Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not a Finalist...but inspired by those who were chosen

Unfortunately I was not chosen as a finalist for the competition. However, the three young women that were chosen are huge inspirations to me. Check out their blogs. They are definitely deserving of this honor.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Public Health-->Enivornmental Sustainability-->Women's Rights...yes, they are related!

I first heard about the LifeStraw in an International Studies class a few years ago. Our group assignment was to discuss various aspects of the UN MDG's. One group had researched this fascinating product and briefly mentioned it in their presentation. At the time, I was impressed by the capabilities of modern technology and a dedicated team of professionals to create such a product. Now, I may have the chance to join the ambitious public health campaign trail taking place throughout Kenya. I will aid in spreading the word about the effectiveness of simple, healthy life-style changes and life-changing abilities of products such as the LifeStraw.
I think the creators explain it best! Check it out:
Through the use of the Straw, carbon emissions will be decreased due to the reduced reliance of coal and firewood to boil and clean disease-ridden water. Without the need for such fuel, most often collected by women, their time will be freed up for alternative activities such as education. Educating women has proven to reduce the number of children she has, and allows her to take better control of her sexual health.
Just another example of how an isolated event can effect a community in a variety of ways!!!
Photo borrowed from:

Monday, April 18, 2011

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more”

--Anthony Robbins

One day as I was sifting through my email inbox, weeding out the spam, the Living Social deals, and work updates, and I came across a short email from a colleague. She stated that she had read about an opportunity for young women bloggers to follow development work in Kakamega, Kenya. She said that she immediately thought of me because she had followed my blog during my trip to Kenya last year and knows how passionate I am about community development. I quickly clicked on the link that she provided. After reading the description of the contest, there was no doubt in my mind that I would not jump at the opportunity to continue development work in a community I have grown to love.
I have been busy composing my application these past few days. Talking about development is like second-nature to me. I have not only studied it for several years, but have lived it, and am constantly searching for opportunities to continue working in the international community development field. Therefore, I am reactivating my travel blog!
I often have people tell me that I should continue to blog about my life and my continued pursuit for a fulfilling career in...well....changing the world one person at a time. Reading over the years worth of posts reminded me of the work that my hardworking coworkers and I accomplished in Baltimore and Kenya. This Women Bloggers Deliver Competition, sponsored by Vestergaard Frandsen and Women Deliver, is opening up an opportunity for me to start blogging again about work and a community that is close to my heart.
The word of the day seems to be "opportunity". These organizations are giving me the opportunity to learn new development strategies and create awareness around issues that people around the world need to address. If I am chosen for this honor, it will be my chance to give women in Kenya the opportunity to be heard and to have access to resources they deserve.
Read more about it at:

Wish Me Luck!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I arrived in Portland yesterday afternoon. It doesn't feel real that I am back yet. I will post pictures and more info once I get settled in. Overall, I had a great time in Kenya and miss it already. I have made lifelong friends and have a new family now...who could ask for more!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Last Week At Daisy

This will be my ninth week here in Kakamega. My last week to spend with the Daisy community. I have my exit interview on Tuesday and my final reports are due by the end of the week. It is a sad realization that things are really ending for me. There is so much work that can be done to improve the school. I wish that I could do more. I will surely miss everyone that I have gotten to know in Kakamega. However, it is just the beginning of many activities at Daisy, which is very exciting. I plan to come back in the future to see the progress of the new programs.
Another good thing is, everything I set out to do was accomplished! I started a garden, renovated the cow shed, purchased a cow, revamped the tailoring program, and generated ideas to start a computer training course at the school. I feel satisfied with the work that I have completed.
I want to thank everyone that has supported me, both financially and emotionally. You are all blessings in my life! The staff and students have told me to pass along a "THANK YOU" as well.
Tutaonana! We will be seeing each other....soon!

Jackie Mroz

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What A Week!

This week started out very slowly. In fact, on Tuesday I was getting worried about accomplishing everything that I wanted to before I leave. Wednesday changed everything. Wednesday was going to be a normal day but turned out to be much more. We hired a fundi to renovate the cow shed. I went to several different farms to look at cows. I even went out to Malava (about an hour away) to view a cow in a small countryside village. Turns out that is the cow we ended up buying. I spent that evening running back and forth from school and home to discuss purchasing that cow on Thursday. We needed to act fast because they were going to sell her at the market the next morning. We decided to leave early and purchase her on Thursday.
Thursday morning came around and we headed to Labao. We found our friends and bought the cow. We walked 12km back to Kakamega in the hot sun. It was quite the experience. We arrived just in time for Parent's Day.
The Parent's got to see our new cow. I gave a brief presentation on my project and my hopes for the school. They were all very appreciative. I asked them to encourage their students and to continue the program through their financial investments once I am gone.
On Friday, I gave the same short speech to the Board of Governors who are definitely happy about the program. They will be there to support it when I leave. Everyone is very pleased!
These next two weeks will be full of meetings and signing documents. I will wrap up my work on the garden and then leave it in the hands of Daisy. They will do great!

It has been requested that I show where the fundraised money is going. Here is a breakdown of cost so far. The money that I have left will go to purchase a few remaining items for the garden. The remaining money I am trying to encourage the school to use to pay the groundsman extra. He will now have to come in 7 days a week to care for the cow, versus his usual 5 days. Unfortunately, because this is seen as his "duty" as a groundsman, he will not get a salary increase. I want to change that. I will let you know if it works out.

Animal Keeping
Cow $440
Stock Sale Fee $6.67
Permit to Move Fee $0.67
Market Fee (Entry) $0.40
Spray $36.67
Spray Pump $62.67
High Phosphous Salt $19.73
Multivitamin Injection $3.33
Milking Jelly (500g) $18
Desmodium $2.66
Dairy Meal (3 bags/1@1300) $156.00
Sweet Potato Vines $1.33
Grass $20
Medicine (Adamiacine) $3.73
Vet Bill $4


Cow Shed Renovation
Materials (see breakdown) $60.00
Transportation of materials $5.33
Labor $32.00


Materials (Cow Shed)
Nails $5.33
Cement $36.00
Waterproof Cement $6.67
PVC Pipe $12.00


Garden Planting
Labor $40
Panga $3.47
Watering Can $4.93
Rake $2.66
Slasher $1.87
Fertilizer (DAP) $39.47
Pesticides $19.73
Collards $4.80
Cow Peas $6.67
Spring Onions $2.13
Avocado $2.66
Green Grams (6kg) $11.60
Irish Potatoes $6.80
Sutza $4.00
Saga $4.00

Cow Research $40.00
Fertilizer Transport $0.40
Napier Grass Seed Transport/Cutting $8.67
Desmodium Transport $1.33
Seed Transport $3.73
Grass Transport $72
Transportation $22.67


Log Book $2


TOTAL $1,179.13

Friday, October 29, 2010

Didn't get a chance to contribute??? You still can!

The tailoring program at Daisy is selling bags and aprons. They are tailored by the vocational students and their teacher. Please help support this program and get a nice bag and/or apron too!
Apron: $10.00

Large Bag: $25.00
Small Bag: $18.00

These pictures show two varieties of larger bags, but a smaller one can be made as well.
I am taking orders. Let me know what you want and I will pass it on. I will bring your item home with me. Email me: