It is always so difficult to write the first of what may be many entries concerning an adventure, event, or story. This, my fifth time to Africa is no different.

I came here with my good friend Chris Emmel of Fort Collins, Colorado, expecting to build a composting toilet, run water pipes to a new hand-washing facility for the more than 60 children of the Morokoshi preschool, and upgrade the solar PV system.

However, just half way into this journey I am opened to an important realization: well defined projects, the construction of buildings or donation of computers may not be as important as listening, sharing, planning, and overall system design for long-term, sustainable solutions.

In fact, it is possible that the completion of a project is more rewarding to the volunteer than of value to those for whom it was constructed. This is a very, very hard thing to recognize, and even harder to admit for as volunteers, we want to go home and feel that we accomplished something. Sometimes the intangibles, the knowledge shared and relationships built are more important than the brick and mortar.

After two weeks here, at the farm of Stephen Muriithi and Morokoshi School outside of Nakuru, Kenya, I see that Chris and I will not likely leave with as much dirt beneath our finger nails as we had intended. But what we are learning and what we have shared will lead to a future of improved communication and education between SpanAfrica and its Grassroots Partner Organizations.

I am eager to share more, but for now, please take the time to review SpanAfrica volunteer Grace Proctor’s Facebook page about Morokoshi.