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Wanna dig in?  We have a lot of information to share about our project.  If you have questions, click on “Contact Us” above, and we will be glad to answer as best we can.

[sections][section title=”How does the project work?”]

We do two things, primarily.

First, we train teams of puppeteers to perform the curriculum. They tour affected areas putting on shows at schools, churches and community centers. We send in an advance crew to setup the gig, and we have a follow up crew that survey people in the area to gauge results, later.

Second, we make a simple “out of the box” kit version of our curriculum available to other groups who want to perform our program on their own. We provide a training video in the kit and optional hands-on training at our offices.

[/section] [section title=”How does performance team aspect work?”]

3 puppeteers perform at one or two schools per day.  At present time we have two fully trained teams of three.  As financial support changes we adjust the number of teams we mobilize.

We collect data and run follow up visits to the areas our program is presented to track results and information retention.

Then we make adjustments, and release updated programs, script changes, etc when results are evaluated.

[/section][section title=”What is in the curriculum kit?”]

Other relief and medical organizations can acquire a kit for a donation price that covers the cost. Donors can subsidize copies of the kit for qualified organizations that apply to receive it.

The kit contains puppets, teaching materials, pre-recorded shows, teacher notes, follow up materials, and an instructional DVD. Optional kit upgrades include stage equipment and audio amplification systems suitable for rural environments.

[/section][section title=”So what is the scale of this project?”]

The project is scaleable, and we adjust according to funding. To get a quick idea, here are some round numbers to help you understand potential and scope:

5 teams of 3 puppeteers each, touring around Central Province, can realistically teach about 50,000 people per month.

That’s about half a million people who could be taught in a year’s time by our in-house performance teams when funding is adequate.

With additional administration staff this model could reach nearly two times as many people.

Additionally, we make the whole program available to any one else who wants to do it on their own.  So groups who want to do our program themselves, can simply buy a kit from our online store, and within a few days of dedicated rehearsal they will be able to present the program themselves. As a result, the top end of our potential impact is unknown.

[/section][section title=”How does the whole program run, logistically?”]

We send a woman and a man to the target area.  Together or separately they approach area chiefs, school administrators and church leaders and present a proposal for a visit from our team.  If the leaders of the area invite our group, we schedule a visit by our performance team for a month later.  The man and woman may present a sample of the program as an advance promotion.

The advance staff also visits the local medical clinics and aid organizations and make sure they are able and willing to cooperate with us. We insure that the local area can handle the extra attention they will receive as a result of our program.  Our advance team networks and makes sure the community can adequately follow up and act on the information they receive from our program.

Next, one of our teams arrives and presents as many as 3 presentations during the day.  Ideally one at the primary school, one at the secondary school and then a third presentation at a public gathering place where adults will attend.

A single follow up occurs a month later, in person.  Follow up occurs again at semi regular intervals for one year.  The follow up visits are mainly for research purposes, but may include distribution of follow up information, literature, and age appropriate quizzes.

There is room for expansion on our follow up strategy. Staff, and ultimately funding, dictate the scope of follow-up.

[/section][section title=”What do you want people to do after they have seen your show?”]

There is a call to action at the end of our program, and people are encouraged to start:
A) Treating children with HIV as accepted members of society.
B) Understanding that abstinence, faithfulness, and condom use are the #1 ways to stop the spread of the disease.
C) Choosing to give birth at the clinic to prevent mother-to-child transmission
D) Taking responsibility for their health, their family’s health, and their community’s health.
E) Accepting HIV medications they would otherwise be too timid to collect
F) Getting tested and counseled on a regular basis.

[/section][section title=”How do donations translate to impact?”]


As of 2016, assuming we have the vehicles and equipment paid for and in running order, the actual base cost of the program is $85 per school.  Including overhead and the costs of upkeep of equipment, the cost of education is just under one dollar per person that we educate.

The beauty of it, also, is that when the operation is running, with minimal additional costs our educational shows can be refitted and re-recorded to present info on Water Born Illness, TB, community violence and other topics.

