Jambo, Y’all !

Here are a few photos just to give you an idea of how special our time here at WAKA School of Nursing has been with Rosemary, the students, and her staff … and here’s the story of why we’re here in Kenya !  

photo captions: 1. After Class 2. Karole & Rosemary Kamunya 3. Hanging with the Guys 4. Girls strike a pose 5. Entrance to School & Clinic & Hostel for Girls. 6.Jonathan 7. Shootin’ the Breeze 8. Highfive: Karole & Rosemary 9. Rosemary’s private nursing clinic next to the new school. 10. The Girls love selfies! 11. Lisa at work filming 12. How cute are these boys? 13. The group selfie 14. Two Hats  15.  Girls’ hostel (dorm) 16. Walkway from entrance gate to school, clinic, girls’ hostel   17. “Dining Hall”  18. Two Scruffies at Waka  19. Just outside the entrance – Neighbors. 20. Skills Lab (photo by student) 21. “Dorm Mother” and Cook for the Girls – The Kitchen  22. Entrance Gate  23. Lisa holding court during Supper! Too fun eating with this girls and sharing cultural revelations. They LOVE it. They know very little to nothing about America. 24. Election Day Cuteness.  25. A typical Delivery Room here in private midwife clinic, Nyeri. This one belongs to Josephine (recently had to retire due to stroke and is in the center in the next photo. Now one of her daughters runs the clinic.  26. Six nurses and an OT (Sometimes I do still consider myself a nurse although it’s been a while! Honored in the company of these 5 amazing Kenyan nurses) 27. They all want selfies with us!  Too fun !  28. School signage #1 out front.  29. Signage #2 out front. 30. With Richard and Poppy right before leaving for Kenya, Nashville. 31. The Front Gate to School, Hostel for Girls, Medical Clinic. 

Almost a year ago Lisa and I began praying about making this trip to Kenya. Although we began our trip with an unforgettable treat of going on Safari and staying at Samburu Intrepids Tent Camp, the real purpose of our trip began this past Sunday when making the 3 hour drive across the Kenyan countryside from Samburu to Nyeri Town. Since we had flown from Nairobi to Samburu, this drive gave us our first preview of Kenya and its small villages and towns. Upon our arrival into Nyeri we were greeted by our friend and sister in Christ, Rosemary Kamunya, at her home where we would be staying for the next week.  Rosemary is a Nurse Practitioner, works internationally as an educator, owns her own clinic, and has started a small private Nursing School called WAKA School of Nursing on the grounds next to her home. More on the nursing school in a minute, but first a little background about how Lisa and I became involved in all of this.

In 1999 one of my dearest friends from Nashville, TN, Poppy Buchanan, came to Kenya for what she thought would be a single visit.  She knew a family working here doing Medical mission work and she loved international travel.  After that first visit, she said she didn’t care anything about ever returning to Kenya. She was around age 60 at the time.  It turned out that God had other plans in store for her. Today, 18 years later, and after making 1-2 trips a year to Kenya during an 11 year period, the fruits of her willingness to follow God’s voice and give in the ways that God led her are blossoming here today with an ongoing exponential reach of changing lives.   Richard, Poppy’s husband and our dear friend as well, has been her steadfast supporter and her partner in the diverse projects with individual entrepreneurs and individual community leaders they have contributed to over the years.  Although Richard never travelled here with Poppy (he was still busy with his large Pathology Group business and practice back in Nashville) he 100% supported and prayed with Poppy for discernment about ways they were to be involved here. With an endless number of ways that one could give a hand up here (as Lisa and I now understand in ways that we never could unless we were here in person), this discernment is really significant.

Poppy & Richard are like a second family to me and have been in my life for nearly 35 years!  Every year I would hear stories about Poppy’s trips to Kenya, the individuals she so loved and worked with here, and the ongoing projects she was involved with. Around 2010, when she began talking about being older and probably only making one more trip to Kenya, I told her to count me in. I wanted to get to experience with my friend this part of her life that meant so much to her, and I had heard so much about, before she stopped coming.  Many others had accompanied her to Kenya throughout the years for various reasons, some of whom created offshoot projects to her core projects. But my life was busy in other directions and it just never was a priority in my life, or God-led, to join in on any of these trips.  It turned out that Poppy never returned after 2010, so my hopes of sharing that journey with her was not to be.

