On May 2nd, our staff and children returned to Heroes of the Nation after a much needed short break to visit with friends, family and guardians. Refreshed and ready, they jumped back into a Heroes life, working hard in school, and performing well in sports and extra-curricular events.
Early in May, science teachers from Heroes High School and Primary School attended a workshop in Ndururumo given by external trainers on the new curriculum, and how best to teach the subject with maximum retention. They enjoyed the training workshop and collaborating with other educators from the area.
Then on the 19th, some of our brightest high school math students attended a mathematics competition, also is Ndururumo, where they competed with other schools. They were accompanied by our math teacher, Mr. Ndirangu, and performed very well.
Next, on May 25th and 26th, approximately 100 of our students from the high school and primary school attended a sub-county music festival where they performed for and competed with other schools. Both groups of students won at their level and will continue on in June to compete at the county level. If our Heroes win at the next two levels they will compete for the President’s favor at his home in Nairobi! Our students are practicing hard, eager to win that honor and to show that our schools are the best.
The growing season is upon us and our fields look vibrant. Kale, cabbages, spinach and maize are growing well, thanks to the abundance of rain in 2018. We are also happy to announce the birth of a female calf to a new cow, recently purchased by the Heroes Business club!
In last week’s blog post, we highlighted Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga, co-founders and the African directors of Heroes of the Nation. This week, our president and co-founder, Andrew Sievright, is our focus.
An entrepreneur and visionary by nature, Andrew was mentored by his father in business and music, and by age 18, he had started several businesses. One of these grew into a thriving communications company. Next, Andrew turned his attention to international development and aid. He joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM), one of the world’s largest relief and mercy organizations, where he worked for 5 years. In the role of base director of one of the largest YWAM bases in North America, his years of business experience enriched the base’s training center and ten schools, (composed of twenty-six departments). These schools, which taught skills such as desktop publishing and printing for third-world countries, writing, journalism and music, became the training ground for students who would later be dispatched to 250 locations across the world.
Andrew’s base also sent out many international aid teams to developing nations. When Andrew heard of the orphanages that the teams visited, he knew that, given the opportunity, he would one day build a financially self-sustainable orphanage & school based on a self-sufficient business model that would empower orphans to be leaders through excellent education and leadership training. Thus the vision for Heroes of the Nation was birthed.
After his time with YWAM, Andrew, who had developed a search engine business and invested in a home in California, sold that house, and used most of the profits to start the orphanage & school, Heroes of the Nation, in Kenya. He bought land, hired staff, and began construction. During this time, he met Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga, who shared his vision, joining him in founding HTN.
Since 2002, the Heroes of the Nation campus has grown to be one of the largest orphanage & school in Kenya, educating and caring for over 500 children. Government officials have applauded the successful model of HTN, recognizing its impact on orphans and in the local community.
Besides continuing to offer insight into the growth and development of HTN, Andrew pursues multiple business and humanitarian endeavors, looking for solutions to humanity’s most pressing needs. Among other ventures, he is the president and founder of The Summit Research Institute, whose mission statement reads, “Bringing leaders together from all spheres of influence in order to find overarching solutions to crucial needs in the world, while cultivating lasting friendships and growing as social entrepreneurs.” With all this going on, Andrew still writes and publishes music!
The process of joining a team and making the long trip to Heroes of the Nation in Kenya is incredibly fun. Plus, it’s much easier and more affordable than you might expect! From more than 70 people who have joined one of our teams over the past 12 months, typical comments range from “It is a life changing experience,” and “There are not words to describe how incredible it is!” to “I expected to feel a lot less comfortable on a mission to Africa.”
People don’t usually include comfortable and Africa in the same sentence. Or easy. But that’s yet another way HTN is not the norm. Why? Well, first off, roughly $900 buys a round trip flight from the west coast of the U.S. It takes about 22 hours, including one short stop in Europe. Upon landing in Nairobi, each team is met at the terminal by our staff and a private bus. Depending on when the flight arrives, visitors are then either taken to a hotel for the night or driven directly to our campus in Nyahururu town, three hours north.
Secondly, travel preparation for visiting Heroes of the Nation campus don’t require anit-malarial medications. Though Nyahururu is on the equator, it is not hot, steamy, and insect-ridden. Instead, it is situated 7,556 feet above sea level. 80 degree weather at HTN is the norm, and mosquitos are not an issue.