[/section][section title=”Where do you work?”]

We are based in Nairobi, Kenya. We focus first on Central Province and work our way west to the highly affected areas near Kisumu. As time and money allow we expand to areas of Kenya that are harder to reach.

Phase III of the project would have us setting up short term volunteers from American universities to come in and tour with our teams all over East Africa.

[/section][section title=”What language is the curriculum in?”]

English and Kiswahili

As time and money allow we translate into local languages according to need. Language groups are chosen by cross referencing rate of infection with population of native speakers.

[/section][section title=”What is your plan for making this sustainable?”]

We hire and train local people. Every aspect from office work to performance training is mentored. Our goal is to put ourselves out of a job, and we will leave Kenya once the program is capable of being run by passionate Kenyans who can do the work well.  Partnerships with local organizations is key.

[/section][section title=”What does HAND UP mean?”]

• “Hand Up” is a call to action.

Who will put their hand up to volunteer to go get tested?
Who will put their hand up and vow to treat a child with HIV with respect?
Who will put their hand up and volunteer to help our cause?

• Putting our “Hand Up” is what we do whenever we perform puppetry.

• As a charity it reminds us that we are focused on education, we give a “Hand Up” and not a “Hand Out.”

• “Hand Up” is also an acronym for Healthy Africa: a New Directive Using Puppets.

[/section][section title=”Why are you doing this?”]

Well, first, because we ran ample tests in PHASE I and it was determined that there was a need. And second there were plenty of people in Kenya that communicated that they wanted us to do this work.

The need for “breaking the silence” on HIV/AIDS is great.  Since we specialize in teaching and performing puppetry – using this art for for tackling the most taboo topics does the most good.


We love puppetry.  We love helping people.  So, as long as our project is done well, with proper oversight, and is based on results and not emotions, then we can really make an impact.  It’s about meeting human needs.  So far so good.


We use rod arm, wide mouth puppets to teach.  We put ’em behind a stage, and together along with a human presenter who stands out front, the puppets perform sketches.  Here you learn more, a LOT more, about the concept.

[section title=”Can puppets REALLY help?”]

Yes. In this part of the world you can’t just go and expect people to stand around while you tell them about human sexuality. You can hold a class, but maybe no one will show up. You can put up a mobile clinic, but many people don’t want to be seen going in or out of it. Even well respected pastors (over 80% of the population is Christian) who are brave enough to talk about the subject find that people won’t stick around once the subject gets breached. Heck, just SAYING the word “condom” for an English speaking East African can be very uncomfortable for him. We’ve seen it.

So puppets? Well, because they are associated with entertainment, they aren’t ‘real’, they can get away with saying things in public that you and I otherwise wouldn’t.  And, a lot of people have never seen a puppet in person in Kenya.  So, they get a lot of attention.

Additionally, storytelling is one of the single most effective ways to get someone to change their mind on a subject. People are defensive when you just tell them a “fact” or try to correct them on a mistruth. But lessons woven into stories are much more likely to be assimilated into belief.

So we have this thing, where you can go into a village and start a puppet show, and everyone will come watch. Like, literally everyone. People listen, even though the puppets are addressing taboo topics.  It’s kind of magical.

[section title=”Which demographics appreciate puppets the most?”]

We have anecdotal evidence collected during PHASE I of this project.

Here is what we observed:

• Kids, of course, enjoy the puppet shows and pay close attention.

• When the popular TV show called “XYZ” comes on TV, people in restaurants, grocery stores, and in their homes, stop and watch the puppets.  It’s really something incredible to be sitting in a small dark restaurant and watch Maasai people stop and turn their heads to watch the puppets tell jokes.

• Our puppeteers performed a show at the German arts center in the CBD of Nairobi, for an audience of middle and upper class twenty-something Kenyans.  It was a bona-fide hit.

• We performed on a televised church service, and the audience of hundreds of adults sat with rapt attention.

• We performed training workshops outdoors, and all ages of people walking by on the nearby street crowded into the yard, uninvited, to gather and watch the puppets, even though we weren’t even doing a show.

