A Staple in Kenya!

Written by Elizabeth Palmer


As we dive deeper into our mission at Simiyu House, we’re also getting to know the children we’re helping! The orphans at Simiyu love chapati, a traditional Kenyan dish. Chapati can be compared to tortillas or pita bread. It’s unleavened, flat, and delicious! It is commonly used as a utensil to eat other things, like vegetables or stew, but can be eaten numerous ways.

Here’s a recipe to try at home!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
salt to taste
sugar to taste
oil (for frying)

Pour the flour into a bowl, mixing in salt and sugar to taste. Next, add your water. Mix until it forms a thick paste. Add more flour as needed to achieve a doughy consistency.

Cover the dough for 30 minutes, with tin foil.

After that, take pieces of your dough and roll them into balls, according to how much chapati you’d like to prepare. Roll the balls out with a rolling pin, adding flour when necessary, so they look like tortillas.

Heat the oil in a pan on the stove and fry each chapati individually. Both sides should be golden brown when they’re done.

That’s it! Enjoy your chapati!

Meet Chris

Written by Elizabeth Palmer

You may remember him from our Facebook page.  He grew up in the western part of Kenya in Kakamega County, Isongo Village. Chris has been serving at Simiyu House in Kenya for eight years.  Before working with our organization, he finished high school and bible college, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology and biblical studies.  When he isn’t working with Simiyu House, he works as a pastor in his church.  He was called to work for Simiyu because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of orphans in Kenya.  He has seen abandonment up-close, where orphans are cast out by society.  They are left to suffer, drop out of school, and continue the cycle of poverty they were born into.  Living in Kenya alongside some of these orphans fuels his passion for serving the organization.  Most of the children live below poverty level, meaning their basic needs cannot be fulfilled.  Most of them only have one meal per day, and others go without anything.  Chris is excited to begin the school year and bring the power of education to more orphans in Kenya! Additionally, he is excited to continue meeting the basic needs of the five orphans we’ve already begun supporting in 2016 (Linda, Edwin, Josephine, Rose, and Zechariah) as well as seeking support for the other twenty-five local orphans on our list! He looks forward to getting to know each child this year and helping them discover their passions so they can channel their unique personalities into changing their communities!

2015 Recap

It was an eventful year for Simiyu House: Fresh Water, Care for Chris, a Volunteer, and (2) Orphans supported.

Engineers Without Borders finished what they had set out to do and implemented a fresh water well in January of 2015.  Not only does the compound have fresh water for any nearby orphans who may need a safe environment, but the well supplies fresh water for all in the surrounding area.  What an accomplishment!  I’m so proud to have partnered with EWB UMBC.  They continued to press on and triumph through trials and tribulations that their two different trips had brought.  Chris and I are both so proud of and thankful for each volunteer that took the long trip to East Africa to give fresh water to a village that badly needed it.

One of those trials left Chris Shiko in the hospital for almost a month, but quick action on your part (advocates and donors) allowed Chris to pay his hospital bills and buy the necessary medication to heal in what would have otherwise been nearly impossible situation.  Chris is still very grateful and thankful for those who made a micro-movement and came to his personal aid in a very serious situation.  I’m also very thankful and inspired by this unfortunate event.

As we began to see green sprout from a cold winter, Nathan LaDuke and I began putting the final plans in place for his trip in the fall.  Over the course of the summer months we were able to make a plan and arrange all the necessary pieces for him to go.  What a trip it was!  I had built a strong foundation for the project, Chris watered and tended to the project relentlessly, and Nathan was just in time for the harvest in the fall season.  It was a great crop to say the least!  Nathan and Chris went out in the community together and identified thirty (30) orphans within walking distance.  Because of this effort and trip to Kenya, we now have a great and specific focus through whom we we accomplish our mission: To provide an opportunity for a safe environment, formal education and overall life skills to underprivileged children living in Kakamega, Kenya in order to help them succeed both intellectually and financially in their own economy.

Before the year ended, we were able to begin fulfilling our mission and were able to provide a year of school (including all fees, uniforms, and 1 lunch per day) and basic needs for TWO ORPHANS!  So excited to continue watching in 2016!

Thanks to YOU for an awesome year at Simiyu House; all of your Micro-Movements turned into a Big Difference!


Transparency is Key: Linder’s Budget

The following is the email I received from Chris 10 hours ago.

Halo  brother,
Thank you so much for reminding me each time. It makes me happy. I’m sorry that i took more time to send to you this budget. This is because, i was to go around to linders school, go to her aunts place and do more research about her leaving and education.

I have send to you her budget, both school and home needs. kindly, go through and let me know if there will be any question concerning the budget. The budget is simple and i didn’t include more needs.The home meals that i have included is only one meal per day.

I met my community  last saturday and i still hope to meet more people about the local fundraising. We have gain scheduled another meeting to discuss on the same with my community. The turn up of members was very low and those that attended insisted that we should have another meeeting at the end of this month and discuss about local fundraising. I hope the meeting will be fully attended by more people. Those that attended promiosed to pass over the word for the next meeting. people are happy about the matching team and i hope they will give in whatever they can.

Let us pray about this and ask God to lead us in everything. Thank you so much, i look forward in calling you before the end of the week. i will keep on updating you. Please let me know the day you will be available on the phone.

Thank you.
Fr Chris.

I want to share this email with those who are following the activity of Simiyu House as a show of transparency.  Chris and I are both at work on this project, and we are make micro-movements…a Big Difference is in the near future!

If you want to see the original budget breakdown, click this link: Monthly Linder

After some calculation, this puts support for Linder at $150 (upfront)for all of her yearly needs and $50 per month for her monthly needs.

Still some discussions to be had, but that’s where we are as of now.



First to be Served: Linder

The Short Story about Linder, a Simiyu House: Kenya orphan.

Linder is one of our genuine and needy orphans we visited during Nathan’s stay at Simiyu House: Kenya last month. She is 13 years old in grade six. Her mother passed away two years ago as a result of a road accident, which puts her in grade four when her mother passed away.

Linder Makokha

Before her mother passed away, she used to live a normal life as any other kid who has the parents. She was doing well at school as a result of the support from her late mother. Linder was then abandoned by her father, and her aunt volunteered to take care of her and stay with her. In our community, most kids are better taken care of by their mother than their father, even if their father is still alive. Her aunt lives within Simiyu House: Kenya community.

During our house to house visits of the orphans, we (Nathan and I) were able to meet her at her aunt’s place and had a brief conversation with her. That’s when we found that she doesn’t go to school, but as we talked to her, she said she is still hoping to go back to school and continue with her education. She also lacks a completely safe environment (health) due to not having some basic needs met.

At her aunt’s place life is still very difficult and her aunt is not able to meet Linder’s personal and educational needs. Linder only survives at one meal per day: that’s ugali (a staple food, a dish of white cornmeal cooked with water to a dough-like consistency). Sometimes, they have another meal once per week at some point, otherwise only ugali. The aunt has more family to support, so she is not able to give good care towards Linder.

With this brief story, I decided with full confidence to pick Linder to be our first orphan to support according to our mission (safe environment, formal education, and life skills). There are still more orphans who have a lot of sad stories of living. We hope to support them all, but we will keep to the Simiyu House motto and begin with a micro-movement: we will start with one.

The exact breakdown of our plan for Linder will be coming soon!  Be sure to catch our personal updates on our Facebook Page.


Chris & Eric