One of our most memorable and special projects sprang from the dream of an immigration lottery winner from Kenya in 2007. Stanley Imbali and his family came from their tiny home village of Eregi, a village of about 14,000 people in Western Kenya near Lake Victoria. He soon connected with Foothills through his new employer, Sandra Overton, a church member who needed a home health aide. Stanley told Sandra about his dream of buying a book for each child in the village and later about the need for running water in the village. Fundraising efforts targeted for books started right away, at first consisting of collecting used plastic bottles to redeem for cash, but rapidly switching to a series of authentic African dinners prepared by Stanley and his wife Schola at the home of Sandra. By 2016 enough money was raised to provide one book for each of the 640 children at the Ikhulili Primary School. As of now there are also textbooks in many subjects for elementary grade students and a tile floor replacing the previous dirt one. Amazingly, the village went from the bottom 3% of Kenyan school scores to the 97% in the country in 2017. We couldn’t be more pleased or proud to see the impact of our joint efforts in raising some $12,000.
Bringing potable water directly to the village has been phase 2 of Stanley’s dream. Nearly $63,000 has been donated to this effort to date, again from Foothills Church and its wider community of friends and neighbors here and abroad. At this time the first part of the project has been completed. The spring has been refurbished, the pipelines have been dug and pipe installed, the storage tank on the hill is in place and there are four distribution tanks in the village so that the women and children of the village do not have to walk one and a half miles to get water. Clean and safe spring water is now available to everyone in the village and no one has to walk more than 100 yards to get it. The only remaining task is to raise money to buy a large steel storage tank to which water can be pumped. The current plastic tank is both a bit small so the water supply is not adequate and will degrade over time in the tropical sun.
Checks for tax-free contributions to the Kenyan Book and Water Project Fund may be made out to Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Avenue, Los Altos, CA 94022. Please call the church office if you would like to speak with Stanley or others involved with this special project.
And … another dream or two, not ever really expressed, but clearly fulfilled: Stanley now has a college degree as a psychiatric technician and is a California state employee. And his son, Brian, is now at Cornell on a full scholarship pursuing his Ph.D. in the sciences.