6 Oklahoma students hope to revisit KenyaMission trip Group wants to aid children at camp
Several Oklahoma City area students are planning a return mission trip to Kenya to offer much-needed fun for children living at an orphanage.
Students are raising funds for the June 3-25 trip to Maisha Orphanage in Africa.
Beatrice Williamson, an Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City student who founded the orphanage, said students are seeking donations of frequent-flier miles to help them in making the trip to Kenya.
Williamson said she and about 12 students held an arts camp for the orphans last year. Six students from Oklahoma are trying to return to the camp. They expect to be joined by students from California and London.
Williamson founded the organization several years ago after village orphans began going to the home of her mother, known as "Mama Grace," for food.
"It started out when my mother gave six orphans some food. The next day my mom wakes up and there are 27 kids outside her door, so we had a PR kid who was going around and telling his friends about the food."
Williamson said she started sending money to her mother for the orphans' care.
As minister to college-age students at CityChurch, Williamson met many students who want to help the orphans.
Mark Nehrenz, 22, a journalism major at the University of Oklahoma, said he heard about Williamson's efforts through mutual friends.
Nehrenz, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Norman, said last year's Kenyan trip was his first overseas trip.
He said he helped teach the orphans how to express themselves through art and documented their efforts on video.
"They live very stressful lives, and they don't have a lot of opportunities for fun," Nehrenz said.
"They taught us so much, too. They are very joyful with what little they have."
Kendall Brown, another OU student, said she has been diligently raising funds for the trip.
"I feel a duty to go back because we impacted the kids' lives, and they impacted our lives," she said. "I've turned into 'the crazy Africa girl' at school because anytime I have to give a presentation, I talk about my trip and 'my kids.'"