As many of you know, my sister and her family are missionaries in Kenya.* This time of year, I'm frequently asked by people how they can help out with the mission work in Kenya. Here are some opportunities to give that you might not have known about:
CMF International now has their Christmas Catalog available. Though I have no doubt all the needs are urgent, in Kenya they have a particular need for Bibles (page 3 of the .pdf file) and water (page 11). According to my brother-in-law,
water and bibles have been the most requested things of us personally- even here in Nairobi. People come to our gate with water jugs and fill them up here to carry home. And I have a waiting list of people wanting English Bibles. I can only buy 10 or so every few months to hand out, but now people are recognizing my truck and are waving me down while I am driving or when I stop the truck for whatever reason.
He's not kidding about the need for Bibles; my parents are going to Kenya in two months, and they are taking six (!) bags with them -- every spare ounce of weight taken up by Bibles.
Of course, there are many other needs as well, so give where your heart leads you. Many in the medievalist community will be interested in education, and if you look at page 10 of the .pdf, you'll see the education needs. For $200, you can support an adult literacy teacher for a year, or for the same amount you can support a Turkana high school student for a year. If that's out of your budget, for $75 you can provide a desk and chair for a student, or for $50 you can provide a set of school supplies for a student.
Are even those things out of reach for you? For just $10, you can buy a treated mosquito net to fight malaria. Still too much? For just $1, you can buy a brick for a building in the Tanzania training center. Heck, even a grad student can afford that.
Also, for those of you who live in the Troy area, there's one other opportunity: This year, the Bear Cubs (3rd grade Cub Scouts) are doing a service project for Christmas -- they are raising money to bring Christmas to an orphanage in Kenya. To this end, the Bear Cubs are looking for light housework or yardwork in the Troy area (appropriate to 3rd graders) that they can do for you to earn money for the orphans. The director of The Nest orphanage says she can provide Christmas for all the orphans for between $100-200. This will provide meat (chicken) for Christmas dinner, and some other special luxuries such as soda. Anything more than they can reasonably use for Christmas will go to other necessities.
*Please note that their website usually does not have so little content -- it's under reconstruction.