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Locals reach out to Africa

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I first met Maina (pronounced my-na) two summers ago, at my friend Jillene’s home. Maina Gathai had been sponsored by a group in Kenya to attend solar energy classes at SEI here in Carbondale. I had many opportunities to sit, visit and share meals with him. We connected immediately, and he was very open and direct with me. Maina is a gentle man with a big heart.Maina lives in a small village outside of Nairobi. He has a wife and three kids, the youngest a 13-year-old girl. Most girls are not educated in Kenya, and Maina is trying very hard to educate her. Maina was taught the “King’s English,” raised Catholic, his first language is Swahili and he speaks about 40 dialects. There is a story told about Maina, that as a child he was separated from his family on the savannah. And he was completely surrounded by a number of lions. They left him completely unharmed. It marked him as special to his clan. He is an extremely bright, high-tech kind of guy, living in a very primitive world. The government is corrupt, work is scarce, drought and famine prominent. They just do the best they can without.Maina recently lost his mother to cancer and while caring for her, lost his job. He faces much adversity and yet remains full of hope, faith and determination. He has this incredible consciousness that it will all work out.We are trying to help him, “pay it forward,” give it back, give a little.We’ve tried sending food and clothing, some of which was stolen, or he was charged an exorbitant fee to pick it up. Now we are just going to wire him money, right from Alpine Bank, directly to Maina’s bank account. If you’d like to contribute, and be assured it will go directly to someone in great need, please contact either of us. We are so fortunate and so blessed.Mary Whalen, BasaltJillene Rector, Carbondale


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