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Kenya’s ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Honorable Robinson Njeru Githae, plans to visit Hopewell Valley Central High School in June as part of the ongoing relationship between the high school and the East African nation.

Ambassador Githae, based in Washington D.C., is Kenya’s highest ranking diplomat in the United States, and was appointed the position by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2014.

During his visit from June 12-13, 2015, he will speak at a symposium for students at the high school on diplomacy, education, health and the economy of Kenya. He will also attend a light public reception, on that Friday at 5PM in Central High School, where community members will have a chance to hear him speak and ask questions. The reception is free and open to the community, but space is limited. Please send your name, address and phone number to gck@globalconnectionskenya.org to RSVP for the event.

Ambassador Githae will also participate in the grand opening of the Kenya House in Pennington, a gathering place where friends, colleagues, and community members meet to network, share ideas, and experience Kenyan culture, hosted by Sutinder and Nirpal Dhanjal. Kenya House was founded to further efforts between Kenya and the United States to participate in meaningful, educational, and cultural exchange programs, so as to build global bridges of understanding. Visitors to Kenya House will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Kenyan culture by sampling Kenyan cuisine, hearing the Swahili language spoken, listening to Kenyan music, and socializing in a modern-style Kenyan home.  After the official launch, The Kenya House will be open one evening each month to any community members who have a passion for making the world a nicer place.  Please visit http://www.gckllc.com for more information.

Ambassador Githae’s visit is the culmination of a long-standing relationship between Hopewell Valley Central High School and the Kenyan area of Keroka. In 2007, HVCHS biology teacher Dr. David Angwenyi, who grew up in the Keroka area, and Dr. Lillian Rankel, a Pennington resident, led the first Model WHO student trip to Kenya. HVCHS students have visited the area on 4 service trips since then, where service-led initiatives and interactions with the Kenyan community have made lasting impressions on the students.

Participants of that first trip to Kenya started a non-profit called the Hopewell-Keroka Alliance, in 2008, which has raised more than $150,000 for projects in the impoverished area. Those projects, often accomplished with the aid of Hopewell students, have included: converting a dirt road into an all-weather, packed stone road; funding material and labor to build a tea-buying center to assist villagers in selling their main crop; completing the construction of a health care center and the planning for a second one; installing roof-top rainwater collection tanks as a source of clean drinking water; helping to connect the village to the electric grid and giving the community 5000 bed nets to reduce mosquito-spread malaria.

The passion, that Dr. Angwenyi witnessed from the returning students, has inspired the teacher to create Global Connections Kenya, an organization serving as a vehicle where many more students could travel to Kenya with a purpose. Dr. Angwenyi is teaming with HVCHS leaders and Hopewell-based non-profit, Seeds to Sew International, to organize The Kenya 2016 Experience, where more than 250+ students, parents, and community members will travel to Kenya.  Participants in The Kenya 2016 Experience take a chartered flight to perform service-related initiatives in Kenyan villages, including projects in health care, nutrition, clean-water, tree planting, solar electricity, education, wildlife preservation, and work-skills training.   To learn more about the Kenya 2016 Experience, or apply for participation, please visit http://www.globalconnectionskenya.org/kenya-2016.html.

Dr. Angwenyi met Ambassador Githae in April when he and several Hopewell students, parents, and community members traveled to Washington, D.C to discuss the many ties between Hopewell and regions in Kenya. The delegation extended an invitation to Ambassador Githae, which he graciously accepted.

“As a school community, we are excited and honored to have Ambassador Githae visit our area to learn about the unique and special relationship we have forged with the people of Kenya,”  said Dr. Angwenyi.  “The visit of the ambassador is a learning opportunity for students to understand their role in making the world a nicer place.”

To attend the reception at the high school, email gck@globalconnectionskenya.org to RSVP for the event; For info on Kenya House check out http://www.gckllc.com; For info about the service trip to Kenya, go to http://www.globalconnectionskenya.org/kenya-2016.html.

 

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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