• We literally walked into the lobby of two of the largest TV stations in East Africa and simply showed the puppets and asked to get airtime on the popular morning shows.  In each instance, we were granted a 30 minute interviewed scheduled for the same week.  One of the assistants told us “You have a spot on Friday??? I have politicians waiting for months to get airtime, and they pay for spots.  But you walk in with a puppet and you are on in 4 days?  Impossible!”

So, our evidence at current writing is purely anecdotal, but it’s enough to safely say: “Everybody likes puppets.”

[section title=”Are other people doing this in East Africa?”]

Yes! We work with the Kenya Institute of Puppetry Theatre. Their style is much different; their method isn’t the same.  They do however, have excellent puppeteers who we contract to work with us. One of the key differences is that they work on behalf of other organizations doing one-off or short term projects.

Puppet programs that we put together are designed for ANY volunteer to pull off. We believe anyone can be trained to do this work.  Additionally, our deployment method is quite different from anything happening in East Africa right now – and our show creation and implementation is novel on this continent. We can perform a full program with only 3 workers. When we put together 5 teams, doing several presentations a day, we can blitz entire small cities in a week’s time.

Plus, you don’t have to be an actor to pull this off, and you don’t have to speak the same language to do a complete play.  Our plays are pre-recorded.  There are particular advantages inherent in puppetry that make it suitable for travel.

[section title=”Have you ever done this before?”]

Yes!  Just not in Kenya.   We have people in our project who have done presentations in dozens of countries, teaching other topics.  In Cambodia our director helped develop shows that taught water borne illness with great success.  Started in 1999, the Prime Minister of Cambodia requested for the program to be presented in all schools in Cambodia.  The Cambodian project also grew to include video and AIDS education as well.  www.rdic.org uses the puppetry skills to teach health education even to this day.

[section title=”Who else teaches with puppetry like this?  It seems unusual.”]

You’d be surprised.

Fire departments and police departments have puppet education in the USA.  Imagine, in counties all over the USA there are men with badges and mustaches teaching kids about fire safety and stranger danger.  These guys put on puppet shows when they do presentations at Elementary Schools.

The National Crime Prevention Council hired our program developers to create the curriculum for the McGruff the Crime Dog puppet program and graded materials that went to thousands of US schools.

Over 100,000 churches around the world use puppet shows to share key spiritual ideas, to help memorize scripture, and learn parables and moral stories about compassionate living.

There is a long history of live puppet shows designed to teach standard and extra-curricular topics in schools.  It isn’t as widespread as it could (or should) be, because of lack of puppetry training.  There aren’t a lot of people like us who teach puppetry to educators.  We’ve already taught over 20,000 teachers worldwide.

So although you may never have experienced puppet education yourself, you can be sure that it is indeed something that takes places worldwide, and with great impact.

[section title=”I heard Sesame Street has a puppet with HIV on TV South Africa, is that like what you do?”]

Well, in a sense.  We certainly use a story narrative to address issues that face kids who are born with HIV.  But that is only one of our topics.  Our show is segmented with a main driving theme that runs through it.  So it is sort of like a variety education TV show. The difference, of course, is that our program is shown live, in person.

TV is for people with electricity. And no doubt puppets on TV in Africa are big hits.  One of the top shows in Kenya is a satirical puppet show that mostly covers politics.  We are able to do live presentations.  Which is a pretty substantial difference in terms of who can learn from it.


We get a lot of questions about using magical effects, mostly from Africans, and to some extent, Americans.  Here you will get a sneak behind the scenes and learn about the effectiveness of using a visual art form to teach basic ideas.

[section title=”How does magic work?  Isn’t that dangerous in Africa?”]

Magic is tricky!  While there indeed is quite the stigma attached to magic, especially in Africa, it can be a valuable teaching tool.  But there are a few things that we do to make it acceptable.  First, we don’t call it magic.  We just do it.  Second, we take the time to explain that it is an effect, not a “power.” Third, we don’t put the emphasis on the effect, but on the lesson that is illustrated with the effect.  More on this later.[/section]

[section title=”Is magic real? Is it spiritual?”]

