friends,

Receive much greetings from all of us.

Our school is on holiday until Sept. 6th but grade 8 will come back on 9th Aug. for holiday tuition.
Dear friends, before our school closed, our school and the community at large was filled with joy and everyone came running as they joined the staff and the pupils in celebrating the 4 trophies that were awarded to Ngochoni Petals of Africa School during this year’s District Education Day held in Migori Primary ground on Tuesday 27th July 2010 for our outstanding performance in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary and Secondary Education.

The school managed to top in Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and being the best overall in the District. It was also the third best and fourth position in Kiswahili and English respectively. Attached here are some of the photos taken during the same.

With much love,
Jared Ogega, Board Member

Bridge progress – May 2010

Dick Smith traveled to Petals in May 2010. He reported that the bridge is still a major issue as it floods. This is an updated photo of the water receding. Although the government still has fixing to do, we are grateful for the progress that has been made with the bridge.

The Bridge – May 2010


Tim Heinemann’s August 2009 trip to Petals

In August 2009, Tim Heinemann traveled to Ngochoni to visit the Petals of Africa School. The following photos are from Tim’s trip.

Bridge Progress

Petals Solar Panel Installation

Petals Outdoor Hallway Abloom

Bricks in Prep for Secondary School

Police Station Entry

COOP Trust Training

Petals Bikes purchased by Melody\’s Fundraising project

Ngochoni Women\’s Group

Additional photos from 2009 Youth Mission Trip

Boys soccer team

Girls Soccer Team

Petals Boys Soccer Match Mar 09

Petals Lunch Block Needing Completion

Petals Lunch Area - Needs for Sitting