The Kenyan Bill Nye
I hated my chemistry class in high school. Maybe I’m just not much of a scientist. Maybe I’m not that smart. But I think the real reason is that I had a bad teacher. In fact, he was boring. I could hardly stay awake in his class. But maybe that was a good thing. He made ministry look a lot more attractive than being a scientist. So maybe I should thank my teacher for helping me get where I am today.
But if you go to the Elaine Nesbitt High School in Alara, Kenya—you will find chemistry as an incredibly popular class. They have a chemistry teacher who is everyone’s favorite. He is like the African Bill Nye. He is always doing creative experiments where things blow up, and cracking jokes along the way. He does serious teaching too. But I was so impressed with how a chemistry teacher had become such a big hero to the children.
When my children were young, Bill Nye was on television on the local PBS channel in Seattle. Because of how interesting he was and because he was so funny, my children grew up with science being attractive to them. It also helped that Bill Nye was on another Seattle show called “Almost Live!” where he played Speed Walker, a speed walking Seattle superhero “who fights crime while maintaining strict adherence to the regulations of the international speed walking association.”
Well, our chemistry teacher at Alara is not Bill Nye but Russell Ochieng. Every time I am around him, I learn something I didn’t know before and have some good belly laughs. I am so glad that our sponsored children have someone like Russell to look up to. And he also is a deeply spiritual young man who not only teaches our kids about science but also about God’s place in science.
And no one understands the importance of education and the privilege it is to be educated better than Russell. He received an education in Kisumu, Kenya. And now Russell is receiving a Master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry at Maseno University. He is now a part of CRF’s sponsorship program as a college student. And Russell hopes to follow this Master’s degree with a Ph.D.
Isn’t it great to know that exemplary teachers like Russell are teaching our CRF children? I was so impressed when I opened my email today and saw what Russell was doing. I knew that it was his vacation from school. But instead of taking a holiday, Russell had called together some good learners and was teaching them a session on organic chemistry. Russell is a good teacher in the classroom and wherever he goes.
I’m glad I’m doing what I’m doing—but I sure wish I could have had Russell for chemistry.
About Christian Relief Fund
CRF is a non-profit relief organization based in Amarillo, Texas with a focus on holistic programs to rescue orphans and vulnerable children from poverty.
CRF operates child sponsorship programs in over 25 countries and is dedicated to providing food, clean water, healthcare and disaster relief to the glory of God worldwide.