Charity comes home to roost


Local News

July 12, 2019 - 4:25 PM

Iola Rotary Club members delivered chicks to 20 families last month as part of continuing efforts to help those in Eldoret, Kenya, where Rotarian Luka Kapkai of Iola grew up. Pictured are Jack Adams, third from left, grandson of Bob Hawk, fourth from left; Kapkai, second from right; and Tom Brigham, far right. COURTESY PHOTOS

Eight women in Eldoret, Kenya, waited patiently for more than four hours to meet with a group of Iola Rotary Club members last month. It was the rainy season, so they came dressed for cool weather, wearing rubber boots to help them trek through the mud. With no electricity, they used lanterns for light as they listened to a proposal from the Kansans.

The Rotarians offered to buy 10 chickens each for 20 families. The Rotary Club, using donations from various groups in Kansas, would provide the chicks, feed, incubators and necessary supplies to start the project. The Kenyans would build their own coops and take care of the chickens.

Ten hens can produce enough eggs to collect $4 a day in Kenya, a good income in a country where an agriculture worker earns between $2.75 to $5 a day.

?They can grow hens to lay eggs to sell. They can supplement their diet. And we got some incubators so, ultimately, they can grow the chickens themselves,? Rotarian Bob Hawk said as he recapped the trip to other club members Thursday. ?Right now, the chicks come from Nairobi, a seven-hour trip with 100 chicks squished in a box.?

When the Rotarians finished their presentation, one of the women led a prayer about what the chickens would mean for her community.

?This is a real opportunity,? Hawk said. ?It?s like giving someone a fishing pole instead of a fish.?


A group of Kenyan women listen to a proposal from Iola Rotarians to raise chickens and sell eggs. The Rotarians offered to provide chickens, provided recipients build coops for the birds. COURTESY PHOTOS


THE GIFT of chickens comes as part of a four-year relationship between Iola and the village of Eldoret.

Iola Rotary Club member Luka Kapkai, who teaches science at Neosho County Community College, is a native of Eldoret. Kapkai shared stories about his home country and his efforts to improve the social and economic conditions there. 

In 2015, as Kapkai prepared to return to Eldoret for a visit, Rotarians gave him a dozen water filters to share with the community. The Rotarians had learned of the filters at an international convention; the filters can purify up to 500 gallons of water each day and last 20 years. 

In 2017, Rotarians Steve and Francis Kinzle traveled to Kenya with Kapkai and delivered another 20 filters. In 2018, Steve Kinzle and Hawk delivered 60 filters. 

In June, Hawk and Rotarian Tom Brigham, accompanied by Hawk?s grandson Jack Adams, met with Kapkai and his family to deliver another 60 filters.


A group of Kenyans watch as polluted water is cleaned through a filtration system.