Saturday, March 15, 2014

Apete wuon Orek fitting his new shoe

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fifty Pounds Of Shoes

This years goal- one shoe,one foot at a time. More to come.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Imagine a day when no child shall not fullfill his or her dream due to lack, a day when their dreams become reality because you took a stand and made a bold move...Just imagine

Sunday, August 7, 2011


The big question is how can we break the cycle? Simple, educate the people, dont just provide the daily meal. Give man a fish and you will feed him a while , Teach him how to fish and he will fend himself .

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Managing Abundance

As a kid growing up on the shores of Lake Victoria, I learnt a lot
at the very tender age of nine. I would go out to look after the
cattle and at the same time fetch fire wood for my grandmother.
On the occasions when Mother Nature was in a foul mood - rain,
hail storm, wind - I would plan ahead and devise a way to ensure
I was under some sort of makeshift shelter. Despite all the
shortcomings, I would manage to guide the goats and cows safely
back home. On the sunny days I would "animal pool" (all the
village animals) taking turns with the other herders. Teamwork.

My dad had about ten herds of cows and two dozen goats, plus
a few sheep here and there. These animals were not the easiest
to herd, but I learnt the trick: large quantities of green vegetation
for feeding, a salt tablet to lick, and lots of water. As long as they
were full there was peace.

In his book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose,
Eckhart Tolle refers to this as "making peace with the present
moment." The present moment is "the field upon which the game
of life happens." But how could I take care of the goats with their
immediate needs and tend to the much larger animals, the cows,
who required a lot of grass and copious amounts of water? How
does a kid deal with such competing priorities and come out on
top? According to Tolle, it is in the "power of NOW."

Managing this abundance required a strategy - quick thinking and
acting, which every herdsman eventually masters. First, I had to be
fast in order to deal with the goats, which required finding an
enclosed thicket with the greenery they loved. Then, I needed to locate
a grassy green pasture for the (slow-eating) cattle...

Little did I know the same strategies would be required of me at a
later stage in life from a different position. Not that of a herds-
man; but of a provider and a leader. A lot has happened since then
with seemingly recurring similarities. For the purpose of this post,
I will revisit the year 2008.

2008 held many opportunities and lofty goals. There were many
breakthroughs. It was the year "Project Yongo" (the blog) was born,
midwifed by my friend Venetia. She is a true blessing, as this was a
huge endeavor. We created the blog to raise awareness about the
plight of the Agok community children, and Africa at large. I am proud
of the progress we have made. As we transition into 2009, my goal is
to reach a broader audience in order to help more kids realize their
dreams, and become what God has ordained them to be.

One of the major opportunities of 2008 came disguised as a hurdle.
I was laid off. For three-and-a-half months, I was on the constant
hunt for a job. Emails, phone calls, networking... I sent 720 emails;
only forty of those had my resume attached, which yielded twelve
interviews. No one appeared to be hiring due to the economic slump
in the U.S. and the subsequent collapse of the world economy. Even
though these were very unique circumstances worldwide, I did not lose
hope. Through this experience I found one thing to be true: when all
appears to be failing, there is one source which will never fail - God.

This was indeed a transition, and like any change of season, there was
a long spell of waiting, doubt, and frustration. I had my doubts about
whether a prospective employer would find it beneficial to hire a name
like "Yongo" and my frustrations about how long it would take.
I engaged in interview after interview, with each perceived rejection
leaving me to wonder (more frustration) why this particular employer
was not interested in me and what could I have done differently in
order to "pass with flying colors"? Amidst all of this, I kept deep faith
in God. I reflected on all he has done for me, from Korogocho to
America, from a 10 x 10 mud walled, sewer less shanty to a house in
Brunswick, Georgia, from Alkala (1000 miler) to Adidas. Not only
did he send an angel to guide me, but also to show me how successful
I could be in what I did. God is a Source of abundance.

I knew there was a reason for all of this, but I did not understand why.
I began asking "Why?" Then I remembered I am a "creation" like any
other and I will never be alone. I have angels guiding my path. The
soul-searching process began. As the social psychologist Stanley Milgram
describes in his book Obedience to Authority, "Often it is not so much
the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself
that determines how he will act."

To a certain degree, I reacted to the situation. I almost let my ego take
control over my soul, wanting to know the cause. As the "herdsman"
I made a very conscious decision not to keep asking, and to guide myself
through this "drought." I had seen animals die and I have seen human
beings degrade mentally in situations such as this.

