In 2010, a few teachers from Samburu secondary school approached Kenya Keys with a plea. The cook at the school, who everyone loved, had just lost her husband to AIDS. And she was HIV positive, facing the reality that she might also die and leave her five children as orphans. She pled with the teachers, could they please see if Kenya Keys would agree to sponsor her oldest son, Mbaraka? If she had the simple assurance that her first born could get an education, she could feel at peace with her fate.
Her son was in secondary (high) school, and his academic records were not impressive. He was a D studentùnot one that would usually be considered for sponsorship. But his mother kept pleading. And the teachers kept pleading in her behalf.
The Kenya Keys sponsorship committee finally relented. But now they needed to find a sponsor.
As it turned out, civil engineer Ken Wightman and his wife Patty were coming to spend three days in the Taru area seeing Kenya Keys projects. Ken was able to meet MbarakaÆs mother and tell her that he would be willing to sponsor her son. Nowhere could there be found a more joyful mother!
And what do you know? That son of hers who had been a D student suddenly caught fire. Hope is an amazing thing! Mbaraka climbed higher and higher in his class rankings. Two years later he graduated as the top student in his class and the number one graduate of all Kenya Keys students!
He taught as a volunteer for Kenya Keys, inspiring the younger kids, then he left for university to get a degree in education. Ken Wightman stayed with him, cheering him every step of the way. Ken even sent a laptop to Mbaraka, helping him even more.
Mbaraka has soared. Ken has loved watching it happen. What could be more fun?