REACH intern finds rewarding hard work and simple life serving with MOHI
Purdue University student Emma Keesling is making the most of her REACH summer internship in a partnership with CMF, Missions of Hope International, Nairobi, Kenya, and AgriStewards, Lebanon, Indiana.
“My primary job is helping Morris and Joseph, the main workers at the MOHI farm in Nairobi,” she said. “I have pruned tomato plants in the greenhouses, learned Swahili and picked spinach and kale for the MOHI schools.
“Recently, we planted a small demo garden with African nightshade, onions, beet root, spinach, kale and cowpeas and added drip irrigation lines,” she added. “The goal of this garden is to teach the community that eating healthy and getting veggies and proteins doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. I also planted moringa trees, which are like the superfood of all superfoods!”
Emma’s days are full, and her living situation is authentically Kenyan.
“I run in the morning, and the neighborhood kids take turns doing laps with me,” she said. “They love teasing me about how white I am!”
“After devotions with the teachers and breakfast, I start work in the garden, which is broken up by a tea break and lunch,” she said. “When my workday ends at 4:15 p.m., I play futbol (soccer) or volleyball with the school kids. Then after supper, I go to the classrooms and interact with the kids who are back in their classrooms doing homework or walk to the clinic to get WIFI.”
Emma’s meals are usually white rice and ugali (corn flour and water), spinach, kale or cabbage, beef or chicken, stew with vegetables and chappattis (crepes without filling).
“I’m living in a nice, tin shanty-looking thing with concrete/rock floors and a mosquito net over the bed,” she said. “My bathroom is a nice little hole in the ground, and our showers are a bucket of warm water and a scoop. We shower in the daytime after encountering a rat, a toad and a lizard in the stall the first night!”
Emma says that God is teaching her thankfulness in the simple things of life.
“Morris, my co-worker at the garden, walks to work and doesn’t even own a pair of gloves, but every day he mentions how thankful he is and how good God has been to him,” she said. “I’ve learned that we can survive on a lot less than we think we can!”
Top photo: Purdue student Emma Keesling poses with her co-workers and some recently harvested produce on the MOHI farm where she’s serving this summer as a REACH intern in Nairobi, Kenya.