An Opportunity to Serve

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April 30, 2012

Zipporah is one of the earliest students at Faith House, an actuarial science student at a Nairobi university, and a leader in her school.Zipporah is an outstanding student at JKUAT (Jomo Kenyatta University for Agriculture and Technology), majoring in actuarial science. She will finish her course work in December and then spend the spring in practical training and preparation for her professional exams in April. Her official graduation will come in June 2013.

Zippy’s story is so much broader than her excellence in academics. She is a leader at her school. Early in her time at JKUAT, school officials came to her class, asking for someone to consider becoming their class representative. The other students all urged her to run. But Zippy saw that she could do so much more for the whole university community if she ran for student-wide office.

She ran for and was elected Academic and External Affairs Secretary, one of fourteen students in places of leadership who meet with the administration and department heads of the school to set direction for the school and advocate for the 5000 students.

Everyone at JKUAT, from gatekeepers and foodservice workers, to students, to the professors and the principal and the dean of the school, knows and loves Zippy.

Dan and Gretchen enjoy lunch with Zippy during a visit in March 2012.On a recent trip to Nairobi and Faith House, we enjoyed a delightful lunch with Zippy at a near-by restaurant. Returning her to campus after lunch, we were stopped at the university gate by the campus guard.

We fumbled for the necessary documents to claim the right to enter, but at one glance into the back seat, the guard saw Zippy. His face lit up, he smiled and waved at her and passed us through. Zippy explained that she had worked hard to get to know all the campus staff and that they had been very helpful in her campaign.

She has used her office as a platform to discover the needs of the school and to do something about those needs. The school had no Christian Union so she wrote a proposal to the dean, which was accepted. Now more than 25 students plus some staff members are part of the Christian organization.

Zippy's work as an student representative at JKUAT has resulted in these bus shelters throughout campus.Students complained that there were no covered places to wait for buses, so Zippy wrote another proposal to the dean. Now there are benches and shelters at the bus stops on campus.

And she was in charge of “Community Week” on campus. Along with six committee members she developed a week of service projects following the theme, “Caring for the Environment.” Activities included planting trees, cleaning road ways, mentoring students in need of help, taking a group of students to Kibera (Nairobi’s largest slum, and one of the largest in the world) to help clean that community, and a sponsoring a blood drive that would reach into the private sector.

She said that the week was just the beginning of serving the campus and beyond. Her eyes twinkle as she talks of what might come next. Following graduation, Zippy may work as an actuary, but I fully believe that, wherever she is and what ever job she does, she will touch and change her world.

Zippy's eyes twinkle as she talks of the future. Zippy may work as an actuary after graduation, but she will never lose her commitment to touch and change her world.

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