Cement Houses

Everyone should live in a small cement house in rural Kenya – for at least a week. Whether kicking and screaming or with jubilant expectation…
everyone needs this experience.

to be greeted with the biggest, most sincere smiles you have ever seen…
to run through the rain to the kitchen, breathe dark, spicey smoke and watch mamma stir the ugali until you smell that it’s ready… Dinner never tasted so good. There is something about eating with your hands in the dark that makes the flavor if ugali and sukamawiki rival gourmet.

Everyone should sleep warmly under thick blankets and a mosquito net, wake to exotic birds and a warm bucket shower in the middle of the yard…followed by a cup of chai for breakfast (you can picture your new friends plucking each tea leaf).

No luxury vacation can rival this…Feeling loved by strangers who pour out their lives to make you part of the family. Teaching you how to participate in their lives by plucking tea, digging potatoes, and milking cows…never realizing the paradise that is theirs…Taking each day as a new gift. Yes, everyone should experience this.


It’s been a long time…all talk, no written words. I’m going to give it another try.

So this week, I learned a bit about action. Every profs dream…seeing your students put something from your lecture into action. We’ve been studying vector-borne diseases in my public health course. Malaria is the number 4 cause of childhood deaths, and there are 300-500 million cases every year. Surprisingly, one of the best approaches to preventing disease is a $4.00 mosquito net. One net could protect up to 3 children, but nets aren’t accessible to many people who need them. The cost of a net is tremendous for people who make $1-2 / week… So my students organized and held a fund raiser and purchased nets. Action…transforming words into deeds.