For most of us, traveling to Africa on a humanitarian mission is nothing more than something we hear about other people doing.
But for 16-year-old Woodville resident Clark Jividen, that was a reality last summer.
Just a few months ago, Jividen, an only child who lives with his mother, Carol, and father, Jim, traveled with his aunt and uncle to Kenya to visit their daughter, Laura Karangi.
“I’d never even left the country,” Jividen said. “It was a completely different world over there. It’s a whole new world and you see just how good we have it over there.
|Woodmore High School sophomore Clark Jividen getting up-close-and-
personal with" 'a girl' he met in Africa" as he likes to tell people.
“It’s heartbreaking. You see the poverty over there; there are some bad places,” he said. There are sewage problems and people living in houses made out of tin with no bathrooms. (Some people) are living in their own trash and filth. But it’s not all like that.”
Karangi, 31, a native of Blissfield, Mich., has been doing mission work in Africa since she was 12. She is married to a native Kenyan and they have one child and live in Nairobi, the nation’s capital. In 2008, she founded a non-profit organization called Redeeming Africa’s Hope.
The mission of the group is to help restore the land, teach the people farming techniques and provide food and clean water for people living in poverty-stricken areas. They hope to do this by helping to educate and empower.
The journey, which took Jividen from Toledo to Chicago to London, included 21 hours in the air, plus time spent waiting at the airports in between flights.
The organization has a website, www.iamrah.org, a Facebook page and several videos on YouTube detailing its work. The website sells some wristbands and t-shirts that help to raise money for their worthy cause.
“They feed 100 children each week,” said Jividen, a sophomore at Woodmore High School who plays offensive tackle and defensive end for the football team. They desire to restore the hearts of the African people. She would go over there during the summers and would save up her money and then she moved over there. She provides feeding programs, too.”
Jividen was able to raise donations to help pay for his voyage.
“The whole trip was funded by family and friends and my church,” he said, referring to the Bethel Assembly of God Church in Perrysburg. “I was able to buy a whole suitcase of toys and clothing for the kids. They’re so thankful, so lively and so joyous; they’re happy with very little and just being loved.”
To help with funding for the organization, send donations in the form of a check or money order to The Karangis, C/O Dan Mitchell, 740 S. Lane St., Blissfield, MI 49228.