July 5, 2002 - Albany Democrat-Herald: Kenya RPCV Michael Farlye organizes Great Rift Valley Walkabout to raise funds

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kenya: The Peace Corps in Kenya: July 5, 2002 - Albany Democrat-Herald: Kenya RPCV Michael Farlye organizes Great Rift Valley Walkabout to raise funds

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Kenya RPCV Michael Farlye organizes Great Rift Valley Walkabout to raise funds

Read and comment on this story from the Albany Democrat Herald on the "Great Rift Valley Walkabout," a brainchild of Kenya RPCV Michael Farley,who was stationed in Makindu while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1970s at:

Two join fund-raiser 'walkabout'*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Two join fund-raiser 'walkabout'

By Jennifer Moody Albany Democrat-Herald

Winnie Barron and Paul Baxter of Brownsville, along with several other supporters of the Makindu Children's Program, are spending half of July on their feet.

The group -- Kenyan guides, a camel wranger and about seven Americans -- plans to walk across the Great Rift Valley, a distance of some 250 kilometers.

The walk is a fund-raiser for the program and is expected to take about two weeks, starting mid-July.

Although the "Great Rift Valley Walkabout" is the brainchild of Michael Farley, a Virginian who was stationed in Makindu while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1970s, Barron said it's a fitting symbol for Africa as a whole.

"African kids, African women, they spend their life on their feet; to get food, to get water," she said in a June phone interview during a short trip home to Brownsville from Makindu. "It's a part of their life and they don't have any other options."

All participants are paying their own way and for their own supplies, the camels to carry them, and for insurance in case of emergency. Proceeds go to the program, a self-sustaining, charitable community-based organization founded in Makindu, Kenya.

About $25 a month, Barron said, pays for staples such as food, soap, paraffin for lanterns, charcoal for fires. It also pays for putting a child through through an entire year of boarding school, complete with books, medical care, transportation and meals.

"It's a chance for these kids to dream and to think about a future, which is a new concept for them," Barron said.

Paul Baxter, who left Brownsville June 30 for Nairobi to join the walk, was a volunteer in Makindu in 1999. During that time, Farley came for a visit.

When Baxter heard about Farley's "walkabout" idea, he knew he wanted to be a part of it.

"It's an adventure," he had said earlier. "It's not without trepidation, but how do you turn something like that down? It's a lifetime opportunity."

A full-time academic adviser at Western Oregon University with a doctorate in anthropology, Baxter has walked across Oregon twice. He said he's not worried about the exertion of two weeks in the desert, although he said he's glad Barron will be along to provide medical expertise.

The walk, Baxter said, is for "the best of all possible causes." And besides, "Mike and I hit it off. So he's going to do this thing to me -- I mean, for me."

Makindu supporters can follow the experience through the organization's Web site, www.makindu.org.

At the site, Farley describes the walk, which he states will be "a very challenging adventure" over some of the most difficult and remote terrain in Kenya. Water will be scarce and run-ins with feuding tribes are possible.

Still, Baxter is thrilled at the thought of seeing Lake Turkana in the Sugutu Valley, the country where parts of "Out of Africa" were filmed and where Disney sent its animators for inspiration for "The Lion King."

"It's going to be real exotic," he said.


What: The Great Rift Valley Walkabout, a fund-raiser for the Makindu Children's Program in Makindu, Kenya.

When: Seven Americans, including two from Brownsville, will make the two-week trek starting in mid-July.

Contributions: Donations can be made to the Makindu Children's Program, P.O. Box 325, Brownsville, Ore. 97327. For more information, call Sharing Hands at (541) 466-3110.

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