So fast-forward 7 years later …  last year Lisa and I were in Nashville visiting and Poppy told us to pray about the possibility of going to Kenya in her stead.  She and Richard, now in their late 70’s and early 80’s had the idea of our going as their eyes and ears to check on all the projects they had been involved with for nearly 20 years now.  Our job would be to meet with all the individuals they had “partnered” with both in Nyeri Town and in the rural community of Ndathi at the foot of Mt. Kenya, both in Central Kenya.  This would be an array of people doing a variety of things such as the building and creation of a small private Nursing School (with 80% student population who could not attend college without 100% scholarship assistance) and advanced education for a nurse in the Nyeri Town area – and around Ndathi:  a nurse owned medical clinic,  a micro-lending group, a carpentry school, women’s farming group, a cell phone based banking business, etc. etc.

Of course all of this is a God story and an amazing one.  We are here to tell and document this story for Poppy and Richard and their extended family in the form of a book and film while assessing the areas of needs for the ongoing growth and effectiveness of the various projects. So we are here interviewing lots of people involved in these projects today and capturing photos and footage. And we can’t tell you how moving it is, how enlightening it is for us, and what an honor it is to be here meeting all these people who have been in Poppy’s life for so long.  We are seeing first hand how exponentially one act of kindness truly is.  Because when a person with a vision gets the help needed to realize that vision, then so many more lives are changed forever as a result.

As we write this from Nyeri Town, we can’t tell you what it has meant for us to be here, to get to know these sweet, sweet students and their mentors and teachers.  To hear from their hearts what having this school has meant in their lives. We’ve almost been in tears behind the cameras several times.

There are still many needs here at the school and we look forward to talking more about that in the coming weeks. (throw out any visual that you have of a college or Nursing School in the U.S. – unless you’ve visited here, it’s not at all what you’re probably thinking)  We would LOVE to see our TwoScruffyNomads followers and friends really pray about ways that we as a group could support the students and nursing school here.  Lisa and I both received our professional degrees thanks to scholarships or we likely would not have been able to go to college (Nursing School & OT School)  and better our own lives.  We’re excited about the possibilities with all of you as we explore and share more with you.  Here are a few photos just to give you an idea of how special our time here at WAKA School of Nursing has been with Rosemary, the students, and her staff …

On Sunday (today here) we leave Nyeri Town and will spend a week in a much more rural area of Kenya called Ndathi at the foot of Mt. Kenya.  We’ll be staying with a local nurse practitioner (whom I met a few years ago via Poppy) on her farm where she operates her own private medical clinic.  There won’t be electricity, so we’ll be sharing all of our next week’s experiences as soon as we can once we’ve left Ndathi. We are so excited to interviewing a handful of various community folks there.  We’ve stocked up on some basic groceries, so we’re all set to go!

So grateful that we’ve been able to make this trip and to be so engrossed in the culture here while being hosted in two very different locations by two remarkable Kenyan women.


Peace to you all … So much more grateful than ever before … more to share after our week in a very rural area near Mt. Kenya next week ! Please be praying about how we can all be a part of helping these students and this new nursing school thrive and grow. They are all working very hard to change their lives for the better – in a ways that all of us can probably not even comprehend.  This school is a unique mission to especially underserved kids from around the country – unlike so many other nursing schools in this area.


Karole & Lisa


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    October 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    What an unbelievable journey. I’m so excited for you both and inspired by your love for your friends. Praying for you guys every day. Love you!

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      October 30, 2017 at 2:31 am

      How incredible is it that you guys get to take part in such a profound project and make an impact! Proud of you both for taking it on and spreading the news! Looking foward to see how we can all contribute in the future!

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    Brenda Bohanan

    October 29, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    So proud of both of you what an unbelievable adventure as well as the impact you will have on all the people you touch. Love you be safe.

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    October 30, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Wow! Praying God will continue to open doors to meet the needs of the nursing students and therefore the needs of the people of Kenya! I, as you asked, am praying about what we can do to further the work there in Kenya. Jesus said to serve Him, we serve His people and that should happen both near and far! Praying for a fruitful week ahead for you guys and safe travels!

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