As a parent, a husband, and a leader there were several people leaning
on me for spiritual and moral guidance. A lot was at stake. I have
inspired a lot of young men and if I caved, then the entire "herd"
would be lost... I created a network of "spiritual warriors" like Laquita
King, Charles, Susan, Ms. Poole, Venetia, Pastor Rice of Mt. Orum
Baptist Church, Pastor Chris of Family Life Church, and Natalyne,
not to mention Julie and Pastor Scott who invited me for a prayer
vigil in Brantley County. I refused wilt and wither away, and went
back to where it all began. I knew God created me for a purpose and
did not bring me this far for his amusement, so the situation did
not change me. It made me stronger. As Pastor Rick Warren wrote
in his book Purpose Driven Life, "If you can worry, you can meditate."

My preference for meditation was born of the desire to know God
and to have a deeper understanding of my purpose on this plane
called "earth." How best could I be of service to God and his
creation - humanity? How could I be his friend? After all, in times
of turmoil you reach out for your friends. I had reached out for
all of my earthly friends, but where was my heavenly Father?
In John, chapter 15:15 Jesus calls us his "friends." Instead of
worry, I chose to connect with him through meditation and prayer
as these are the two avenues upon which he travels. I wanted
clarity and needed intervention not only from the loss of my job
but also for spiritual renewal. I needed to re energize my
archetypes in order to find meaning, if not a symbol in all of this.

In October, the funds started to dry out. I knew if I did not have
a job by November things might not be good. I started thinking of
things that could go wrong. I would lose my home, my truck, and
all the earthly "necessities." There was the risk of my kids going
without food and all that nice stuff. Several interviews along
the line, but nothing juicy, my faith did not change. I kept on
tithing, meditating, and praying. One Sunday afternoon a van
pulled-up in front of my driveway, as I was working in the yard.
Out came three well-dressed ladies. I recognized them. They
belonged to a church where I was a guest speaker back in
February. They said they heard I had been jobless for quite
some time and the Lord had sent them with some goodies.
They had a check for $500.00 and boxes of supplies ranging
from rice to chicken. Talk about God answering prayers! Here
I was thinking about how I will make payments and the three
ladies came in with a rescuing hand.

With each day, the economic news became more and more bleak.
Every employer I contacted gave me the same "doom and gloom"
story. My faith grew steadfast and my spirits were at their
highest. I made a call to my friends Paul and Kappy. I had not
been in touch with them since July, and though I did not reach
them, I left a message. Paul called me back that same evening
and we scheduled a lunch get together at a local restaurant.
During this time, we exchanged notes on which resorts to contact.
One week later we met again. At this juncture he stepped-in big
time, from taking me to stock up at Sam's Club to paying bills.
May the almighty God continue to Bless him. As Oprah Winfrey
puts it: Every one of us gets through the tough times because
somebody is there, standing in the gap to close it for us.

Paul and Kappy have been the bridge to help get me through
the transition. A transition of abundance - born out of love
and service to humanity.

On October 20th I got a lead from Jeff Newcomb. This is a guy
who was not in my database. It was a posting through Hcareers.
At the same time I received an email from a former colleague
inquiring if I had seen the job posting. This was around 9 a.m.
By 4 p.m. on the same day I was on the phone with this company
setting up an interview. On the 4th of November, I was in North
Carolina for a three-day interview. On the 14th, I received a verbal
offer. On the 17th, I received a written offer. On the 25th, I was

I had wanted to do it "my way" but the supernatural has its ways
of making things happen. There is a reason why things happen.
All we have to do is look for the symbolic meaning. Caroline Myss
describes the life interruption in her book Sacred Contracts, this
way, "When your life plans are suddenly interrupted you can choose
to view that event as a 'contract intervention' rather than a crisis."
Surely this was not a crisis but a an intervention.

Back to my friend Paul who has been very instrumental in this
changeover. When I was heading north he instructed my family
not to worry, and sure enough, when the Kia had a fatal knock,
he gave us his Chevrolet Suburban to help until such time when
I am able to buy another car. Webster's Dictionary defines a
friend as a "favored companion." I have been favored by my
friends God, Paul, V, Kappy, and La Quita, and the rest of you
who have been there for me. Lots of love to you all.
Ruwan Silva, you were a God sent angel who appears whenever
there is need. Think about the above events - how else can you
explain them? God's favor and love. In 1 John 4:16 John says
this about God's love "and we have known and believed the
love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in
love dwells in God, and God in him."

Now I am managing a new "abundance" relocating the family,
settling into the new job, finding a new home and school for
the Kenyans, and finding a tenant to rent my old house.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"This is my simple religion. There is no need
for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain; our own heart is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness."

-HH The Dalai Lama