Update From Sally Tinkahm

Greetings from Kenya! 
It is closing in on my last few days here in Africa and there is so much to share! I just realized that my last email never sent so I’m including that information here. This past week I have been traveling constantly, being a tourist and exploring with my new friends. The week before that was a One Life Africa gathering for alumni students who have finished high school and most are currently in college. I led the camp in computer use and research and citation techniques, and Amanda and I tag teamed daily devotionals and public speaking workshops. It was so different to be working with students my age, and most of them had very little practice with a computer.
The experience was also fulfilling for me to get to know students who are not currently receiving One Life scholarships, but are very much still in the program. It is not just a scholarship organization, but a group to assist students through mentoring, decision making support, and connections with their students. The construction site (student center) now called Crosspoint, will be a great asset. It will be so valuable to have a place where students can come together to grow in the soft skills which are not emphasized in Kenyan schools.
            I loved getting to see the older students because I have spent a lot of time shadowing in various primary schools here, and was able to see how the practices used there are still prevalent in older students. For example, students are rarely treated individually or asked if they specifically understand, so young children learn to keep quiet if they don’t understand or don’t have what they need. This is paralleled with one student at the “computer camp” who said hers was working, but in reality she spent half an hour of the lesson time not even logged in to the computer. Part of my mission with the camp was to allow those moments of struggle and use them as teaching tools. I think I frustrated the students when I gave just enough direction to succeed but made them experiment with different tools and explore on the computer. These students are on the cusp of self-direction and initiative, and I believe there will be more camps and opportunities for them to practice these skills, which will set them apart and above their peers. 
A huge thank you to everyone who helped purchase the computers for the program!! Please understand how special it was for each student, we had about 15 daily, sometimes 18, to have their own computer. This gave them ability to get a lot of practice typing, and showed the students that they are important, valued, deserving of individual treatment and the best materials.
August 11, 2018


Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Service Trip April 2015
In April of 2015 fifteen members and friends of the Congregational Church of Laconia will be traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to work with Re-Member, an organization dedicated to working with the Lakota people to improve lives on Pine Ridge.  Re-member works to create better homes, better jobs, better health, and a better life for the people of Pine Ridge.

The Congregregational Church of Laconia sponsored an intergenerational one-week service trip to Nashville, Tennessee.  After the flooding that occurred back in the spring of 2010, our neighbors in Nashville are still in desperate need of assistance.  This long-term disaster recovery effort was organized by the national United Church of Christ. 
In Nashville, over 2,100 building permits have been issued to home owners to repair/rebuild their homes.  Many of these home owners do not have the means (insurance or funds from FEMA) to restore their homes without help from volunteers.  Many have not had a safe place of their own to live since the floods occurred.

The role of the wider United Church of Christ in disasters is focused on the technology-caused disasters and on the long-term recovery of a community. 
Here are some details about Laconia's trip:
Date:  April 24 - 30, 2011 
Location:  Nashville, Tennessee
Participants:  Bethany Clarke, Don Clarke, Mikayla Clarke, and Sally Tinkham
Housing:  Brookmeade UCC, Nashville, TN
 Your service is needed for Long-Term Disaster Recovery from floods in the Nashville, TN area to repair/rebuild homes.      
 Our presence and service with the clean-up and repair/rebuilding of homes several months after a disaster helps assure people that they are not alone or forgotten.