His name is Offin. I met him on my third day in Africa.
He lives on the outskirts of Naivasha, Kenya. It’s an area where there is no electricity except for the occasional restaurant or pub. No connection to the outside world besides the few internet cafes in town. No TV, no running water, no access to watching Kim Kardashian getting married live (gasp). He does bike rentals and runs the occasional safari tour for a living. In his off time, he organizes clean-up projects in the slums, plants trees and teaches kids about AIDS in local schools. He’s just an ordinary guy.
So ordinary, in fact, that this is exactly what makes Offin extraordinary: he works with the resources that he has to make the difference that he can. Through the tourists that he meets at his day jobs, he has made friends with people from all over the world. Some of them have gotten involved in his projects and done everything from cleaning up the slums to visiting the local schools where he teaches.
AIDS rates are no joke in Naivasha. Parents don’t talk to their kids about it because the subject is taboo. Many people are misinformed (condoms cause disease, sex with a virgin will cure AIDS, the list goes on) or not informed at all. And for those who are aware of condoms, they are much too expensive of a habit to maintain.
Offin has never be outside of East Africa. Yet his aspirations are so inspirational that half way around the globe, people are still spreading the word about the projects he helps with. I am one of them:
The Rift Valley Festival is a not-for-profit music festival that raises funds for villages around Lake Naivasha. Where else are you going to see the likes of DJ Yoda, a Gorillaz DJ set, Jimmy Sreech and 13+ other artists for a measly price of 3000ksh ($33USD)?
Won’t be in Kenya anytime soon? You can still donate. Contact the one of Offin’s friends and organizer of the event, Sean for more info.
Offin might not be changing the whole world, but he is certainly changing the world around him.