Another aspect that makes visiting HTN easy is the Kenyan hospitality. The Heroes Guesthouse is located on our campus, and offers very comfortable accommodations with 11 guestrooms varying in size (all containing their own shower, toilet and sink), a fellowship room with couches and tables, and a huge, covered, outdoor dining area.
The Guesthouse has it’s own private kitchen staffed by very competent and loving Kenyans who prepare 3 healthy meals each day for visitors. Staff members at the guesthouse clean the rooms daily, making the beds and tidying up. Fresh towels are provided every few days and laundry is hand washed and hung on a line at the request of the team member. We charge roughly $60 per day for all this, which allows our guesthouse to generate income to finance its maintenance and continued improvements, as well as earn income for our programs at the home and school.
And then there’s sight seeing. A trip to Kenya isn’t complete without going on safari! So, besides doing ministry, we spend one day looking for some of Kenya’s most beautiful animals in their natural habitat, including lion, elephant, hippopatamus, cheetah, giraffe, water buffalo, zebra, various monkeys, antelope, and more. Because Lake Nakuru National Park is only an hour from Heroes, it is a likely choice for a team’s safari. Sweetwaters in Mt. Kenya National Park is also quite close, making it another great option for a visiting team. We strategically place the safari day into the schedule to provide for a day to relax in the midst of the busy schedule.
At the end of the stay, children and staff wave goodbye as visitors are transported back to Nairobi airport in the HTN bus to catch their flights homeward. Yes, visiting Heroes is easy, affordable, and fun! For more information on how to join upcoming teams or to inquire about visiting our Kenya campus, contact us via our website at https://htn.org/contact-us/ or reach out to our Assistant Director, Susie Thompson, at email@example.com.
Every trip we take to Heroes of the Nation in Kenya is as unique as each member on a team. The schedule, arrangements, ministry focus and down time are mostly determined by the team itself.
Doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, business men and women, interior decorators, students and children; all kinds of people can make up each team. And, since each member has their own history with God, it’s always fun to see how He uses the individual stories among each team to make a collective impact and advance His kingdom.
We’ve already made 3 visits to our Heroes in 2018, and have another on the books for October. Each visit has a primary purpose; to love on and strengthen our kids by teaching them more about Jesus, helping them connect with their heavenly Father and know His love and acceptance. As each trip is planned, we seek God’s guidance for what He wants us to give away as a team, and rely on Him to help us go deep. For example, a recent team was led to teach specifically on worship and the prophetic, fully activating the kids in each subject. Another team taught our grade 5 – 12 kids on Biblical morality, sex, dating and restoration. Then they led small group discussion times which gave the kids a chance to open up and ask lots of questions.
God also has us bringing His message of hope and freedom to the local town (Nyahururu) as well as the nearby tribal lands of the Masai. Our teams visit the local slums, churches, businesses and more as the Lord guides their ministry. Recently, one team was led to walk through the business district in town to pray for businesses and their owners. Another team felt led to hold a crusade in the slums. Whatever the activity, God is always up to something, and it’s a miracle to watch how He weaves together the individual stories among each team to advance His purposes on earth.
To inquire about visiting heroes, reach out to Susie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Heroes of the Nation, we continue to invest in our children once they finish high school, and we always see a great ‘return’ for our efforts! The Heroes of the Nation Post-Graduate Endowment Program (PGEP) is a very clever Kingdom way to invest in the nation of Kenya through the graduates of Heroes Academy. Our children graduate with hearts that are healed, knowing why and how to serve, and wanting to see the Kingdom advanced in their families, neighborhoods, communities and nation.
PGEP was started by Titus and Elizabeth Hug of Spokane, WA. In the beginning, it was conceived as a way to help our kids continue on to post-high school education so that they could follow their dreams and change their world. But as the PGEP grew, it has been developed to facilitate, guide and assist our kids in making decisions about their futures, whether that’s college or vocational training, running for office, or starting a business straight out of high school.
Our program coordinator seeks to understand our kids and their strengths as well as learn about their dreams, and then comes alongside them as a mentor, helping them to set solid goals and find their way forward. The program then finances the students’ goals, helping them to achieve those plans. The possibilities open to them are as varied as the kids themselves.
One of the unique aspects of PGEP is that the students who go through the program are empowered to pour back into the PGEP financially and also through mentoring younger students who, like them, need a guide into their future.
If being involved in the Heroes of the Nation Post-Graduate Endowment Program interests you, please reach out to us at email@example.com to find out more.