Thursday, April 28


Rotary clubs support Pokot mission

Local woman empowering African impoverished

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[APRIL 28, 2005]  Barb O'Donohue, a native of Lincoln, is returning on May 13 to Pokot, located in the Republic of Kenya, with gifts funded by three local area Rotary clubs. Lincoln, Atlanta and Mount Pulaski Rotary clubs have purchased six solar ovens made by a company located in northern Illinois. Originally, the order placed by the Atlanta club president, Andy Glass, was for three ovens. However, the oven maker, Sun Ovens International, which was founded by a Rotarian, donated an additional three ovens.

A combination of beans, corn and sukuma cook over an open flame in the COPE school kitchen.  [click on picture for a larger image]

Barb indicated to the clubs that the conventional method of cooking is on wood or by charcoal, which has to be made. Currently she has one oven that heats up to 225 degrees but is not capable of baking bread. The new ovens use solar power and require only 30 minutes of preheating. Within 45 minutes, Barb will be able to make two loaves of bread per oven.

The goal of this Rotarian project is to create a cottage industry. Because of the remote location and limited food supplies, the people of Pokot generally eat ugali, a water and corn flour mixture; sukuma, a leafy green vegetable; and cabbage. Barb would like to teach the women how to use the ovens and provide them with bread flour. After this initial support, the women will be able to barter and sell their bread to purchase their own supplies and ovens.

Since her return from Africa in December 2004, Barb has been speaking to many groups. The not-for-profit organization that oversees the finances and needs for her is C.O.P.E -- Children of Pokot Educational Fund.

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If your group would like to help, Barb has made a listing of needs. Any of these items can be dropped off at 113 N. Kickapoo St. in Lincoln.

  • Medication
  • Pain relievers
  • Fever reducers
  • Cough syrup -- pediatric and adult
  • Eye and ear antibiotic drops
  • Triple antibiotic ointment for wounds
  • Umbrellas
  • Stopwatches
  • Whistles
  • Small calculators
  • Recorders
  • Batteries: C, D, AA, AAA
  • Polaroid film
  • Popcorn -- just the seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Seasoned tea
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds: tomatoes, lettuce, onion, carrots, sorghum

If you would like to contact Barb while she is still in Lincoln, please call (217) 737-3936 or e-mail her at

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