Students plan service trip to Kenya

A group of Mercyhurst College students and faculty are putting the college’s core values to work.

With the help of Director of Campus Ministry Greg Baker and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Christine Brotherson, Mercyhurst juniors Kamil Kepka and Maura Hunter and sophomore Anthony Khisa (better known as Juma) have been planning a service trip to Kenya.

This July, a group of approximately 15 students will be traveling with Brotherson to Bungoma, Kenya where they will be working at Kabula Parish School, which is run by the Sisters of St. Francis.

While the Mercyhurst students are there, they will be teaching children English, sports and how to use a computer.

“This is a great trip,” said Khisa. “It’s very inspiring and am really excited that both American and other international students have turned out very positive in assisting my fellow (Kenyan students).”

This trip was inspired by Khisa’s desire to share his home country, Kepka’s willingness to help others and the commitment of Campus Ministry to offer students opportunities to serve in our global communities.

Kepka explained that a year ago he was talking to Khisa about various countries including Khisa’s home in Kenya.
Kepka was surprised to hear that the citizens of Kenya had limited resources, and he was determined to do what he could to help. He told Khisa he would visit him in Kenya and bring computers and any other supplies he could get.

This project grew from a $1,000 budget to more than $35,000 and has received much more support than expected.

At the informational meeting, Kepka said they were expecting about 10 people to show interest, but now there are more than 50 applications that have been submitted for this trip.

There has also been recent support from Polish artist and potential beneficiary, Pawel Althamer.

On a recent trip to Poland, Kepka met Althamer, and he took great interest in this trip since he also does work in African countries.

The Mercyhurst community still has the opportunity to be a part of the impact that will be made on Kabula Parish School.

Campus Ministry is asking for donations of laptops, soccer balls, pencils and notebooks.

In order to donate laptops, they must be up-to-date.

Pat Benekos, executive director of Learning, Information and Technology Services, has offered to clean up the computers and then upload the proper programs needed.

As well as bringing the donated items, the budget will be used to buy projectors for the school.

Brotherson explained that “Campus Ministry hopes to establish an ongoing relationship with the Little Sisters of St. Francis and the Kabula Parish School administrators and students.”

She continued to say that they will work together to make this an annual volunteer service trip.

Brotherson is working to provide more volunteer service opportunities for Mercyhurst students, administrators and faculty both locally and globally.

“This volunteer immersion trip is an opportunity for Mercyhurst students and faculty to live, work and play within a rural Kenyan educational community. We will have the opportunity to share in their daily lives, which in many ways are different and also very similar to our own, ” Brotherson said.

Kepka is excited about this opportunity and wants to be a part of helping those in Africa.

“When I first started, I thought this was crazy, but I would like to help them,” Kepka said.

He continued to explain that he wants to raise awareness and be a part of history helping those in need.
Kepka expressed his thanks to those who helped so far.

To donate supplies or money, or for more information, email Christine Brotherson at or Kamil Kepka at