Simbolei Community Assistance Association

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Riffs for the Rift Does It Again!

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Saturday we hosted our annual benefit night, Riffs for the Rift. Deacon Earl and the Congregation, the Lo Fi Steppers, Amanda Smith and Jelimo Kaitany all provided live music that included blues, reggae and classical. We had a huge tableful of delicious Kenyan food. Most importantly, everyone gave generously to support education and we raised over $1000 for Simbolei!

We want to thank everyone who came out and donated to the cause, the musicians who volunteered their time and talents, the cook and the food servers and the East Lansing High School National Honor Society students led by their chapter president, Taylor Murray, who helped with everything from serving food to moving tables. It was a wonderful evening of food and music. Best of all, we met our winter construction budget!  So, Richard will be departing for Kenya soon to finish pouring the second floor concrete.

If you or a group you belong to would be interested in hosting a benefit activity for Simbolei, please let us know. It is a great way to get friends together for a pleasant evening and help Simbolei at the same time.




Join Us for Riffs for the Rift, October 21

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Kenyan food, live music, pictures, stories, crafts and fun. We’re preparing for Riffs for the Rift Benefit Night, October 21 from 6-8:30 at Presbyterian Church of Okemos, 2258 Bennett Road, Okemos, Michigan. Admission is a free will donation and all the proceeds support our building project and summer literacy outreach programs. Last year we ran short of some favorite food items, but we’re making more this year, so you won’t leave hungry.

On the menu:

Curried cabbage with carrots and onions

Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens fried with onions and tomatoes)

Coconut Chicken

Mokimo (Kenyan mashed potatoes with corn and peas)

Curried Rice

Spicy Beans

Spiced Stewed Beef

Pumpkin coconut pudding

Elgeiyo/Marakwet Peace Corp Chocolate Cake

Hope to see you all there as we prepare to send Richard Kaitany off to winter construction.

From the Heartland: or Fun with Food and Simbolei

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Today I just wanted to remind everyone of our wonderful East African cookbook, From the Heartland to the Heart of the Rift. It’s got all kinds of East African recipes from soups to breads, to meats and vegetables, including vegetarian main dishes.  In addition to good food, our cookbook includes stories about Simbolei and also about the recipes themselves and full color photos of the construction of Simbolei Academy, East African culture, and of course, food.

On April 30, the Kaitany family will be at the Allen Street Market in Lansing, Michigan to teach people about East African food and to prepare and serve up some Kenyan style comfort food.  In the meantime, we are planning a special giveaway for cookbook users through Facebook.

Every cookbook sold puts the full purchase price to work for Simbolei construction and literacy activities. If you don’t own a copy, you can order it here. Just look for the “buy” button on the lower right side of this page. If you already own a copy, dust it off, because in order to be entered for the drawing, you have to get cooking!  And check out the wonderful food Kellie cooked up that is featured on our Facebook page. We’re going to be looking for your photos soon so test out those recipes and mark your favorites!

Our cookbook, available through the “buy” button on the right side of this page.

Spaghetti, Music and Packing Up

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

On June 14th we held our last fundraising event before I head out to Kenya for our summer construction and literacy programs.  United Presbyterian Church in Denison, Iowa held a Spaghetti Dinner for Simbolei that featured live music and a silent auction.

As you can see, we had a great time and raised over $1000 for Simbolei. We hope to do more community events like this as they are lots of fun and really help involve people in our programs.

This week, I am preparing to leave for Kenya. The books we have purchased in the US for primary school kids in Kenya are packed. I will buy more in Nairobi as shipping costs from the US are high and Nairobi has several good bookstores. Then, I will head out to the Rift Valley to visit all our friends at Kiptingo Primary, Kamariny Primary, Chelingwa Primary and Simbolei Primary. I will also be supervising the environmental assessment of our project to date and getting official permissions to proceed to the next stage of construction. Finally, the building crew will be pouring a concrete slab for the industrial stone saw which will be used to dress stone for the walls of the school.  I plan to share lots of Kenya pictures and stories along the way, so stay tuned!

Planning the Next Steps

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Tonight the Simbolei Community Assistance Association board will meet to review the final cost estimates for finishing the main classroom/ administration building!  Bear in mind that knowing the final costs and having the money in hand to meet those costs are two different things.  However, we are happy to be at the point where we can make realistic estimates.  We will  have a clear view of the path ahead.

Richard Kaitany at the construction site in January.










Here in the U.S., our major role at this point is to continue fundraising and offering advice, oversight and support to the building committee and local community in Kenya.  Last year, SCAA supporters in the U.S. contributed more than $10,000 toward building costs.  Truly, this proves what a small, determined group of people can accomplish!  This year, we would like to continue or even increase that support.  To do this, the SCAA board is planning several special events and ongoing activities.  We hope you will participate actively this year as we entire the final phases of construction and as we continue our literacy workshops.  Take a look at what’s coming up.

Joey and Laura make plans for the “Riffs for the Rift” Concert.

Riffs for the Rift Benefit Concert: Volunteers Laura and Joey are spearheading this event.  Scheduled for May 18th in Lansing, Michigan, this folk/Indie concert will feature popular Michigan bands Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Lights and Caves and The Dockside Fever, as well as singer/songwriter Chelsie Holmes.  Tickets will go on sale April 18th.

Spaghetti and Simbolei: The congregation of United Presbyterian Church in Denison, Iowa will be cooking up spaghetti and fun for supporters in Denison, Iowa on June 14th.  Lots of good food and entertainment, door prizes and music.

Kenyan Community Night: In August, Andrea and Richard will team up with The Avenue Cafe in Lansing to host a special family event focused on Kenyan culture, music and fellowship.  Everyone is welcome to come out and bring friends and family for a laid back evening before the school year begins.

If you would like to help out with one of the planned events, or if  you would like help in organizing an activity for your friends or community, please let us know.  We have lots of fun ideas for ways to involve your community organization or group of friends in supporting Simbolei.

Use that Cookbook!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Joey's dorm kitchen creation

Joey sent this photo of the Curried Cabbage she made in her college dorm kitchen using the recipe in From the Heartland to the Heart of the Rift: An East African Cookbook.  I think her dorm mates are lucky to have a cook on the floor who has a good cookbook to work from.  Joey told me many of her friends at college are vegetarian or vegan, so she appreciates the many delicious non-meat choices in the cookbook.  With its many color pictures and clear instructions, the cookbook would make a great holiday gift for the budding college cook or the more experienced chef who wants to try something new.  You can order the cookbook on this site wherever you see the Buy Now button on the bottom right of the page.

The Great Rift Valley is part of a huge tectonic rift in the earth's crust that also created the Red Sea and the valley of the Jordan River.

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Simbolei Girls Secondary School, Kenya