No, magic isn’t “real.”  That is to say it isn’t supernatural or unexplainable.  All magical effects on planet earth are explainable in the concrete natural world.

Nobody in the known universe has ever demonstrated actual supernatural magic.  Sure, there are stories, and plenty of them. There are stories of magicians with great ability to harm and to hex.  There are stories of humble medicine men and shamans with powers to heal and amaze.  However, the exciting truth is this is all trickery.  It’s fake.  What makes it so exciting is how “real” it appears.

Magic is an illusion.  The question “How did that man make that coin disappear in his hand and then make it appear inside that box on the other side of the room?” Is easy to answer.  He didn’t.  He made it LOOK like it disappeared and then materialize in the box on the other side of the room.[/section]

[section title=”How do you do magic?”]

Magic is a learned, practiced skill – not something one is born with or requires belief or use of the supernatural world.  It is a trade skill, not unlike woodworking, shoe-making, or door to door sales.

The best way to learn is to apprentice with another magician. But the local library is a good place to start. There are books, DVDs and online tutorials for most magic tricks. Some people create their own magic tricks by employing the techniques we explain below.


[section title=”My Aunt said she saw a man do ____, it was REAL! How can you explain it?”]

There are unscrupulous people who trade on their secret knowledge of illusion and deception in order to gain power over some people and money from others.  There are also well intentioned “medicine men” who combine magical effects with ancient medicine as a form of “bedside manner” to help people feel better.  The vast majority of magicians use “tricks” for entertainment.   A small, but growing, number of magicians use magic “illusions” to teach.  And that is what we do.[/section]

[section title=”How does magic fit into your program?”]

Magic “illusions” are fantastic tools for metaphor.  In the story of the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” at the end of the story the Grinch had a change of heart.  The writer illustrates that “truth” by saying that the “Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”  That of course, is figurative.  But we all get the idea.  He learned to love more as a result of the events that Christmas.

By using magic, this idea on the written page can now be expressed visually.  When the magician makes a sponge ball grow to triple it’s own size it is a striking revelation to the audience.  By using this effect in story, the audience has a visual to reinforce the figurative idea.  In lecture, the audience has a captivating demonstration to explain a literal, but hard to visualize, concept. There is no language barrier.  It’s quite effective.


[section title=”How does magic work?”]
There are many types of magical effects.  Transformation (a ball tripling in size is a “transformation”) is only one of many concepts that can be illustrated visually using magic.

In the following text we demystify the “magic”.  You will learn that although it isn’t supernatural, it is still quite amazing because of the sheer amount of practice and talent it takes to pull it off in front of an audience.

Most effects can be broken down into the following categories:

Vanish, making something disappear
• An entertainer can make a handkerchief vanish in the palm of his hand.
• An educator can use this to talk about killing germs.

Production, making something appear
• An entertainer could use this category of effects to make birds appear out of thin air.
• An educator can use it to show how a unseen virus can cause very visible and tangible effects on the body.

Penetration, making a solid object go thru another solid object
• An entertainer might use this to make a coin appear to pass through a solid table top.
• An educator could use this effect to teach about unlikely forms of transmission of disease.

Escape, making something release itself from a bind
• An entertainer might use this idea to free himself from a straight jacket.
• An educator can use this effect to perform a metaphor for knowledge and how it can free people from limiting ideas, physical harm, or old ways of thinking.

Levitation, making something rise to defy gravity
• An entertainer might use this concept to make himself appear to float in mid-air.
• An educator might actually scare the crap out of someone and probably shouldn’t use this technique. :^)

Animation, making something move about on its own
• An entertainer could make a handkerchief or table move around his body.
• An educator could illustrate that a fork may contain all kinds of live germs that although unseen, are very alive.

Transposition, making two things swap places
• An entertainer could make a red ball trade places with a blue ball.
• An educator could use this effect to demonstrate the idea that our actions in life can effect our consequences in surprising ways.

