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Habari Gani?
(Swahili for “What’s the news?”)

John Linsley ’04 (KSP fall ’02)
History Department
Stratton Mountain School
World Cup Circle
Stratton Mountain, VT 05155

Jon Angus ’07 (KSP spring ’06) returned to Nairobi in November with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Jon Rosales to attend the 12th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The trip was made possible through a travel grant provided by the University.  Jon Angus also coordinated a visit to the conference for the fall 2006 KSP students (pictured).  A highlight was the chance to observe the COP climate change negotiations in the plenary room.

Jon felt fortunate to have the opportunity to return to Kenya so soon after his KSP semester. He said, “I exercised as much of the Kiswahili as I could remember, although it was kidogo sana.”  He also joined his urban homestay brothers, Ken and George Mwangi, at their favorite nyama choma stop, “The Place.”

Any travel to East Africa requires some forethought, but both Jon and Professor Rosales agreed that they would have spent less time packing had they known their luggage would never arrive in Kenya! Jon graduated in December and planned to spend the winter in Montana with alumni including Doug McCabe ’03 (KSP spring ’02) and Will Hartman ’06 (KSP spring ’05).

Christina Erickson ’99 (KSP fall ’97) says her KSP urban homestay parents, Ben and Andrea Mshila, are involved with the Binti Pamoja Center (, a reproductive health and women’s rights program for teenage girls in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.  Christina noted their connection to LightBox, a publication comprised entirely of photographs and essays by Binti Pamoja’s members.  Christina returned to Kenya in 2002 to visit the Mshila family and is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Vermont.

I have been in close touch over the past year with Kathleen Perkins Colson ’79 (KSP spring ’78).  Kathleen has returned to Kenya in various capacities since her KSP and is currently executive director of a non-profit, The Boma Fund (  It serves pastoral nomadic communities in northern Kenya and also provides for livestock programs and assistance through Cows for Kids (, a program that was started by Joseph Lekuton ’91.  Kathleen said, “Joseph and I have worked closely for many years, fundraising for programs and recently for his candidacy as a Member of Parliament (MP). [Joseph was elected; see page xx]. I am on the board of another non-profit, The Island Children's Fund, which provides infrastructure and school fees to the children of Lamu.  But, for most of my professional life, I have been the owner of African Safari Planners, specializing in special-interest group safaris to East Africa.”

Kathleen told me that Joseph had plans to travel to the United States in January for several speaking engagements and in March to be a keynote speaker at a conference at Earth University in Costa Rica.  She said he plans to run again in 2007, for a five-year MP term, along with Chachu Ganya ’96, who runs the Pastoralist Integrated Support Program, an NGO headquartered in Marsabit, Kenya.

Kathleen led St. Lawrence alumni safaris in 1992 and 1994 and helped make the connection with Kuki Gallmann (I Dreamed of Africa), who was St. Lawrence’s Commencement speaker in 1993.  She and her family also lived in the United Kingdom for four years, working with African groups at Refugee Services in London.

Last fall, Kathleen traveled to Kenya, where she visited the parched North.  She wrote, “The region is still in the midst of drought recovery efforts, but we are seeing some progress in the support of micro-enterprise activities and getting girls into primary and secondary schools.  Security and roads continue to be a challenge, but Joseph Lekuton is working hard to get a more equitable distribution of national funds.”

Kathleen said Bill Kaiser '79 (KSP spring ’78) is on the board of directors at The Boma Fund. When people ask her about her relationship with Kenya, she says “I tell them about St. Lawrence, former KSP director and Professor of Geology Bill Elberty, hitchhiking all over the country, and many late-night adventures in Nairobi--something that can only be imagined now.  I've made a personal commitment to talk only about the positive stories of Africa, to celebrate the accomplishments, hard work and integrity of the many people I have had the good fortune to work with.  I hope all KSP alumni do the same, to counteract the endless cycle of negative press about Africa.”  Kathleen lives in Dorset, Vt., with her husband and three children, and will return to Kenya this summer to lead a safari.

Natalie McKennerney ’04 wrote to say that she, Laura McCarthy ’04 (both KSP spring ’03), and John Milanese ’04 are volunteering with an Albany-based non- profit called Kujenga Africa ( Natalie helped start the organization, which locates funding and supplies for children in Africa who have been orphaned by AIDS.  In October, a launching event was highlighted by a concert and African dance.  
Natalie earned her M.A. in Africana studies from SUNY Albany in December of 2005.  She said, “The KSP experience was entirely responsible for my decision to attend graduate school for Africana studies. It really did change my life; in the four months I was there, I was transformed from being terrified of where I was, and not understanding it at all, to not wanting to leave.  Studying in Kenya turned the catastrophes I heard about on the news into flesh-and-blood stories, and I could no longer claim ‘I didn't know.’”

Natalie works in Albany for the National Credit Union Administration, but plans to join the Peace Corps or move to Washington, D.C., to work in development, health or fair trade in the non-profit sector.

Heather Patt ’96 (KSP spring ’95) recently earned her M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University.  She is a watershed planner for the Division of Water Quality at North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  Heather was in western Kenya last year assessing soil and water conservation practices in remote villages as part of a watershed project funded by the USAID Cooperative Research Support Program.

In November, I passed through New York City and saw Eric Klapper ’04 (KSP fall ’02), director of development for ACE Programs for the Homeless, a non-profit organization that provides programming aimed at assisting homeless men and women in locating employment and permanent housing.
I am looking forward to spending the summer in East Africa.  If you are willing to tell a story from your KSP semester, or provide an update of your current doings, please contact me.  Kwaheri ya kuonana!

Summer 2003 Entry
Fall 2003 Entry
Winter 2004 Entry
Spring 2004 Entry
Summer 2004 Entry
Fall 2005 Entry
Spring 2006 Entry
Summer 2006 Entry
Report of Appreciation 2006

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