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Kenya

Kenya was Angels at Bat's first equipment recipient, beginning in 2014. As a result, it is the country in which Angels at Bat is the most active. We facilitate baseball programs in 4 different regions of Kenya (with many more on the way): [1] Nairobi Metropolitan Area, [2] Meru County, [3] Western Kenya, [4] Makueni County. For more information about each of these groups, see below!

1. Nairobi

Nairobi was where Angels at Bat first worked to grow baseball all the way back in 2014. Since starting in a few schools and orphanages in Nairobi, Angels at Bat (and baseball) has truly taken off. We've grown into more schools and brought baseball equipment to nearly 1,000 children in the area.

 

One of our equipment recipients exemplifies the growth that baseball has undergone over the years: Samuel Gatheri at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). We started working with Samuel and JKUAT in 2016, equipping them with the necessary gear to play. Since then, JKUAT has deeply invested in baseball. One of our parter organizations -- IfWeBuildIt -- has worked with JKUAT to lead the construction of Nairobi's Field of Dreams. This complex is currently under construction but is already home to the country's best field. 

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Photo: IfWeBuildIt

2. Meru

One of Angels at Bat's earliest equipment recipients was the Meru Angels team based in Meru County. The Angels were head coached by Francis Muchiri who also oversaw a few other teams of younger players. Coach Francis' team was one of the country's most talented before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the team to stop training. Because of this, Coach Francis' baseball efforts took a brief hiatus, but he is now active and ready to bring his team(s) back to their previous level.

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3. Western Kenya

Our partners affiliated with the Kongoni Community Library (KCL) lead our baseball efforts in Western Kenya. This group, led by Felix Kwachi and Nelson Kassim (overseen by Elphas On'gongo), has proven to be among the most valuable for baseball in Kenya. We began sending equipment to the KCL in 2018. Felix oversees a baseball program that consists of 13 teams spread across 8 schools in 3 counties in Western Kenya, summing up to hundreds of children of all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After supplying their baseball program with equipment for 5 years, we were finally able to go and see their work firsthand in 2023. This was an incredible formative experience for Angels at Bat as we realized that we cannot do things alone; the work done by Felix, Nelson, Elphas, and the rest of the KCL staff showed us that we needed to prioritize supporting our community partners. Felix and the rest of the KCL staff recently began construction on their very own field, just the third field in the entire country.

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4. Makueni County

The baseball program in Makueni County started in February of 2023 after the Angels at Bat team met with Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jr. and Minister Nicholas Nzioka. After this meeting, we officially launched the county's first baseball program. From there, we got Minister Nzioka's staff equipped with all of the gear needed to start a program. Just a few months after this meeting, Minister Nzioka and his staff visited 3 schools around Wote (the county's capital) and introduced baseball. We are honored to work with Governor Kilonzo Jr. and his staff; we believe that in due time, Makueni just might become the baseball capital of Kenya.

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Sending Equipment

During our first trip to Kenya, we brought 19 suitcases filled to the brim with baseball equipment.  However, we knew that carrying the equipment to countries in Africa was not sustainable.  Thankfully, George Mahinda connected us with the group American Friends of Kenya out of Connecticut (American Friends of Kenya donates library equipment, books, and other medical supplies to the people of Kenya).  After talking with Wayne and Audra of AFK, they generously donated part of their yearly shipping container. 

 

This has become our largest and primary means of shipping to get donated baseball equipment to Kenya.  Each spring, we package up a huge load of equipment and drive from Green Bay, WI to Connecticut to drop off donations; if our collecting season has been especially successful, we may drive out to Connecticut twice. We are eternally grateful for the generosity of American Friends of Kenya -- without their help, Angels at Bat would not be able to be where it is.

The other way we get baseball equipment to Kenya is to bring it with us in luggage on our trips to Kenya.  Although we bring much less equipment when we travel compared to our first trip, this is still a valuable process.  When travelling to places that have not yet been introduced to baseball, we need equipment to be able to teach with and be able to leave with the children so they can continue to play.

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