Destruction and Restoration, to destroy something and subsequently “fix” it
• An entertainer might use this concept to tear up a newspaper and then suddenly appear to restore it.
• An educator can use this concept to illustrate how symptoms of a disease can go into remission

Transformation, making one object turn into another
• An entertainer could use this skill to make popcorn kernels turn into popped corn.
• An educator could use this effect to represent the passing of time.

Prediction, making a correct statement about future events
• An entertainer employs this concept when he has an audience member think of a number – and that precise number is found to be inside a sealed envelope.
• An educator might use this to begin the discussion about what interesting and surprising things science knows and can predict about human health.[/section]

[section title=”Ok, so how does someone do all those things?”]
How do these effects happen?  Usually the means to make these effects appear to take place is achieved by using the following seven well-rehearsed techniques:

  1. Palm: To hold an object in an apparently empty hand.
  2. Ditch: To secretly dispose of an unneeded object.
  3. Steal: To secretly obtain a needed object.
  4. Load: To secretly move a needed object to where it is hidden.
  5. Simulation: To give the impression that something that hasn’t happened, has.
  6. Misdirection: To lead attention away from a secret move.
  7. Switch: To secretly exchange one object for another.

By using these 7 techniques, and applying them to the numerous effects listed above, a magician can appear to do just about anything!  An educator can do the same, and combine storytelling and visual metaphor into an unforgettable experience that teaches and inspires.[/section]


[section title=”But isn’t there real risk in doing these things in Africa?”]

In parts of Africa, being a “magician” carries some risk.  In some places “magic” is considered a punishable offence.  So, the simplest way to “get away” with it is to simply not label the effects.  Instead, to simply use them in an entertaining and educational context without ever labeling the techniques as “magic.”  That is to say, we never say “I am going to do magic now!” and instead, simply put magic side by side with other teaching techniques.  By framing the effects as an educational demonstration instead of pretending we are delving into the supernatural, we avoid the stigma of “magic” and instead harness the inherent power of visual storytelling.


[section title=”Convince me, why do magic at all?”]

The key to effective education is information retention, and subsequent application of the newly learned knowledge into the real world by the student.

Using storytelling with puppetry and magic is a powerful and creative way to teach ideas.  It is important to us that simple life-saving information is communicated in the most effective and motivating way possible.  Disease is no laughing matter, and by using tools that inspire thoughtful consideration of the presentation, we can be both lighthearted and gravely serious.  It causes discussion.  And its important that people talk about sex and sexually transmitted disease.

It’s actually quite rewarding and effective.  We invite other professional entertainers to contribute to the trove of teachable effects that can be used to teach scientific and social concepts.[/section]


Although we have travelled all over the world and think we have a relatively fair take on things, we certainly don’t think we have absolute answers on anything. In fact, travel kind of makes one wary to give solid answers on any questions, because travel seems to serve to merely demonstrate exactly how wrong we are about our views of the world, over and over.  But we will try our best.  This section is for our American friends back home.

[sections][section title=”What is Africa like?”]

This is a question we hear a lot.  And the answer is a bit touchy.  Africa isn’t a country.  It’s a huge continent and has 54 countries in it.  We work in Nairobi, Kenya.  So asking someone “What is Africa like?” isn’t going to receive a helpful answer.  If you visited Mexico City and someone asked “So, what was North America like?” what would follow would hardly describe life in Anchorage, Alaska.  So let’s break it down a little in the following sections.


[section title="What is East Africa like?"]

East Africa is not really a place that can be defined either.  The UN sorts “East Africa” into 20 territories that are about the same size of the land mass as South America. The Eastern Africa Community, on the other hand, represents only 5 countries.

But still, its like referring to the USA as having two parts, “the South” and “the North”.  After all, New Mexico is in the south, yes, but isn’t considered “The South”, while Virginia certainly isn’t in the South, but considers itself “The Heart Of The South”, and Ohio is in the north, but the southern tip of it is a lot more like the South than it is like the rest of the North, and people from Portland, Oregon often say Texas is in “The South” but Mobile, Alabamans would call Texas “The West” and Texans themselves just call it ‘Texas.’

