Kenyan Starfish: Guest Post by Marilyn Lewis
“One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son”, the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.” Original Story by: Loren Eisley
This story illustrates how I feel about the work being done by Kenya Keys. The problems in Kenya are like the starfish on the beach. They go on for “miles and miles and there are hundreds of them.” Getting caught up in the multitude of problems might paralyze a person into inactivity with the sheer enormity of the task. Instead, by focusing on individuals, Kenya Keys is making a difference as they provide scholarships for secondary and post secondary students.
One of the most beautiful and hopeful things I learned in Kenya while interviewing students is that these sponsored students don’t dream of getting an education so that they can have new cars, the latest in electronic equipment or nice apartments. Each student expressed the desire to receive an education so that they could in turn educate their younger siblings. To continue with the starfish analogy you would have to add that each ‘saved starfish’ then saves several more. The ripple effect of education will eventually change the face of Kenya.
Stephen, a recent Kenya Keys’ sponsored student, graduated from Nairobi University with a degree in economics and statistics. He is the best possible role model and example to the young primary school students in his home village. He confidently shares his story. Inspiring them, he is living, breathing proof that educational success is possible, that the university is not beyond reach and that even a child from an impoverished home can succeed.
My recent trip to Kenya gave me first-hand experience with Kenya Keys. Before my trip I ‘thought’ it was a good organization but after spending time there I ‘know’ the impact Kenya Keys is having on the lives of so many in the Taru, Kenya area. This statement found on the website says it all perfectly: “Education becomes the greatest weapon against hopelessness, the greatest genesis for change and growth.”