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Issue 11-2 (part 2)

"Voluntourism Journey to Kenya" Letter

We would love to get to know you better …
Won’t you join us on a Voluntourism Journey to Kenya !
September 29 – October 9, 2012

David and I will leave from Chicago on Friday, September 28 and land in Nairobi on Saturday, the 29th. The 10-day experience will end on October 9 when many of us will fly back to the States.

Will you prayerfully consider whether this opportunity is God’s idea for you?

The voluntourism program, a careful balance of focused tourism and hands-on interaction with our African friends, is open for registration. We are looking for men and women who can contribute their skills to the on-going growth of Global Bag Project Kenya. If you have any of the below skills, we would welcome your help.

• Experience with the tourism industry
• Sewing expertise
• Marketing ideas
• Fundraising experience
• A background in business; entrepreneurial instincts; marketing ideas
• Simple construction abilities
• Love of shopping (particularly in tourist markets!)
• Previous exposure in developing countries
• Pragmatic problem-solving capabilities
• Relational gifts
• Joy about cross-cultural diversity
• Writing, social networking, and/or photography skill-sets

The Global Bag Project workers in Kenya are widows with HIV/AIDS or single mothers without husbands to help them raise their children. We cannot emphasize how important it is for compassionate men to come alongside our friends and demonstrate concern and support in tangible ways.

GBP seamstresses in Kibera
Global Bag Project seamstresses in Kibera slums

GBP seamstresses at Africa Int'l
Global Bag Project seamstresses at Africa Int'l University

We will be housed in the beautiful Kijiji guest houses at Africa International University (in the suburb of Karen outside Nairobi) where GBP Kenya has friends, an office and a sewing room. We’ll take most of our meals on campus in the Kijiji dining room. This will allow us optimum time to meet and get to know our African colleagues on the campus grounds and in the nearby Kibera Slums and to do volunteer work at this site.

Kijiji guest house
Kijiji Guest House

The tourism part of our journey will include:
Visiting long-established development projects such as Amani Ya Juu (the mother of all sewing centers starting with a handful of refugees now employing over 80 workers). Kazuri Beads, begun by Englishwoman Susan Woods over 30 years ago, which now employs over 300 workers and ships products all over the world. We will visit the artist colony at Kitengela Glass where the motto is “Nothing Is Wasted” (it certainly isn’t). This is a visually stunning experience. Trust us!

Kitengela Glass Artist Colony Art
Kitengela Glass Artist Colony Art

Imaginative building on Kitengela compound
Imaginative building on Kitengela compound

We’ll toss in some history—tea at Lake Naivasha Country Club in the Rift Valley for a taste of British Colonialism, lunch at a working tea farm beneath the Ngong Hills, and end with a two-day, two-night safari in the Maasai Mara during the remarkable migration season as thousands of zebra and wildebeests migrate back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Believe us, this is a sight to behold, and for some, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

On safari in Nairobi, Kenya -- spotting lions
On safari in Nairobi, Kenya—spotting lions

The Serena Safari Lodge
The Serena Safari Lodge

The volunteer part of the journey will include:
- “Flipping” houses for a couple of seamstresses who need a little neighborly help; this will entail simple improvements to make a few homes more habitable for these families.
- Making décor improvements in some of the guest rooms in Kijiji. This will entail hands-on work, shopping in the roadside markets for furniture upgrades and decorations, and paying to have the rooms repainted. Year-round guests who stay at Kijiji often buy bag products from the curio shop or sewing room.
- Working in the sewing rooms to create new bag product prototypes and teaching additional sewing skills that need to be learned.
- Attending church at Nairobi Chapel.
- Shopping for fabrics in the Somali fabric market or in the tourist markets for sewing projects.

The sewing room in Amani Ya Juu
The sewing room in Amani Ya Juu

Tent Church at Nairobi Chapel
Tent Church at Nairobi Chapel

The Somali fabric market
The Somali fabric market

Cost of the trip:
$3500 land fee, not including airfare. This is a high-end fee, including costs for the safari, and a stipend (which you will be receipted for as a donation) to capitalize buying fabrics, contributing to emergency funds, purchasing sewing machines, and purchasing décor for the Kijii guest-house rooms. We are negotiating an alternate safari event, hoping to reduce the fee by around $1000.

Registering for the trip:
If you wish to join us, we need you to inform us by April. This intent requires a $500 down-payment. If you choose to cancel, the $500 can only be returned if you cancel by August 15. After that date, down-payments will have been made to venders, and refunds will unfortunately not be possible. After April, we will make air-travel plans in case there is a group that wants to leave and return to Chicago together.

Our voluntourism journey will actually begin in May with twice-monthly conference training calls.
This way you will be acquainted and informed before landing in Kenya.

When you register, we will send detailed information, a firm list of recommended reading, further explanation about the donation stipend included in your fee, alternate safari event to cut costs, Web links for doing your own research (all the necessary travel information that comes with a journey of this kind—vaccinations, visas, etc.).

Contact Karen Mains via e-mail at or our Mainstay Ministries office phone (for further questions and a live voice) at 630-293-4500. Checks can be made payable to Global Bag Project and mailed to Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187.

I can’t think of anything more wonderful than including people we love in this exciting, high-impact growth event.

David and Karen Mains


The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to

Karen Mains

Karen Mains

“Will you prayerfully consider whether this opportunity is God’s idea for you?”

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