All this to say, we, here at Project HAND UP, sort of arbitrarily say ‘East Africa’ when we mean “Countries in the EAC that speak English as a primary language.”  Which, by the way are Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.  Head toward the equator and look at the parts between the giant lake and the giant ocean.  That’s a good start!

[section title=”What is Kenya Like?”]

Kenya is the size of Texas.  So again, you can’t visit Marfa and assume that it is like Dallas.  It isn’t.

Geographically speaking, we can tell you that Kenya is a fantastic place.

They have a giant National Park filled with all the animals you imagine there would be, right up against the city limits in Nairobi. Nairobi is a big modern city so you can take in a show at the Imax in the Central Business District just a few minutes after leaving what is essentially the real world version of Jurassic Park.

The other big city is Mombassa.  It’s on the coast of the Indian ocean.  If you want to compare Kenya to Texas, as sort of an arbitrary way to visualize Kenya, you could say Mombassa is like Houston as Nairobi is to Dallas in terms of distance and location.  Although some of the Mombassa beaches are a lot more like Destin, Florida.  Incredible.

The travel from Nairobi to Mombassa is strikingly similar to the nicer landscapes of West Texas.  Pretty flat, short trees, ranches along the highway.  Although the best part is that instead of prairie dogs, you see monkeys.  And off in the distance you may see Zebra or Giraffe as often as you might see the occasional buffalo or longhorn in the American West.

Kenya also includes amazing mountains, swamps, plains, prairies, rock formations, its has almost as much variety as the entire Mountain Time Zone in the USA, east of the rockies.

In spite of being on the Equator, much of Kenya is pretty high altitude, so the climate is like Denver in the summer and fall.  It’s very livable and comfy, though there are days where you wish it would cool off and certainly days when you need a couple layers plus a jacket.

Again, it varies, you really can’t compare Mcallen, TX to Amarillo, TX in the winter.  Same goes for the Maasai Mara and Nakuru in Kenya on any given day.

[section title=”What are people in Kenya like?”]

Wow, this is actually pretty hard.  They do have pretty great smiles.  But other than that, you just can’t generalize.

The best way to generalize humans without being terribly offensive is probably to split them into two really familiar groups that they themselves identify with and often very much like:  The city mouse and country mouse.

The goat herders in Kenya share a lot of the same sensibilities of any other farmer or rancher in the world.  The people in the cities love the pace and the access in the city and have attitudes that are conducive to that environment.

You might be surprised to see a sheep herder with a mobile phone, updating his status on Facebook.  But you’ll get used to it.

So, to paint some broad strokes:
People are the same all over the world in that they appreciate family, look out for their own, and are curious.  A sampling of Kenyans living in the city would be very much like a sampling of Americans living in her cities.  Although it must be said that in 2012 when we met with a group of Kenyans in Nairobi who had spent the last several years living in Dallas, TX they welcomed us by saying “Welcome to the Land of the Living!”  There is an energy there that cannot be denied.

There is a vibrancy and optimism that comes from being in a developing world that is developing right into the age of information and technology.  And Kenyans certainly have that.

There is however, a pretty big difference in generations in Kenya.  People over the age of 35 have very different attitudes than 20 year olds.  Much like in North America there have been generations of people that were taught to be employees, whereas other generations were taught to be creative and entrepreneurs.

Without a doubt, though, the people in Kenya are resilient.  They certainly have it harder, work longer hours, and are much closer to the hardships associated to poverty than people in America.  And they have seen violent civil unrest and desperation.  They are just like you and me, only they have a sparkle of awareness in their eyes that comes from experiences and surroundings that are difficult to bear, and yet they do!

They love cars, football, and talking politics.  They follow international politics as much as local politics, and that is a LOT.

[/section][section title=”What do Kenyans think of Americans?”]

