Author Archives: britten87

Changing Phases Changing Blogs


Dear Friends,

Since I have come back to the USA in June I have been quiet and relaxed in my blog writing and sharing. I would like to continue to update you on my life and involvement in Kenya (since I do intend to stay connected to what I was doing for these past 2 years). WordPress has told me that I have used up the maximum amount of photo downloading space permitted for this blog, so I just have to begin a “new” one, which is really just a continuation  though it comes at an appropriate time since my life is making multiple shifts and changes right now. To continue receiving updates please look at the new blog address: as I share thoughts, ministry developments, prayer requests, projects, and many other things that involve ties that we now have to people across a huge ocean. 








        The word Uwazi means “openness” or “emptiness”. The students we will be assisting will come to us empty-handed. Their backgrounds will be from slum areas and little economic resource or stability. However, as is evident in the positive perspectives and huge dreams, these students that we might think as empty, are just open. Openness is a wonderful attribute which can empower “empty” students to fill themselves with dreams, wisdom, and knowledge eagerly and quickly. By helping these students in the impossible task of raising money for university education we are encouraging them to have an open spirit; one that can dream impossible things and then achieve that dream.

      Though many are short on money, few are lacking dreams and aspirations in Kenya. Kenyan students are hardworking and based on the increase in numbers of people who have been able to get higher levels of education, it shows that education is highly valued. In order to equip and empower students to raise their own fees for their education we will design a website that will bridge the gap between Kenyan students and consumers who would like to help students through school and purchase photos taken by the students.

While few youth from the slums own a camera, most everyone knows someone who does. We will ask the student to begin to build a profile on the website by submitting photos of objects that are in the shape of letters. After working with a particular student for a little while we will discuss the arrangement of funding the student to get their own camera. Once the student has a webpage with information about themselves and their photography; photos can be viewed, chosen, and arranged into spelling different words by the online customer. 

Click HERE to view the full business proposal!

Or, for a shortened version, here is pages 1 and 2 of a brochure about Uwazi.

August Art Camp 2012


      August is a pivotal for children and artists alike in Kenya! This will be the first art camp that the artists will prepare and run independently… actually it will not be one art camp- but three! As interest increases and word spreads, communities have approached the artists who have been involved in the camps and so they already have commitments to the slum communities of Kibera, Kangemi, and Kawangware!

The three camps will happen on Thursdays to Saturdays (9 am to 3:30 pm daily) with grand celebration on Saturday. Our dates are August 16th -18th, August 23rd -25th, and August 30th – September 1st and the numbers for these camps has exploded! Our average expectation per camp is 500 children, making the impact of these camps reach 1,500 children with creativity of the arts as well as building their value and understanding of love (our camp theme!).

While the artists are working hard to source for funding, they have been able to find build space and enough volunteers, but are still sourcing for enough funding to provide lunch for the children and supplies for the camp.

***If you are interested in assisting with these three camps please send a check to: The Center for Transforming Mission and earmark check: Nairobi (August Art Camp 2012) and specify if the moneyshould be used in a certain way (e.g. sponsorship money for 2 children in honor of ___; money for one lunch meal)

Send Check To: CTM 1121 Tacoma Ave S.
Tacoma, WA 98402 ( (NOTE CHANGE)

For Automatic Deposit: Please email Lana Rocke at

Painting on Two Canvases


I still have a paintbrush. Only, maybe the canvas has changed.

The dusty city has turned suburb; I buy mangos in a store, not on the street; I can eavesdrop in people’s conversations because they are all in English; I drive to the store rather than walk; I can wear shorts; I am not charged per minute when I talk on the phone, I am not stared at when I walk in public.

My Kenyan Canvas is something that I have to hang on the wall, for now. Admire it. Evaluate it. Critique it. And of course, wait eagerly for a time in the future where I can remove it from where it hangs in my memory and paint again!

This new canvas… or at least this canvas that feels like new, actually should be more familiar to me. Yet I am surprised, after three weeks of painting on it, that it feels foreign. I have mixed feelings. I can feel excited for this change in scenery, and the familiar people and deep relationships that are spread thick on my USA canvas. Simultaneously, as I paint this new canvas, I have to do things differently than I have been doing for two years, and the adjustment can feel weird… use a spoon, don’t just show up at a person’s house and expect them to be able to hang out, speak in English, live independent of other people, use machines for washing clothes and dishes.

This canvas feels blank right now.

Of course it wouldn’t have been so blank if I had been around to work on it the last two years, but initially I feel like I am almost starting to paint it for the first time.

My US Canvas is beginning again. And I have huge plans of what to paint! Mostly still in my mind, but they are slowly flowing from my brain to my fingers… financing education for people in Kenya, beginning a nonprofit, finding a fulfilling and well=paying job, going to get my MBA. Because my painting on this canvas is just starting again I have endless possibilities!

Yet, may I never fully concentrate on one canvas so much that I block out the other. I want to dabble in both and shift back and forth… using brushes to decorate Kenya’s canvas even though for the moment the US canvas is a closer reach… I have a feeling the canvases will both be painted on more and more often!

Kawangware Celebration!


The final day is always the most exciting. For teachers, this is the day that you intensely prepare one of your classes for a presentation and the student are eager to show off their new artistic skills in front of their peers. In the morning leading up to this particular celebration however, I was trapped in Kibera working on the murals. Although the children did well during the shading class, once they actually sketched out a piece of the portrait, some of the children did not do so well. This meant a few extra hours for me, piecing together a puzzle of scattered images in order to connect them together and form the unified image of a face. After doing this on both murals I then laminated each square so that in the future this mural will be protected and durable, yet easily transportable!

I arrived to Kawangware in the early afternoon and was greeted by my children from Inspiration Center! This was wonderful! The children that I teach each week in Mathare are the closest to my heart (all 50 of them!) and I think they know that because if they come up to me asking for sweets or a snack I cannot resist denying them. Inspiration Center had come to show their support for the camp and perform a few dances during the celebration.

So after lunch we headed down to a small open space in a very public area outside. With generators and sound equipment hooked up, We began our presentations! It is hard to describe the feeling and how proud I get during these moments of sitting back and watching these talented children perform. But it is definitely the highlight and capstone of camp. So I decided to capture moments of our celebration for you all to see! Enjoy the Celebration…

Here are a few more pictures…