Most Kenyans seem to love Americans.   Generally speaking, Americans who come to Kenya are AID workers who help with education and infrastructure and medical support, or missionaries who build orphanages and churches and befriend the rural people.  There are far fewer American tourists than other “westerners” because its quite a bit more expensive to travel here than it is for people from other continents. So we appear to be very different from the other guests.

The effects of foreign aid and colonialism are, however, very real.  There is a very strong sense that white visitors are here to give things away.  As a result, white people are bombarded with requests to give money, buy things, and give things away virtually every day.

Many people, especially the younger generation, reject this attitude of their fellow Kenyans.  For the most part, the educated and upwardly mobile Kenyans are not interested in handouts so much as they are interested in learning what foreigners can teach them.  They quite literally want a hand up – not a hand out.  This is why aid workers must insist on teaching and training, and not so much on giving things away.

Still, white skin is associated with opportunity, wealth, success, and easy access to these things.

It should be noted that there is also a sense that America is a political “bully” and our military involvement (along with our allies) in Africa is unwelcome.  Kenyans are slow to speak this to foreigners, but the sentiment is there among a portion of their people.

Overall, Kenyans are warm and welcoming and excited to befriend Americans.  Once you visit, it is very hard to leave.  You will be hard pressed to find an American who had anything but a life changing or at least an extremely positive experience in Kenya.

[/section][section title=”What language do Kenyans speak?”]

Most Kenyans speak 3 languages.  First, their mother tongue, which could be 1 of 47 possible languages, second they speak the official languages of Kenya, Kiswahili and English.

Most students who are attending higher education learn a fourth language of their choice, generally a European language.

[/section][section title=”Isn’t it dangerous there? And corrupt?”]
Sure! In places, but Nairobi today is not so much more dangerous than some cities in America in recent years.  New Orleans and Detroit and New York City have had periods in the last few decades that were as dangerous in certain neighborhoods as Nairobi is now.  And yes, it has the nickname “Nairobbery”.  But if you stay smart, pay attention and learn when and where to travel you can get along just fine.

Certain parts of Kenya probably seem a lot like the American West in the 1880s, but its quickly coming around to 2016, leaping ahead in time.

And yes, it is corrupt.  But it probably appears more corrupt than other places because of the lack of infrastructure.  The same scams exist all over the world, and certainly in America, its just that Kenya doesn’t hide it as well.  It also doesn’t have the structure, yet, to deal with it quickly when its time for justice to be served.

The problem exists, like the rest of the world, when there is a large gap in social classes.  Education is hard to get for many, many people.  Money is hard to make for even more.  The balance of power in Kenya is quite lopsided, as is the economy and access to technology and basic services.

A model for a TV commercial could make $1,200 dollars in a day on set. However, the security guard on location may only make $70 in a month, working 12 hour shifts, 6 days, (but often 7) a week.  His rent will cost him $45 a month.  Her rent will probably be $300-$1100.  And gigs like that will be rare.  He will not have running water.  Her running water will be inconsistant and will have days when the tap does not run.  Both will lose power for a few hours on a regular basis.

If you were to lay a map of Washington DC overtop a map of Nairobi, the distance from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building in DC would be the distance from Nairobi’s most modern skyscraper to one of the largest urban slums on planet earth.

And yes, the traffic does suck.  There is no other way to say it.  It’s like Seattle plus Los Angeles, crammed into Providence.

But the people are great, and we are happy to serve, assist, and train up educators as Kenya joins the developed world.
[/section][section title=”How much is a 4 egg spanish omelete?”]
We have done extensive research on this.
If one was to walk 1 mile from the outskirts of the city, to its center, you could expect to find a 4 egg spanish omelete in US Dollars for $.95, $2.40, $6,80, and if you went to a place where westerners eat, $12.

This does not include tea.  There is a huge disparity in the economies, and lucky for us, we have no problem eating in the lowest economy.  It’s often the tastiest.

Sleeping and living? We’d prefer to keep it mid-range.  :^)[/section]